No time for Shrinking Violets...

>> Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Russia is not a country for the shy and retiring. Exciting things can happen here - and do, every day - but not if you sit at home waiting for them to drop through your virtual letter box. Well, not normally, anyway. But today has been a bit of an exception...

It's easy, as I sit here in Moscow 1500 miles from home, to feel a little bit out of things. My trip back to the UK a couple of weekends ago didn't help matters; I had a lovely time but discovered that 2 of the group of 4 close friends I've known for 24 years are moving; one to the Far East, and the other to Yorkshire. (Well, at least she'll have Betty's). I hadn't expected that time would stand still whilst we were in the frozen wastes of Russia, but... Actually, scratch that. I had expected that time would stand still. Rather naively, I thought that we would be away a couple of years, it would fly by, and then I would return to London and just slot seamlessly back into my old existence.

Well, PM, life ain't like that.

So I found myself - more than after previous trips home - feeling a little bereft. That's not to say that we haven't made a life for ourselves out here in Moscow. As a family we've put ourselves out there (never was there a better piece of advice given to arriving expats than 'when you first get there, say yes to everything!') and in return I have been on the receiving end of more kindness and warmth than I could ever have expected. On occasion, people have so surprised me with their generosity of spirit that I've found myself thinking 'Why? What's in it for them?'

The interesting thing though is that the longer I've been here, the more I've come to understand the impulse behind such actions - helping people out who are in the situation you so recently were in yourself, and crucially in this transient expat world, could be in again at any point - and the less cynical I've become.

Established expats put themselves out for the newbies because they can remember feeling lonely, disorientated, confused and homesick themselves.

But even with that support structure, I have to say that there is one thing that, perhaps above all else, kept me from going crazy when I first arrived out here. You guessed it: the blogging community. Specifically, the blogging community centred around the British Mummy Bloggers ning.

Because I knew that if I blogged about it, there were people out there reading, sympathising with, hopefully laughing at and commenting on my posts. And that they understand that whilst life isn't always a bundle of laughs, it can sometimes make the hard things so much more bearable if I concentrate - in writing - on those that aren't.

So I'm not ashamed to say that I teared up a bit when I saw that I've been nominated in 2 categories as a finalist in the BMB Brilliance in Blogging Awards alongside some truly awesome writers. You'll find The Potty Diaries in the shortlist for 'Funniest Post', and 'Outstanding In Their Field'. Thankyou to anyone who nominated me; I would love to say that I blog simply for the love of it, but this is the icing on my bloggy cake...

And finally, since one of the things that being here in Russia has reinforced for me is that if you don't ask, you don't get, I'm not ashamed to ask this of you; go and check out all the other nominated blogs. But then:


You can read my post nominated for Funniest Post here, and click here to go through to the BMB blog to find out more about these awards.


Mwa 15 December 2010 at 19:47  

Congratulations! You deserve it.

About being an expat - you can never "go back" I'm afraid. "Home" just won't exist any more. Not to say you can't fit back in after a while... but I'm guessing you'll have a shock when you move back. I had several.

A Modern Mother 15 December 2010 at 20:20  

maw is right -- you deserve it!!! pls keep us laughing with your brilliant posts.

Iota 16 December 2010 at 03:24  

Oh, I left a comment earlier and it didn't show. I was just saying now all we need is a photo of you in that hat (head shot will do).

Potty Mummy 16 December 2010 at 08:21  

Thanks MAW - for the congrats and for the advice. I know you're right, of course; just hadn't realised it so much before...

Modern, thankyou! (And will do my best)

Iota, I'm working on it!

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