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WIND BENEATH MY BLOG
So many thoughts, whirling around my brain. Each one glitters in the streetlights like snow, before coming to rest in the cold and crispy covering that coats everything. I would make a good troglodyte, I sometimes think, or a hermit, burrowing away inside my cave, surrounding myself with the things I want and need, no desire to go outside and squint in the bright sunlight. Usually I'm drawn to sunshine, but this weekend, I seem to have been working on my anti-tan.

Tjej, another American expat in Sweden, got a group of us together recently and after a lot of hard work on her part, today launched Stavfel, a group blog where we can practice writing in Swedish. I've been in Sweden for 8 years, and I consider myself fluent, but it made me think. I rarely write in Swedish, almost never in fact, not at work to my Swedish colleagues, and not at home to my Swedish friends. I'm still thinking about it, but now, hopefully, I'll be doing something about it.

ozswede wrote an excellent rant about smokers and smoking (which, unfortunately, is friends-protected and not open reading for the public) and it, along with the comments it generated, made me think a lot. I'm still thinking about it.

Marilyn wrote an excellent post today about the collision between blogging and real-life and how and why people keep them separate. It made me think a lot. I'm still thinking about it.

Sometimes I worry that my thinking about so many other people, my first family, my relatives, my friends back in the States, my friends online, my LJ friends, overshadows and blocks out my thinking about my family HERE, my friends HERE, my life HERE. My real life. I worry that verian doesn't have a job yet, and I commiserate with lady_chai's sleeplessness, and I worry about idahoswede and her husband. I'm putting a lot of mental energy into sending positive job vibes to galestorm and purrthecat and thesidhe and others. I'm invested in the relationship troubles, the pregnancies, the sick family and friends, the depression, the mood swings, the weight issues, the wedding plans, the children, the move to a new place, of all of my friends and family and the people whose lives I've been given a peek inside and become inextricably intertwined and interested in.

I'm also moved and thrilled when the good things happen, I'm applauding when things go right and things go well for all of these people all over the globe, whom I consider to be friends, who I know worry about me or praise me or send ME positive energy when I need it, too.

And I think, this IS my real life. It's as much my real life as the very real ups and downs I deal with on a daily basis with my husband, my children, my work, my friends. It's part of what makes me get up in the morning, and it's part of what sends me to sleep with a smile on my face, or a hope of better things for someone I care about who is struggling. I'm not just living vicariously through Bluepoppy's house-building, or Julia's strength in the face of tragedy, or Melanie's delicious sense of beauty. Each time I read these friends, each time I read something YOU have posted, there is an electric charge, a spark that shoots from you to me and back again.

If I was living in a musical, I'd be breaking into song right about now.

***

Martin: Mama, what's a speed shovel?
Liz: What? A speed shovel? I don't know. What do you mean?
Martin: You know, what the astronauts ride in...a speed shovel.
Liz: *blank look*...*pause*...*sudden comprehension* OH! You mean the space shuttle!
 thoughtful
mood: thoughtful
music: Hair—I Got Life


Comments

*ahem* "People, people who need people, are the luckiest ..." oh, never mind, you get the idea. And I get so into my LJ friends as well. We sit and fika and I say to Anders, "Boy, Liz just got word she's out of work" or "Damn, L-G's in bed with the flu" and he kind of looks at me for a moment like "Should I know these people?", and I realize that I don't KNOW these people, at least not to pick most of them out of a crowd, but that doesn't matter, these are my FRIENDS, equally as valid and real as somebody I went to school with or whatever.

It's so true, and even more so, I think sometimes. The people I went to school with have very little contact with me these days. I have almost DAILY contact with you (and the others I read daily). We have much more context for friendship, in that respect.

When I first moved to Sweden in 2000, I left behind what I thought were a great selection of friends, at least a dozen of which I had shared a LOT with in the previous decade. There were vows of eternal friendship, blah, blah, blah, and I swear to god/goddess, I DID write e-mails, sent postcards, even made a few phone calls, but after the first 3 months, I just kind of got dropped. When we went back to the States in 2001, they were there, wanted to hang out, but once again, I came back to Sweden, I'm ancient history. BUT during the 18 months I was in the States, the friends I made here, both IRL and through Positively Sweden, kept writing to me, even sent me some goodies, which made me reassess the quality and strength of various friendships lost and gained, and you can bet that my contacts now are the ones that stayed consistent despite my physical absence.

"And I think, this IS my real life. It's as much my real life as the very real ups and downs "

So funny that you post this now, because I was having these exact sames thoughts. I had written in a comment something about IRL, and this got me thinking. It reminded me of how teachers in high school would say: "Wait till you get to the real world." This always annoyed me. I would think: "This world, right here, right now, is very real for me. What makes any other world more real."

Online contacts are different that live contacts, but they are just as real.

Don't you feel that by coming to LJ your world becomes so much bigger? You suddenly get involved with people that you otherwise may never have met in life. My LJ friends are on my mind as well, like the situation for instance where you fell my heart really went out to you and I wondered how you were so I came here to see if you had posted anything. Fact is that we as LJ friends often talk so much more to each other than we do with some family members and friends in real life.

I completely agree. I interact with my online friends EVERY day. But I also interact with my husband and children every day, and those are the people that I don't want feeling overlooked or left out because of my online life. There has to be a balance there, too.

(Anonymous)

Great post and beautifully put. I hope I didn't convey in my post that I consider my blogging pals less than 'real' friends--I was attempting to say just the opposite. Which is why I got so tweaked when someone who knows me face-to-face 'drove by'...because my blogging life has become just as real to me as the room I'm sitting in right now. I, too, think about all of my blogging friends' problems, dilemmas, joys...and not just when I sit down at the laptop. My recent experience drove home to me that I hadn't thought about how I would/could merge the two worlds...and whether or not I even wanted to. ~Marilyn

Not at all. I think you highlighted very clearly the dilemmas involved in blogging and the fact that the community that grows online with a journal is every bit as important as your real-life circle of friends and acquaintances. I think that some people really want to keep them completely separate, but that would make you schizo after awhile. Besides, how can you really be friends with someone if you don't trust them?

Liz you wrote very much what I was going to say (AGAIN!) but far more eloquently than I could have done so. I also care a great deal about those I interact with online and follow their ups and downs, try and help with advice, a laugh or two and I feel every bit as connected to them asw I do to friends I "see" everyday. It's rather funny to hear people say "real " friends and make a distinction between them and those they interact with online. For me they are ALL real friends.

As with face to face friendships, there are different levels of friendship here - some people you feel are friends for life, some are situational friends, others are great for a bit of a laugh, some are acquaintances - it's all here.

what is my REAL life?

"And I think, this IS my real life. It's as much my real life as the .......... It's part of what makes me get up in the morning......."
So well put Liz. That last paragraph brought me near to tears. My little handful of online friends mean quite alot to me. Sometimes a comment or just the possibility of one makes my day. Sometimes a friend's entry brings up reflection and concern and expansion in my life.
Yes, this IS my real life too.

The question of dovetailing the online friends and those whose faces we've seen is an interesting question. Thought provoking. I will have more to say on this at some point.
Thanks for linking to Marilyn's entry.

Two comments: If I didn't believe in the reality of people on the internet I would never have flown across the atlantic to meet the man I now live with, and what a waste of a wonderful experience for us both that would have been.

The other comment - Vem ber jag om lov för att skriva på Stavfel?

Hi Gissa! Send an email to tjej (at) thought-bubbles.com

Given my recent absence from the internet, this has been on my mind a lot lately. I have been craving getting back online to catch up with my friend's lives. I had moments during our vacation where I was feeling lonely because I didn't have the companionship of my online friends readily available like I normally do. I don't have friends living near me that are as close to me as my online friends and I feel much more connected to some of the people here because I hear about their everyday lives nearly every day, something else I miss with my non-online friends. From them I mostly get the big news items, and I miss out on what's going on day to day. The things people feel are too burdensome to go into in a once a month (or less often) phone call.

I do sometimes worry that I'm not paying enough attention to the life I've created for myself here, but I do have to have friends and interaction with the outside world. This two week enforced vacation from the internet has shown me that. I talk with my friends online rather than on the phone or through e-mails because it's easier, faster, more convenient. You can say a sentence or two that you wouldn't bother to call someone up just to say, but it keeps you in touch all the same.

So true :) I can't imagine going 2 weeks without internet access anymore!

(Anonymous)
I *heart* Lizardek

~bluepoppy

Re: I *heart* Lizardek

THAT made me smile. You honor me, miss BP.

*big hug*

You inspire me. :)

aw, gee, shucks :) *hugs back*

(Anonymous)

I also enjoy reading your LJ- I find I know you even better now- for what you write about- the passions, etc that we don't have time to share via the phone. But the connections you make with the LJ friends reminds me of the pre-internet connections I made with pen pals- back when I was in grade school. It just took much longer for answers- and I know that's why the internet is such a great tool for making and keeping friends. You quickly get to know each other on a more soul level. Lizardmom

Why do you think I want YOU to start a journal, mom?!!! XOXO

(Anonymous)

O Liz!!!! Thant would be so cool if you could get an FCR puppy too!!!! They are soooo adorable. I guess all puppies are, but FCR's have so much character and are so full of puppy life and quirks. WOW. Keep me posted for sure. does someone in your family have allergies to dog hair? I don't think FCR's are one of those dogs that particularly bother people in general. Their coats are smooth, soft and silky, like human hair only nicer! And they (their coats) are pretty low maintenance... just a quick brush when they need it, no real involved grooming. They do shed in the spring and fall when they loose their undercoat (usually in big black clumps which look really attractive stuck to your carpet and clothes), but it's easy to vacumn up and remove with a lint brush. I had a boyfriend once who had a dalmatian and man... you NEVER get rid of dalmatian hair. It weaves right into the fibers of your clothes and upholstery. Worse than cat hair. But the texture of an FCR's coat is so different, so nice!!! Also, because they're water dogs, their coats are water repellant and dry very quickly with none of that offensive doggie odor.

(Anonymous)

o... that's from me, Wee in case you haven't figured that out already!!!!

Well, we have several things to find out about...first being whether or not Anders will react to a dog, after all this time knowing he was allergic to cats. He had a dog as a teenager, but hasn't been around them so much since, and we've had a couple of instances where he was reacting to SOMETHING, and it might have been a dog. :( I hope not!!

The other possible obstacle is that here in Sweden, breeders are VERY particular about who they sell their puppies too, especially when it comes to the hunting and working dogs. There are a LOT of breeders, in fact the majority, who will not sell you a puppy if you are NOT planning on hunting or working/competing with them.

There are not a lot of mutts in Sweden, or strays, people are very careful about their dogs, and it seems to be hard to find any other kind than thoroughbreds, which means you HAVE to go through a breeder almost every time.

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