Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Blogs, Blogging, and Bloggers

My fellow blogger, L_Oman of the blog "Culture Shocked" - an American wife and mother who moved her family four years ago to her husband's native country of Oman - has posed a question: Am I the only blogger out there that sometimes thinks of other bloggers?

Not surprisingly, she is not alone.

Blogging here in Saudi Arabia has opened up a whole new world to me, one that I hadn't paid much attention to before I started blogging myself. Originally I began writing my blog for the benefit of my family and friends back home so they wouldn't worry about me and so they could learn and share in my experiences along with me. But as time has passed, more and more total strangers have found my blog and I have become a fan of their blogs as well. What's been really eye opening and remarkable to me is how the worldwide blogging community is so tightly connected and interact with one another. I feel as though I have made so many new cyber-friends that I really do care about, even though we have never met face to face. We may not even know each others' real names or what we look like. We gravitate toward other like-minded bloggers, or those with similar interests, or those who may be in a situation much like our own. Many of us write about our personal lives and experiences, revealing our feelings, intimate thoughts, grievances, and our personalities through our writing. By sharing our lives in this manner with total strangers, a certain bond develops. We may not always agree with one another, but most often we maintain a degree of respect, civility, and diplomacy.

So here's what I find myself thinking about some of my other fellow bloggers...

Aafke, Aafke, Aaafke! What a hoot she is! Her blog "Clouddragon" is imaginative and hilarious and I can't wait to see what tongue-in-cheek words of wisdom she will come up with next. I wish I were as witty as lovable Aafke, and I find myself laughing out loud at her posts. No topic is off limits for this remarkable educated woman. Lately she has even made up her own hysterically rip roaring online Quizzes. A Netherlands native who is an illustrator and artist with a profound interest in Islam, the Arab World and American politics, Aafke has her own horse (sadly another horse of hers passed away earlier this year) and loves to ride, yet is a real girlie-girl at the same time. On top of everything else, she also has her own saddle business! And my son Adam is even hooked on reading her blog - he loves her!

How is Carol of "American Bedu?" She suffered through a major health crisis a few months ago, and I find myself concerned, thinking and praying about her often. American Bedu is a former US diplomat who has traveled and lived all over the world, married a Saudi and now lives in Riyadh. Her blog is chock full of professional and informative interviews and articles on the Kingdom. I admire her immensely and see her as somewhat of a mentor. Anyone who takes a look at her blog will benefit and learn so much about Saudi Arabia.  UPDATE: I'm sorry to report that Carol passed away in 2013. Her blog is still up and serves as a bounty of information about all things Saudi.

I'm always eager to read what Chitra at "Always in the Kitchen" is cooking up. She is an amazing, intelligent woman. She's a mom to half a dozen home schooled kids, and among other things, she grows her own vegetables, raises farm animals, bakes her own bread (and other goodies) and shares her yummy recipes, makes crafts and sells them at the farmers market along with her homemade canned goods from her garden... there is NOTHING this woman cannot do! PLUS, she writes her blog. Chitra must be the most organized person in the world. I don't know how she does it all!

I always wonder what topic Brandy of "American Muslimah Writer" will choose to tackle next. This fellow blogger was raised in Arizona, like me, but she's young enough to be my daughter! She found Islam at 17 and has become a very dedicated and well versed Muslimah. Brandy married a Lebanese guy and moved to the UAE with her little family after living in Lebanon for a while. She constantly writes on a variety of very thought provoking, sometimes humorous, and sometimes serious posts.

Maryam of "My Marrakesh" has a beautiful, artsy blog. Her photos and her text are always delightful and a real treat for the senses. She's a terrific writer and shows us the robust images of the colors, patterns, tastes, and textures that is Morocco. She seems to live an idyllic life in Marrakesh, and sometimes I secretly wish I could trade places with her! Maryam is leaving very soon on a temporary assignment to a place where many bad things have happened, and I hope she stays safe ... I am anxiously awaiting her report when she returns.

I hope that Queen O'DaNile over at "Amreekia min Bab al Sharayah" will be happy in her new marriage to her Egyptian husband and that she will be able to visit her kids who are in America soon. An American Muslimah, she's on her third round of living in Egypt. Queen O'DaNile is a colorful character and she seems like she would be lots of fun to hang with. I wonder how serious she was about the invitation she extended to me to visit her sometime!

A blog written by a friend of mine whom I have actually known since childhood in the small town of Douglas, Arizona, Cheela of "Through Irish Eyes" began her blog when she traveled to the country of her heritage, Ireland. She decided to continue with her blog after her return as it spurred a reawakening in her of the joy of writing. Cheela has experienced many personal losses in the last year, and I am in awe of how she has managed to remain upbeat through it all. She remembers her lost loved ones fondly with touching posts, sharing her many wonderful memories with us. I enjoy reading about her adventures long ago in our hometown and because it takes me back to Douglas and seems to bring me closer to my old home once again.

My friend Marahm is also a very thought provoking author. She and I share a common love for photography, graphic art, and writing. And what a beautiful writer Marahm is. I know that the death of her dad this past year was very difficult for her and I wonder how she is handling this big loss in her life. She lived in Saudi Arabia for many years and I can tell from her posts that she really misses many things about life here. Marahm is such a lady all the time and the way she shares her stories and remembers her past experiences makes me feel as though I was right there along with her.

Please have a look at all these blogs that I have mentioned! You will not be disappointed. And there are so many other blogs that I love as well and faithfully read regularly (so many blogs, too little time!) but was unable to list them here, like "Nzingha's Soapbox," or "SaudiWoman's Weblog."
These blogs are all unique and wonderful in their own right, and contain a tremendous wealth of information and pure entertainment.

So to those bloggers that I have "tagged" here, please post at least five blogs that you read and tell us what you wonder about with them! And that goes for everyone else not listed too!


  1. I love the way you made this post Susie and included the photos! Very nice. Oh and although I have done this 'Thinking of you...' tag already thanks for including me at the end.:) I know how it is hard to whittle it down to 5 bloggers because in truth, if you read a blog regularly you do tend to think of the blogger and wonder how he/she is. :)

  2. I do not blog. I used to. I should again. Anyhow all those were new to me except "culture shocked". I am a true die hard fan of Nzingha for sure.


  3. Susie,

    Thanks so much for what you wrote about me on your blog. I have loved being able to keep in touch with you this way and through email. Blogging is an amazing tool that technology has given us. There are so many places on the Internet that do not represent what is best about our current advanced technology. I would like to think that our "blogspot" isn't one of them. I know mine isn't and I know yours isn't. What a great way for us to communicate our feelings, experiences, hopes, dreams, and lives. Love you, my friend!!


  4. Thanks for the mention. I like your blog as well.

    I have been so busy I havent had time to post much. Such is the life of a guy with 2 and 3 year old boys.

  5. Nice... I am looking forward to visiting some new blogs now! Thanks!

  6. What a shock to see my 'culture shocked' banner! Tee Hee!

    It's pretty cool though to see just how far this game is spreading around! :)

  7. Hi Susie!

    Thanks for including me in your post. I do not do "tags" but wish to provide a link here where I actually wrote a post reviewing Saudi blogs on 19 August that perhaps your readers may find interesting:


    Best Regards,

  8. Awwwwww Shucks!

    It's really cool to" meet" people and places I'll probably never see,to be exposed to new thoughts and ideas.

    Me organized?LOL I think it's just high functioning ADD :)
    Thanks for the mention,now if I could just figure out how to format my blog to make it look more like the "real" ones.

  9. It's super lovely of you to include me, Susie! Shoukran:)

    I am not apt to tag others b/c I can't whittle down to 5 - yikes!

    I just want to say how refreshing I find your candor about your adopted country and I think it's fantastic that you post on whatever you want without social pressures. I think you are a real role model for Saudi women!!

  10. A great idea, to put more worthwhile blogs to our attention!
    As if I can manage to get to bed ontime as it is!!!!
    Luckily I am allready a fan of most the blogs you presented!
    I don't read ''always-in-the-kitchen'' too often: I feel só inadequate! :D

    So I'm tagged.... Hmmm...
    And you Susie, do you realise that writing a good new meme will make you a Blogsphere-historical person???

  11. Hi Stranger!
    Thanks - there are so many more bloggers I would like to recognize but there's just not enough time in the day. I am thankful every day for modern technology - it makes a huge difference in my life here in Saudi Arabia.

    Hi AnthroGeek!
    Don't you miss blogging? I used to keep a diary when I was younger, then a journal, and this is just a continuation of all that, except WAY cooler!

    Hi Cheela!
    You're so welcome. I totally agree with you about the web and technology. It is such an easy way to stay in touch and feel closer to everyone. I love you too!

    Hi !أبو سنان
    I know how busy you are with your family - they should come first before blogging, that's for sure. I always wish you well.

    Hi MamaK!
    There are so many wonderful blogs out there. I feel like I know you too thru yours. And I love seeing the baby grow up even though we've never met! There's something really cool about that!

    Hi L_Oman!
    It's funny, but I had thought about doing something similar when you beat me to it! Great idea! And I love your banner - I think it looks great!

    Hi Bedu!
    I just couldn't do this post without mentioning you. I appreciate you and I think about you all the time...

    Hi Always!
    Your blog is beautiful. If you just google things you want to do, there are many helpful websites out there that will help you jazz it up if you want. It's really not that hard.

  12. Oh aafke you make me laugh! I'm the inadequate one.It's why I stay in the kitchen :)
    But Susie you don't understand so I'll spell it out I AM TECHNICALLY CHALLENGED.Ask my son!

  13. And I was just too embarassed to get such a glowing report in your blog, but I'm tickled pink!!!!!!!

  14. Hi Maryam!
    Thanks so much - it was very difficult to narrow down the blogs I featured because there are SO many more that I follow and love as well.

    Hi Aafke!
    I didn't mean to embarrass you, but I meant every word. We love you.

    Hi Always!
    Impossible for you to be technoligically challenged - impossible!

  15. Love this post, Susie! Blogging friends are so unique! I have a friend (Chickenbells at www.foolsewoode.blogspot.com) that lives up in Prescott...my old childhood summer stomping grounds...and I met her through our blogs. I took a chance one day and drove up with some homemade lemonade after she left a comment on my post that she 'lurved' it! I surprised her and we've been good friends ever since! Following others blogs offers me information, insight and pictures of places I'll never see for myself, so I visit through blogs. Thanks for a great post and for sharing your part of the world with us all!

  16. Susie,

    I do but going to school FT makes it so hard. Maybe I will start one up once again soon. It may help me to vent and work out issues!! lol


    PS-How does one put up "wallpaper" and whatnot on blogspot?

  17. Here is my new blog Susie!
    I will post for sure! lol

    I think it will help me....


  18. Hi Susie-

    I totally second the spirit and efforts of 'My Marrakesh', and will certainly be checking out the other blogs you've mentioned in this post.

    I love the header image of your blog too - five friends & myself took a trip to Morocco earlier this year, and trekked across the Sahara by way of camel.. very unique experience!

    Will be visiting your blog often.

    Lil' Boozie
    (a.k.a. Suz)

  19. Susie,
    My name is Aysha. I'm a Saudi student who is attending graduate school in Texas. I'm currently writing an article on Saudi. I really LOVED your silde show photos and I would be grateful if you give me your permission to use some of these photos in my aritcle.
    I look forward hearing from you.

  20. Wow thanks for the mention Suzie! Hehehe my picture on another's blog...*eek* you're giving me images of grandeur..... I have just posted my list but five was too hard for me heeheh I listed a whole BUNCH!!! I was never one to stick to the rules ;)
    I loved the pictures you included of everyone, American_Bedu was a surprise for me and a few others :D
    XOXOX Suzie and I hope some day we can meet.
    Oh! and *ahem* I think you Saudi Bloggers need to plan yourselves a MEETING and have a party. Then you can all blog about it lol.

  21. hi there! thanks for thinking of me! i was quite serious about the invite...if i'm starving for some fun in Egypt, i can only imagine you must be malnutritioned there in KSA!!!