Tag Archives: England

Rule #1 of Starting a Travel Blog: Don’t title your first entry “Greetings from ______”

Embarrassingly, this is not my first foray into blogging.

But it might be my most public attempt. I can track my compulsion with online journaling back to Xanga, LiveJournal, and even Angelfire. The last one is a bit hazy, as it might’ve been the spark that set it off. I can’t remember if my site was hosted on Angelfire (it most certainly was not Geocities), but I do recall that the username featured “peach” and my birthday, and I can still see myself editing the text and background colors to the perfectly complementary shades of coral and sunset. I filled the pages of my first online journal with quiz results (mostly in hopes that a certain crush would see my speck of cyberspace) and inside jokes. It didn’t last long, probably not even beyond that summer spent in Germany, pecking away at the keys on my grandparents’ outdated PC and crawling dial-up connection.

Xanga, on the other hand, was a plunge into the dark side. If pressed to define “Xanga,” I’d call it your typical teen angst outlet. Black background, “mood” icons to show my audience of 5 exactly how I was feeling each time I hit the “submit” button on a new entry, and some back-end drama thanks to the ability to see who was reading.

Fast forward a few years later– this isn’t even my first WordPress blog. I actually chronicled (haphazardly, at best) my move to Philly, through cooking vegetarian/vegan cuisine. Sorry, veggie friends, but I eat meat these days (I’m not sorry, just polite, sometimes). One of the first things I bought at the grocery store here was pancetta. Anyway, food blogs are boring, but I may share the occasional recipe here or there, since I’m into cooking and eating.

Some of my friends know that homemade pizza is sort of my “go-to” meal when I don’t know what else to make. So with a mostly-bare kitchen in our little shoebox of a place, the first non-takeaway (see, I’m picking up the lingo already) dinner was pancetta and British cheddar pizza on a whole wheat crust. It wasn’t as good as it sounds, though, because I didn’t have sugar, and yeast needs sugar in order to produce a non-mushy-cardboard crust. John and I ate off a cutting board and rubber casserole dish lid, because we didn’t even have plates yet. Thanks to our neighbor Mike, we now have plates.

Speaking of our neighbor, I’m not used to people being friendly and open. This guy cooked dinner for John the first night he arrived, and for the past few days, we’d just knock on his door and hang out for a bit. He’s in the military, working an “if I told you, I’d have to kill you” types of job. Except, he’s pretty bad at keeping mum, because he’ll flip through the channels and I see his eyes light up at certain military-related scenes and locations, and he’ll hint at where he will be and what he will do as long as we ask first. He won’t tell us directly, but I guess he’s a bad liar and has to confess when asked. Although I don’t agree with all things military and counter-terrorism, I do value his endearing traits: being a bad liar and a giving neighbor.

I do this thing when I write, when I come to a “natural pause” in the speed at which my fingers are clicking away, and my mind just stops. Some might call that writer’s block; I call it time to wrap up this post. I’m glad I managed to avoid the typical “Hi, my name is ___ and I just moved to ___ and it’s __! Lots of !!!!!’s” introduction. This ramble probably isn’t much better, but if you take anything away, let’s summarize it into a tidy, bulleted list.

  • I’m a serial blogger and have a hard time keeping content both interesting and audience-appropriate. This could be a good thing.
  • Always use sugar in pizza dough, and maybe cook your pizza longer in these confusing Celsius mini-ovens.
  • Friendly neighbors do wonders for making a place feel welcoming and homey, immediately.

Stick around! I promise, it’ll get better.

 

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