Living online

It’s not a secret to anyone that I’m doing a PhD and that I hope to one day get a job as a university professor. Some of my friends in academia, when they hear I have a blog, ask if I’m not afraid my blog might be read by other academics or by a hiring committee in the future, if I’m not afraid I’m disclosing too much online.

The truth is – I’ve been online since 1996. There is nothing I can do about that. If you google me, you’ll get to page 9 before you get entries that are not related to me. So interacting with people online has been a basic part of my personality since I first discovered the internet, all those years ago. Why should I suppress that? Of course I know that if I write something here or on a discussion forum somewhere, someone might read it. Heck, even my parents or my supervisor might find it. But if I don’t want people to know about something or I don’t want my name to be associated with something, I simply don’t write about it.

So when I read Rochelle Mazaar’s brilliant post about how she feel about this very issue, I couldn’t help but write about it here as well. This passage particularly resonated with me:

Yes, anything you publish online can be seen by in-laws, employers, potential employers, potential dates, etc. But if you take that into account and think, yes, well, I struggled, I survived; why not talk about it? Isn’t it okay? If you accept that someone might take issue with you one day? Or if you know, if anyone WERE to take issue with you because of it, they aren’t someone you’d want to date/spend time with/work for?

If there’s one thing I won’t compromise on is on being true to who I am. Call me naive if you will, but no job, no matter how prestigious or high-paying or how long I worked to qualify for it, is worth denying my values and who I am as a person. What a google search or this blog  hopefully shows is that I am a person who likes engaging with the world in which I live.  And if there is a department or employer out there that has a problem with that, then I’m obviously not a good fit for them. It’s as simple as that.

Blog’s Birthday

In the midst of preparing papers for conferences, sitting in various committees, doing Iter work, and attempting to write my thesis, I completely forgot to mark this blog’s second birthday. Its aim was rather simple, as the very first post indicates:

On 22 March 2006 hubby and I will be moving all our belongings into storage and making our way first to Montreal, then to Paris and finally to Barcelona where we will be living for a year. This blog is meant to document our trip(s) and allow us to keep in touch with friends and family in Canada, US, Brazil, and around the world. I’m looking forward to sharing all our photos, reviews of restaurants and bars, and remarks of the many places we’ll visit.

Slowly it grew as I started reading other blogs and became encouraged by them to talk about more than just the places I visited. The more politically-engaged blogs, such as Sindrome de Estocolmo or, to some extent, 42 and Bumblebee & Sweet Potato, led me to talk a bit more about issues that matter to me such as immigration, cross-cultural relations, health care and the environment. The numerous blogs written by people living in adopted countries, such as that of a Catalan in Austria or the US, Americans in Germany, Spain, or even Brazil, the numerous Brazilians in Canada, US, Spain, France, has made me fascinated by the experiences of people across cultures. It is hard to articulate exactly what it is about the process of moving to a new country that fascinates me. Perhaps the mix of wonder, surprise and recognition as people start building bridges between their culture and the culture they have chosen to inhabit. The recognition that the other is not so foreign after all.

Of course, the blogs I read are particularly open-minded and positive, not surprisingly reflecting the tone of my own ramblings here, and thus not necessarily representative of most immigrant or expat experience. But this blog may be many things but it doesn’t claim or wishes to be anything too structured, serious, academic, or scientific. It is basically the space where I can leave the depths of my academic life and be light, often airy, and simply engage in conversation with the many wonderful people I have met here. It is also a space where I can share my passion for people, photography and food. That people I have never met have found it worth reading and some have even found it worthy of awards, is a never-ending source of surprise and delight. Thank you all so much for reading, sharing your thoughts, and allowing me into your lives.

There are many other blogs I read that I haven’t cited, I hope you don’t mind. I’ll be updating the list of links on the side bar shortly to reflect more accurately what is on my bloglines rss-reader.