a ToASt to the blogosphere!

When I started this blog, I told myself I would write here for 4 months. Now here it is almost Christmas, and the pArtY I'd planned should soon draw to a close.

At the time there was a possibility we'd be leaving Uganda in December. Our departure date for moving back to Europe is now set for mid April instead. Meanwhile, some extra stuff to do came up - especially during this past month - which has meant I've not even been at the pArtY much lately. But wait! Don't go home yet! There's still so much to say! Then again, do I really want to draw this "winding down" process out any longer? I'm on the fence about what will happen here after the holidays.

The thing I didn't expect to happen was the "community" part of blogging. I've been super active at a couple of online communities in the past - virtually addicted to them for the support they can provide to someone like me, far from home and grappling daily with the complex challenges of trying to do something useful in a place that's sometimes hard to understand. The very tiny part of the blogosphere I've taken the time to explore over the past few months also has that capacity, to make you feel like there are others out there who care. Trust me, in my line of work, that's really valuable and important.

Thank you, fellow bloggers, for your kind feedback and interaction.

I have to admit though, that almost the very moment I really started to feel that sense of community forming I also became distracted with some other big stuff, and haven't spent as much time following through on developing my new relationships with other bloggers as I might have wanted to. There are some overdue "Thank You" links due that I'd like to finally take the time to mention.

The iGive for Life in Africa challenge

I started a contest and then completely dropped the ball on getting the word out. There weren't enough resonses to have a reader poll on. Nonetheless, some folks participated and deserve a warm mention:

First AND Second Prizes go to RE, who posted about the challenge on three of her blogs: BadGals Radio (a way cool blog that's one of my favorite offbeat reads), Recycled Frockery and Mama Asid's. Thank you so much, RE, for your heartfelt support to the cause! Please be sure to send me your mailing address so I can have your JungleBeads sent off to you!

Third Prize goes out to dear Mr. Windy at Windmill on the Hill, who is particularly adept at making other bloggers in his wwworld feel valued.

One thing I wanted to explore during this sojourn into blogging was online games that could be designed to get some good things done. Seeing and experiencing some of the game-like ways in which bloggers interact with each other has been interesting. I might have some ideas brewing on how to initiate blogging games that can do something more than just link to others... plan to spend some time over Christmas thinking more about that. Meanwhile, I again thank Mr. Windy, who not only posted about the iGive for Life in Africa Challenge, but also included me in some blogger games.

First, he sent me this lovely award:

Windy's award comes with rules and a task to recognize other bloggers, as follows:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate at least 5 blogs (can be more) that for you are Uber Amazing!
3. Let them know that they have received this Uber Amazing award by commenting on their blog.
4. Share the love and link to this post and to the person you received your award from.

My own five nominees for the Uber Amazing Award are:

  1. Awakening: I am so very proud of how my good friend Grace's blog is shaping up about her visits to grassroots organizations in Uganda.
  2. Amasiko: After visiting my friend Wilfried's eco-tourism project a few months ago, he also started blogging, and I love the way he's writing about his experiences.
  3. Mature not Senile: a no nonsense take on stuff in general that I always enjoy (and thank you Jude for promoting the iGive for Life in Africa Challenge in this post.)
  4. Live Passionately: feels like it comes from a friend, though I've never personally met Christine
  5. Retired and Restless: always seems to capture a bit of Americana in his story telling that makes me feel nostaligic for home.
Mr. Windy also sent me a "pot-shot tag" - another kind of a blogging game - that has it's own rules:

1) Take a picture of yourself right NOW!.
2) DON’T change your clothes, DON’T fix your hair… Just take a picture.
3) Post that picture with NO editing.
4) Post these instruction with your picture.
5) Tag 10 people to do this.

So there's me in my blogging nook.

The people I tag to show yourselves are the authors of the following blogs I also enjoy: Kireka Concerns, Mature not Senile, Turnip of Power, Success Bound, A World of Progress. (Yes, I know that's only 5 but my internet connection is acting up and it's taking way long to collect links... I really want to get this posted before heading back to the theatre today!) Others I'd add who've enriched my short blogging experience in some way are some fellow expat bloggers, including Basbas (a dutchman in turkey), Martin (a Brit in Bulgaria) and Tiddlywinks (an Australian in The Netherlands). And of course RE at BadGals Radio.

All in all, when I started here I was curious about whether I'd like blogging. Clearly, I do, and the community building possibilities are encouraging. Starting with this blog's short-term concept has been a great way to get my feet wet; now I'm already thinking about what I could try to achieve through blogging in the future...

Don't worry, this pArtY isn't over yet! But I thought it was high time to offer a ToASt to the blogosphere... for the heart you show, for the creativity you give, and for the possibilities to do good with your craft that you hold. Thanks for being part of my wwworld.