Think of this post as a "Dear John" letter in which I am writing to tell you that I'm gone and not writing anymore. I don't expect (most of) you to notice that I haven't been posting in quite a while, but I am posting now to tell you that I will not be posting anymore. For what that's worth.
I started this blog seven years ago with a few photos of an empty apartment in Korea, some shots of weeks-old Vivian, and an intention to keep family and friends back home in touch with my daughter's life overseas. During those years, this blog became an important part of my life: it gave me purpose when I felt purposeless, it kept me in touch with friends both real and virtual when I felt my isolation as a foreigner in Asia, and it gave me a way to share my creativity, my writing, and my travels. Over the years it became less about my family and Vivian, and more about travel, photography, and expatriatism.
Now that we are back at home in Oregon, and Vivian is growing, I have some new concerns that I did not have when hosting a personal blog while overseas. I am more aware of a need for stricter personal security. I am also aware that my daughter will soon be starting her own online life (though we are understandably delaying that for as long as possible) and will soon have her own need for privacy. She has already developed a strong reluctance to be photographed, and she has also clearly requested that I stop blogging about her. I respect my child and her autonomy and her future need for personal privacy, so I see no alternative but to comply. Now that we are home, and within easier reach of family and friends, the very reason for this blog's existence is diminished. So I have made the difficult decision to call it quits.
I could have gone in a different direction. Its easy to think of coming home an adjustment-free change. But instead of being exactly who we were before we left, now we are repatriates. Being an expatriate is fun and interesting, but being a repatriate is really much less interesting for everyone. I used to be able to talk about how crazy those Koreans were, or how the simplest facets of life in China defied logic; how fun the travel was, and exploring the strange but true food, but its maybe not so interesting or even appropriate to whine about those crazy Americans. Of how strange life is here, or how isolated and lonely it can be, how inconvenient, and yet how so comfortable and familiar. How it is all those, all at the same time.
Believe me, I want to bitch about repatriation, about American society and commercialism and abundance and lack of appreciation for all those things, but I'm not that blogger. Because although you might not know it, or even believe it, repatriation and adjusting to life in America after living overseas is much harder than it ever was to adjust to living away. Nobody (except former expats like myself) will share any sympathy for how excruciatingly we miss the housekeeper who was in our home for 30+ hours a week. How she was more than a housekeeper, she was our only semblance of family is an entire continent, and she played the role of grandmother, aunt, and friend all at once. Nobody except former expats understand the financial and social blow of returning home, the loss of identity, and the isolation. Oh, the isolation bred by living in a house on a quarter acre instead of in an apartment complex with 20 buildings and who knows how many residents within a stone's throw.
That would be a whole other blog, and that's a blog worth writing, but I am not going to do it, even though I miss blogging. What I have done instead is start a new blog, Garden Home Again. Its a work in progress, an idea that grows in fits and starts, and is already seriously delinquent in recent posts. I want it to be about my dream house (in which I am blessed to live), cooking, creating, growing, inspiration, and urban domesticity.
Gogovivi will remain parked her in perpetuity, or until we move overseas again and I resurrect it (which is not immediately likely but entirely possible in the long term). In the meantime, thank you for your years of friendship and support, and please come visit me at Garden Home Again.