When I started this blog, I thought it's main purpose would be a photo journal my parents could look at, and a way to keep all my memories in one place while Ben and I goofed around in New Hampshire. And for a long time, it really was just that. I didn't have any followers, I didn't know how to get them or what I would do if I had them, and that was all okay.
Fast forward quite a few months to my move to Moscow. I was contacted by a couple of ex-pat websites to be featured and write a little bit about my experience. I did so only with the intention of showing the good side to Russia because I felt that everything I had read online prior to coming here felt bitter and annoyed. There were definite downsides to Russia, but I really just wasn't having that kind of experience and I thought it was important to throw my two-cents into the interweb. So interview I did and I'm really grateful I did (which you can read here if you like).
As soon as my interview went up on the websites, I started receiving emails from all over the world from people who were living abroad and echoing feelings and thoughts I had been writing on my blog. At first I was caught off guard; I felt like I needed to be giving advice, good advice, and I wasn't sure if I could. But then I realized that they weren't writing because they wanted advice: they just wanted to reach out to someone else in the world and really, it was quite a beautiful, universal thing. We were separated by continents, oceans, forests, mountains, languages in some cases, but here we were, all exploring the world as bravely as we could. I wrote back, they wrote back, I heard some great stories, and "met" some fabulous characters from all over.
Through all these emails, one poked it's head up a couple weeks ago that was quite different. From a girl (or woman? I never know what to write) who was currently living and teaching in Moscow and had found my blog awhile back. She said she was on her way out of the country, but...
"I'm a big believer in reaching out to other people who share a similar lifestyle and find that even brief encounters can be important if not just simply nice in the moment.
We create our own experiences after all."
I think normally I might have felt a little apprehensive, but when you're living abroad I think you're kind of in a "yes" mode constantly, so I wrote back right away and said I would be delighted to.
And I'm so glad I did. Amy is a wonderful and inspiring person and her lust for life and travel is contagious. We spent her second to last weekend in Moscow (before she moves to Burma!) gallivanting around, sharing our Russian experiences, and discussing life and travel and love and everything in between. I'm incredibly sad she is leaving, but I'm grateful I got to know her and I know we'll always stay in touch.
I think this blog has brought me a lot of unexpected joy and now it's brought a new friend and someone who will always inspire me. Blogging is a vulnerable thing, I'll admit, but the payoff is worth it. Your putting yourself, your words, your story, out into the world and when people respond to it, well, that is a cool, cool thing.
So here are some photos from our Sunday dinner which turned into quite the night of balcony wine drinking.
Cheers to Amy and her wonderful, generous spirit and everyone else who has reached out to me.
Keep it coming : )
Check out that view! It was dizzying.
Amy gifted Ben some Sriracha and he has worked it into every meal he has had since. She also gave us her cast iron pot to make bread in, so expect some posts about our Breadventurers.
I do have to add this small side-note that Amy praised mine and Ben's relationship in it's maturity and genuineness. I think we've worked very hard to be as close as we are, and living in Russia has changed us as a couple a lot for the better. I was so pleased that my writing was able to accurately describe our love.
Aaaaaand it's always nice to hear that you're a cute couple ; )