On the subject of gratitude
Starting this blog was like embarking on an unplanned journey. I wanted to chronicle the different places where the mind and the heart can wander so I stepped on the writing train to see where it took me.
I thought perhaps I’d write about the beautiful scenery along the way or the people I’d meet and the places I’d see, the happy and festive sides of life. Maybe there would be sad tales as well; shantytowns and the lonely parts of cities, walls covered in graffiti and hearts in distress. There are stories lurking in the shadows too.
I didn’t have a plan but I had the fire in my belly and the impatience to begin.
I am fascinated about the human condition. I am a keen observer of how we conduct our lives, neither in search of perfection nor criticism, but to gain awareness of both the visceral and the reasoned dimensions of our existence. I figured I was on the road, there was much to be seen, feelings to explore and stories to be told.
I never meant for this to be an expat blog. But as time went by and in the manner that water finds its form, the writing took shape and a thread about the expat life found a place somewhere along these musings. So it was mixed reactions of surprise and joy that I received an e-mail from Stephanie Katz, editor of Expat Arrivals, informing that I was shortlisted in their roster of Great Expat Blogger Awards.
There is something fulfilling in being recognized for one’s efforts. However, my writing is only as good as the company of writers I keep and the expat network that supports me. So with this recognition I am obliged to give credit where it is due.
Jo Parfitt, author, mentor and publisher, started our writing circle in March 2007 and I’m quite certain half of the things I’ve done and whatever I’ve achieved I owe in large part to her, whose purpose in life is to inspire and bring out the best writer in you. And from then on, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity of meeting the most brilliant and prolific writers who have become dearest friends and great dining and laughter companions. Check out their work listed on the right side of this blog’s home page under The Hague Spelt Muffin Literary Society.
I am extending much gratitude to the dynamic duo of Suzy Oge and Lisa Rouissi at the Women’s Business Initiative International. They both took away any excuse I had for not starting a blog during the Global Entrepreneurship Week Social Media workshop back in November 2009. They made me believe anything is possible and they made it sound so easy. I left that workshop armed with their encouragement and, unbeknown to her, Lisa’s number on my speed dial and plunged into the Word Press blogging society.
Lisa is extremely helpful for all things technical and web-related; and a great companion for a good plate of poffertjes and Tunisian recipes. The members at the WBII are a treasure trove of inspirations and courageous stories of women who acted upon their dreams.
Most of all, to my husband, Arnout Roos, who understands the many ups and downs I go through being a trailing spouse, my need for independence and my fight for the time and space to write. I have become this intrepid traveller, albeit weary at times, in large part because of him and the work that he does.
I dedicate all the beautiful things I have done in my life and will continue to do, to my lovely daughters, Laura and Kirsten, my unending sources of joy, inspiration and love; as well as exasperation.
We are truly only as good as the people who surround us, whose encouragement and cheer drives us to pursue our hearts’ desires. So I thank you, readers of this blog, for taking the time and attention, for subscribing and for joining in the conversation in the comments section. You make it worth our writing while.
To Stephanie and the people behind Expat Arrivals, for the gracious work that you do, if only to remind us that someone out there reads the stories that we weave, and who don’t hesitate to let us know if we’re doing it well. Thank you.