Here at Summertime Publishing, Shelley (aka Disparate Huisvrouw) runs our reviewing team out of Vancouver. She is constantly on the look out, both for new markets for our team of budding expat writers, and for new folk to join the team. In short, they get a free copy of one of our newly released books in exchange for an article or review.
Lauren Keith is part of the team. Many members are bloggers, which means we know them by their ‘blog handles’ rather than their real names. Lauren is AGrumpyBrit. Don’t you just love that? She runs a blog called Reflections of an Ang Mo from her new home in Singapore. In case you are wondering, Ang Mo, is a slightly derogatory term for white person.
I started blogging this year and I am still trying to work out why.
I moved from the UK to Singapore in January 2013 and someone suggested that I write a blog, but the idea didn’t take hold at first. What would I write about for a start? I’m just a grumpy Brit who happened to move abroad to work – albeit at a week’s notice, armed with only $400, and a slightly bulging suitcase.
However, a few months later, having settled in to my new home and job, I found myself at a loose end one morning.
I’m lucky enough not to start work until after lunch three days a week; so what to do with all this free time I had suddenly gained (apart from explore, and travel)? And so Reflections of an Ang Mo was born.
I guess boredom was probably a major factor in why I started writing (I like to keep busy) and isn’t that why so many expats turn to blogging? I found those first couple of months strange, and at times, lonely, having so many new experiences, but so far away from the people I would usually share them with.
But if boredom was a factor in my blog’s beginning, it is certainly not a reason for its continuance. Reflections of an Ang Mo is a mix of reviews, posts about my travels, sightseeing, general reflections regarding life in Lion City, anecdotes from work (as a teacher, the funny things that children come out with never ceases to amaze me!) plus anything else that interests me at the time. I guess it’s sort of like an online diary of my life abroad – things I don’t want to forget or things that have struck me as an expat living in Singapore.
I find writing very therapeutic and recording aspects of my life in Southeast Asia helps me to appreciate it even more. This was especially true of the early days, before I’d found my feet, and it still applies whenever I am feeling a little homesick. When I look back on some of the amazing things I’ve been lucky enough to experience here, it’s hard to regret my decision to move half way across the world on a whim. In fact, since I began documenting things via my blog I’ve become markedly less, well, grumpy… And I’ve learnt so much in the short time that I have been blogging – not least what an RSS feed is!
By far the most rewarding thing about blogging, however, has been the opportunities that have opened up as a result of it and the connections made. I’ve met several great people whose paths I probably wouldn’t have crossed otherwise. It’s also been interesting to hear people’s views on the topics I have posted on, especially as they often differ from my own – it’s allowed me to see things from an entirely different perspective. And it’s also reassuring to learn that I’m not alone in missing Boots (I’m sorry Singapore, but Watsons and Guardian just aren’t the same)!
By Lauren Keith
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