Thursday, June 26, 2008

A little gobble

Tell me about it has given me a sore arse.

I'm not glued to my seat reading it, but I have been sitting on the fence for 2 days regarding my opinion of it.

I prayed the author would tell me it wasn't a genuine submission, but she did, and in the end, as I'm not an overly intelligent person, I'm going with both my opinions.

The Dixon family blog tells the tale of life in Turkey, Natalie, hubby Brian and their four handsome kids. If I was a friend or a family member I would love it, it would keep me up to date on every thing they eat & drink, haircuts they get, cleaning products they use and what they hang their clothes on.

This will someday be a great resource for the entire family to look back at their time in an exotic land, it really will, and you should be proud of that much, but no amount of Natalie's dazzling smiles could hold my interest.

As an outsider, the blog just isn't going to hold my attention. It looks and reads very PG, very inoffensive visually and literally, which isn't a bad thing, but when I have the urge to reword posts myself, it doesn't bode well.

The family have lived for years in Turkey, a fascinating country I have visited myself, but I get absolutely no sense of the place from the blog, which is amazing considering it's over two years and 600 posts old.

I'm also an expatriate and I know that you never stop learning about your new home, but what little insight into Turkish life there was, seemed to fade away around March of 2007. There is a difference between holiday snapping and documenting where you live.

What got me chuckling? not much. This did for sure, but not much else.

There are glimpses of unused writing skills with a touch of poignancy, but like the scarlet pimpernel, it soon vanishes without a trace.

There are a few mentions of volunteer work, that sounds interesting, tell me where, when, why, how, who?

I trawled and trawled the archives, which are actually well organised with relatively few categories, looking for the juice, for something exciting, for more funny, for something I could hold up as the saving grace...instead, I found this and a little bit of me died inside.

I like this eternally smiley woman, but her blog gives me very little.

For what I hope it's intended to be, a place family and friends can see what's going on in your lives, and for the fact I have the exact same 'hand painted bowls' as you do, I give you this:

As a blog which is open to the universe to use and abuse, its this:


  1. [header-picture stage-direction]

    All right, folks - I want you to mug for the camera jauntily... that's right, pretend you're in a toothpaste-commercial... good, good. All right, now tilt your head just so, a little bit more to the left, right, perfect...

    You're going to jam a block of red to the right of this picture, correct? Gorgeous.

  2. You're not wrong, Father Gene. She seems like a nice lady with cute kids and an interesting story. Problem is, I don't think she tells the interesting story. But this will definitely be a great momento, if nothing else.

    I do like the pictures, though.

    Also? I'm a little bitter about the whole expat thing. Dammit.

  3. nutjobber - that has to be one of the funniest things i've read in a long time! cracked me up. you don't even know how long i tried to get that picture centered or bigger, but since i really don't have a clue what i am doing i just went with it. gorgeous! oh my.

  4. I know this blogger personally. I think you were fair and kind in your review. I also know that must have been hard for you, coming from the main site of "rip 'em apart and spit the blog out."

    I actually agree with you on one thing in particular, "There are glimpses of unused writing skills with a touch of poignancy, but like the scarlet pimpernel, it soon vanishes without a trace."

    I disagree with you when it comes to this; "The family have lived for years in Turkey, a fascinating country I have visited myself, but I get absolutely no sense of the place from the blog, which is amazing considering it's over two years and 600 posts old."

    I think she does a pretty damn good job of depicting life abroad. I have only known her about 4 months and still have lots of reading to do, but her blog has actually made me want to visit Turkey.

    She is dazzling, and eternally smiling, and I am glad you were nice.

  5. She does seem like a very nice lady. And the kids are quite cute.

  6. I'm sure she's lovely, but she's that kind of expat (usually Americans like myselfy) who just don't assimilate. That's why you're not getting what you're after Gene.

    Nutjobber, I love you.

  7. wow. that last comment is really interesting to me. she's right that we haven't totally assimilated. there are things we have done to fit into the culture...such as buy all turkish furniture...didn't have any of our stuff shipped here. we don't own a car, but our company has one we borrow on occasion. i would much rather take public transportation anyway. everyone here thinks americans are wealthy so we try not to perpetuate that myth as much as we can. and, well...we aren't wealthy at all so that helps! we have our own company, so we aren't the typical expats at all. we aren't military or embassy which says a lot. we have learned turkish which is way more than many expats do. our kids went to turkish schools for the first two years so that they could get turkish culture and language. their education suffered some at the time, but they were able to catch up when we moved them to an international school. we live in a building with all turks as well. we do know people who have taken turkish names and rarely have anything to do with the other americans in town. i wasn't willing to go that far. anyway...not trying to be defensive at all. just thought that the blog probably doesn't give a clear picture of that. i have only been keeping the blog for the last 2 years or so. and 7 months of that was spent in america. i wish i had been blogging when we first arrived. i'm sure the culture shock we went through and the adapting to culture, language classes, the frustrations with trying to help the kids do homework in turkish...all of that would be really interesting for me to look back on now. thanks for making me think about it. i may have to write a blog post about it!

  8. Yeah, ya might need to get rid of that big red block somehow, but I like the header picture!

    I haven't been able to read too much of the blog yet, but she is a very likable woman, and you can tell she has wit.

    I'd love to whine about her not getting as emotionally deep as I normally like to read, but I have to realize that not everybody is a walking ticking emotional time bomb like me. Maybe she doesn't write about being a half-crazed nut because she isn't one?

    Yes, Natalie! If you feel the inspiration kick in to write about your earliest days there, please do! I think that would help us all see how you got to where you are in your blog and probably help us connect with it much better. I know from personal experience that the first couple years of living in a foreign country is hard. Hard, but way interesting.

    Oh and Chris, although you didn't deserve it because that info isn't in her blog so we have to base our opinions on what we have, she sort of spanked you, dude. I loved it.

  9. Natalie is too nice to be mean to. I'm bored.

  10. Natalie is why you guys rock (oh that and someone appreciating a blog like mine).

    Did you see her last post.

    Do you love her now?

  11. I did, and no, not quite.

    It's a couple of steps in the right direction though.

  12. No, Chris - your one comment prodded Ms. Natalie into an entire (quite long) post to tackle the ins & outs of what you said...suffice it to say, that's power, friend.

    So, obviously, I love you more.

  13. I read Natalie and have gotten to know her a little through email. She is a bundle of contradictions and I enjoy her blog - perhaps she'll start one someday about her emotions, but right now, she's okay with me (but, then, I'm a middle-aged mom and can relate to a lot of what she says).

    I've always kind of wished she'd switch teams and join us at Club Lesbos. She does have a winning smile.


Grow a pair.