Top Six Reasons for Doing this Blog
1. Staying in Touch with Family and Friends. The time change makes it hard to connect with people in the US. By the time they're home from work, we're asleep... And when I'm free during the day, people are either still in bed or headed off to work... (Cost isn't an issue; our internet phone service via Vonage gives us multiple local numbers in the USA that people can use to call us). The blog makes it so easy to share actual stories with people, accompanied by helpful links and/or pictures. I like that those who read this blog choose to; it's nicer than sending out newsy e-mails to people who just don't have time to read them. It makes it easy for someone to play "catch-up," too--you can sit down and read multiple entries at one time instead of searching for old e-mails. Since we live in Russia, "real" mail isn't really an option, either--it takes way too long and isn't reliable. Another benefit has been making new friends via the blog.
2. Inspiring My Kids to Learn about Geography. Katya loves checking the map at the bottom of my blog's sidebar. Whenever a new country lights up, she wants me to look it up on the internet so she can learn more about it. (Thanks, Steve, for lighting up all of Southeast Asia!)
3. Helping Others Coming to Moscow/Living in Moscow. I really wish that someone had given me a list of fun things to do with kids when I first moved there (I say "there" because I'm in the USA for a month right now). I didn't know where to look for the information I would have appreciated. Some of the cultural information I try to share here would have been helpful, too.
4. Compared to Scrapbooking, it's FREE and EASY to Do RIGHT NOW. I don't plan to stop making scrapbooks, but I put it off for long periods because it's too much of a hassle to get out all of the materials and I envision needing a big chunk of uninterrupted time... Instead I can simply sit down at the computer and quickly create a finished "product". It will be nice having everything I've written here to prompt my memory when I actually do scrapbook. (In the future I might want to rethink the site I use to blog, however; I'd like an option that lets you publish your blog as an actual album, too. You can creative beautiful digital scrapboooks at creativememories.com, but I wouldn't include the same material: in the blog I include little snipets that I wouldn't want taking up a whole page in an album--and I don't feel compelled to always have accompanying pictures. I also couldn't then add links or the comment forum). The blog really is different from an album, because it can't be too personal by nature; private details will always be most richly preserved in an actual scrapbook and I see the blog and my albums co-exisiting rather well.
5. It's a Chance to Use My English. I miss English words... The vocabularly one uses with younger children and in quick e-mails isn't quite as rich as the one I had when writing in graduate school... I do read to keep up my skills, but English books are much harder to get in Moscow. I also spend most of my reading time improving my Russian and keeping up my other languages that I don't get to use daily.
6. A New Perspective on Daily Life. I find that I now approach each day as a reporter, looking for what's interesting, memorable, funny or good. (No one wants to read a boring, negative blog!) Even in potentially bad situations (certain aspects of the trip to Ukraine, for example), I find myself thinking, "There has to be some good blogging fodder in this!" This has been a benefit of blogging that I never expected, and it's by far the best!