July 17, 2013

watered down

I never intended for this to be a food blog but after looking through my last 3 posts I realized they're all of recipes. As much as I love cooking and sharing my recipes, the fact that they're overtaking my blog concerns me.

When I first started this blog last autumn my goal was to document an entire season of craft fairs that I'd signed up for in southwest Florida. I had plenty of material to write about until the last show ended in December. Then the blog went silent.

In late January, when I moved to Canada, I figured the obvious thing to write about would be my transition from one country to another. The unexpected catch, however, was that a lot of the things I wrote about could be misconstrued as judgemental (like the fact that they sell milk in plastic bags here. Come on, that's begging for a blog post). Turns out, there's a fine line between pointing out the interesting differences between two countries and sounding like you're making fun of an entire culture for being different than yours.

Canadians don't want to admit this is weird.
Photo: walmart.ca

Because of my fear of offending anyone, I've drafted and then trashed many posts about strange/funny/interesting things I've encountered here.

By doing so, I feel I haven't been true to myself. I've kept hidden my observations and experiences as an expat, watering down my sardonic sense of humor for fear that other people won't appreciate it. I think this is a knee-jerk reaction to a couple of things:

#1: My first post about something inherently Canadian - Bulk Barn - was met with a nasty comment by an anonymous user, blasting me for being an American pig who was mocking something Canadian unjustly. Truth is, I wasn't mocking Bulk Barn at all; I love the store and was just writing about how deliciously different it was than anything I'd seen in America. But this stranger's completely over-the-top, hostile response felt like a slap in the face, and even though I deleted the comment quickly, it stayed with me.

#2: My first friend in Canada was - and I use the past tense because we no longer speak - the uptight sort who took any reference to America as a slam against Canada. If I mentioned how I missed Fig Newtons or Almond Joys, she took that as me saying how much Canada's dessert options suck. Clearly this wasn't my intention, but her competitiveness and oversensitivity to my commentary of differences between the two countries made me feel as though I had to keep all opinions to myself.

These negative experiences have made me gun shy about sharing, which I don't think is particularly fair since, after all, this is my life and these are my experiences. I suppose, subconsciously, this is why I've written so many food posts - food is the great equalizer; it's hard to be offended by a recipe unless it's just absolutely awful.

So, in conclusion, I'm going to revisit some of my old posts, play around with the wording a bit, and, as they say in the American South, git 'r done.


  1. The blogging community is a harsh mistress.
    Take the advice that "You can't please everyone" and you won't, not when you right blog posts. Someone, somewhere will find a way to nitpick at it.

    Deleting your posts, being afraid to make new ones - is being unfair and untrue to yourself. Which will actually hurt you more in the end than a crappy comment some internet troll is writing for the sake of hurting your feelings.

    I've traveled to America (obv. to the place you used to live) and I've lived in Canada, and I was dumbfounded by the differences I saw. There's no reason for people to assume you're bashing one country for the love of another.
    Clearly you LIVE IN CANADA now - so what do they think?

    Keep your head up - and my advice is to keep writing in a way that feels true to you.
    You'll gain those people who will follow you forever, who love your humour - and those are the people that you need to remember.

    1. All great advice, Amber.

      I think that people who haven't travelled much between the two countries assume that because we share a border that we share the same culture. I've lived in multiple different states, and now in another country, so I can say for certain that there are substantial differences. Some just are a matter of semantics but others can seem monumental when you're in a completely new place and barely know anyone.

      I appreciate your encouragement & advice and I totally agree with you. Haters gonna hate. ;)

  2. I agree! Keep your chin up and ignore the people who are determined to take things personally. I'm looking forward to this new series of posts!


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