Welcome back, it’s good to see you again.
It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? It was supposed to be a short hiatus to do a few updates, but ended up much longer to take on a much broader redesign of this blog.
And it wasn’t just a question of the design…I’d always enjoyed keeping things simple around here. But the fact is, this blog is going on five years now. First of all, that means that a lot of posts have made their way here (approximately 1100 of them to be exact) and it seemed hard to find things. Many of these posts were meant to be helpful, and when you can’t find something, well, that’s not very helpful at all.
Second, a lot has changed in five years of blogging. Platforms have shifted, social media entered the picture, and retina screens expose every flaw in every graphic… I just got to a point were my previous simple system couldn’t quite deliver, it didn’t look right and it didn’t feel right any longer. It became harder and harder to get to the task of regular blogging, since what I saw in my mind was not at all what was coming up on the screen.
This year is a big year for us – at the start of it, we had another baby; in the middle of it, I started blogging regularly at my other project (A Toddler in the Trees) and at the end of this same year, we’ll be head first into an unaccompanied tour, all of which actually made me ask myself whether I wanted to keep blogging at all. The break was a good bit of uninterrupted space to actually think without the pressure of posting day in and day out.
And I enjoyed that time. Truly. But I also missed the blog. We are coming up on a decade of foreign service life and now with those years under our belts and a perhaps a dash of maturity that comes along with experience, I feel like there is still much to say. I blog here primarily for two reasons: the first is to keep a visual and written record of our experiences in this nutty life of coming and going and packing and unpacking. It’s been a great adventure and my blog is very much my journal in this. As much as my earliest posts made me cringe on format or photography or general newbieness, those posts are still very much part o this experience so I’ve decided to leave them all up. You can see them all going back to Day One.
The second big reason I blog here is to share some of the lessons learned along the way, in case anyone, whether from the Foreign Service, or not, finds it helpful. There are many more places, especially online, now to find good information on the diplomatic life or any of the post cities, which weren’t around much when I first started this, but I still think there’s room for some things which haven’t been said, or an opportunity to voice them from my own experience. While many of readers don’t often comment on individual posts, they do, however, write in via email. There have been lots of requests to talk more about how I was able keep a career (at least for now, anyway), or advice on starting a diplo-blog, or where to even sleep when you visit Copenhagen… Practical stuff…and I’d been neglecting some of those requests for the very reason I mentioned above, which is that once I would write the post, it would be too hard to find on the blog. So going forward, you can expect to see more of those types of posts, even if they take a little longer to pull together.
I hemmed and hawed about what to do, but in the end decided to make the investment to do it right. I reached out to several designers but blog designs can get pretty spendy these days. And I don’t blog professionally – you might see an affiliate link or two here but full disclosure, those don’t even fully cover the cost of running a blog, so it was hard to justify thousands and thousands. But then I came across PDCD, who paired me up with Susan on the development side and a great template as a starting point. Susan has been shepherding this blog over the last few months towards a better design, a better host, a better platform, and ultimately, hopefully, a better experience for you as a reader.
I’m not at all a technical person but five years on in blogging, I realized I had to learn how to get at least a little technical for things to work properly around here. A lot of things are new here on the site, things that weren’t possible before because of the limitations of my simpler page… And I hope you’ll forgive me as I figure out a few of these new things myself. These were big changes for me and my technophobia, and while we finally decided to pull the trigger and share the new design, there are a few kinks to work out here and there. Many of the old posts don’t look quite right in the old format, but they are easier to find and going forward, we’ll make sure that everything is as sharp as can be here in our new “home”. I’m all ears for your feedback, whether it’s on the look or on the content you’d like to see.
So with that, let me welcome you back again – take a look, explore around, I hope you’ll stay awhile…