The posts are now all in, and my comrades from the expat blog meet up have spoken:
- MikeH (Postcards from Across the Pond)
- Kat (3 Bedroom Bungalow)
- Michelloui (Mid-Atlantic English)
- Nappy Valley Housewife
- and me
Perhaps more interesting than the posts themselves (sorry, gang!) is the comments, including those we wrote to each other after the event. But the best and most thought-provoking was from Michelloui on Mike’s blog:
It was a fun day and I must admit it was only as I was writing my post about the day that I realised how well we all got on immediately. There weren’t any silent awkward moments, and it was all just friendly and fun. Is that because we’re American (Have a Nice Day!) or because we were all just a self selecting group of friendly people?
A very good question. We span quite the age range, we’re in the UK for a range of different reasons, and yet we could chat like we’d all been friends for decades. That is probably the most interesting result of the meet-up. Yes we can talk about American foods that we miss and all of the usual expat stuff, but we’ve also been following each others’ antics for months to years in the strange online world that is the blogosphere. So we meet in person, and we are all fast friends.
I think I was the best placed in this regard, as I had met everyone but Nappy Valley Housewife before the day. And this brings me to my final point. How on earth did I get so bold so as to spend so much time meeting up with bloggers in person? Given my comments in my post about a bad experience in this regard, it’s amazing that I’ve perservered with this live-meeting, risk-of-people-not-liking-me thing. This is probably the biggest change in me due to my move abroad, and it’s still somewhat surprising and shocking when I think about it too much. Perhaps it’s the easy public transport links in the UK. Saying “hey, let’s meet up” is not so stressful. It’s not a big country, so we’re all not that distant when it comes down to it. Perhaps it’s my being somewhat lonely in my job-centered UK existence, that makes me crave the company of other human beings with whom I seem to have at least a chance of a common ground based on blog posts. Whatever it is, I have to say that I’ve been really much more bold than my shy typical self would allow for in this whole blogger meet-up thing. And for that, I thank England. Moving abroad definitely changed me in this way. Before I came here, I moved across the country in the US and did not make the sorts of human connections that have resulted from this silly little late-night time-wasting hobby of mine that is blogging/twitter/whatever. Although my online persona is formally anonymous, I jump at the chance to get to know people and to form more real bonds with people who I have “met” through this medium. (Note to Iota from the last post’s comment: you do know me better than an average blog reader because we’ve ‘talked’ a great deal over email!)
Living abroad has changed me. I think this is a good thing. I hope more people get the chance, in this globalized society, to experience this type of overseas adventure.