The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

A blogger recommends...

The wonderful Erika of The Flight of our Hummingbird, a far more worthy a recipient of any award than I am, has just bestowed a Lemonade Award upon me. On her blog she sings my praises, but also confesses she is still new to blogging and didn’t have enough people on her blog list yet to pass it on to the required 10…

Over the years I’ve periodically been invited to join in the passing on of awards or different memes to fellow bloggers, but truth be told I always felt a bit uncomfortable with them. Either they would always end up going to the same people, or I would worry I’d missed someone out and they would feel a bit hurt. Or both.

Additionally these awards always demand to be handed out and perpetuated, which triggers the anti-authoritarian in me – what right do they have to dictate my behaviour!!!?

So while I am flattered Erika has given me this award, and I’m not averse to grabbing any smidgen of praise I can for my cavernous ego, I won’t be participating in awarding it to other bloggers. However, if you are one for these kinds of things I'm sure she won't mind if you pop over there, take a look at the rules and adopt it to hand out to other blogs you follow

But with the recent change in the landscape of my blogging world, I’m aware there are many more readers of these Ramblings now than there used to be, so over the next few months I plan on periodically putting up posts pointing anyone who’s interested in the direction of other blogs I consider particularly noteworthy.

No awards, just heartfelt recommendations.

Today I’m going to feature two blogs from people with very different backgrounds and current circumstances, yet share one or two distinct attributes that press the right buttons for me.

Both give the inside perspective on an outsider’s experience. And as someone who has always felt on the outside - where the yearning to belong is in constant conflict with a derision of the “acceptable norms” that reject us – good writing on the subject is always a delight to me

The first is Mary Witzl of Resident Alien
Mary originates from the desert climes of California, and is therefore one of the few people I’ve ever met who genuinely enjoys the wet Scottish weather. However, in a wry twist of fate she’s spent the past year teaching English in a very hot, very dry Turkish outpost.

Mary has spent the majority of her adulthood living in different countries, and only some where they spoke English. She met her husband in Japan, and both daughters were brought up there in their early years. She has also lived and worked in Holland, Wales and, of course, Scotland, where I met her a couple of years ago. The title of her blog, Resident Alien, reflects living as a foreigner and often being treated sometimes subtly, sometimes blatantly, as “not one of us.”

Mary is a storyteller par excellence. Each of her blog posts is a self-contained, well-crafted wonder, capturing a moment in time, an experience or observation. Strung together and they reveal a world of humour, bemusement and warmth. She never really has a bad word for anyone else; her empathic nature means she always sees their point of view, even if it is laced with occasional frustration at the lack of reciprocal thinking on the part of those she’s dealing with.

For when you want to sit down with a mug of rich, fair-trade coffee and just enjoy a damn fine read, I can’t recommend much higher.

The 2nd blog I want to mention is Sang Lee’s Yellow Son.
On the surface, Sang Lee is about as far removed from Mary as you can get. He is unmarried male and spent most of his life in the one country. However, as the son of immigrant Korean parents, chunks of his life have been spent battling treatment as a foreigner in the place of his upbringing since the age of 6. His writing brings the conflict between a family demanding he be Korean first, and a culture demanding he be American, to life.

Sang is another first class storyteller. From the opening sentences of his posts I’m hooked, wanting to know what happens next. And by the end I feel I’ve been on a journey where I’ve learned something, either about the world or about myself.

Unlike Mary, who I’ve known since the beginning of her blog – in fact I even gave her a few helpful tips on how to get it set up – Sang is a recent discovery. But already I’m hooked and busy working my way back through his past posts, building up an ever larger picture. Fortunately, as his blog is quite new, at the time of writing he only has about 34 posts to go through, so my life will become my own again fairly soon.

I do hope he continues to blog for many years to come as I’m looking forward to getting to know him better.

So do take the time to visit Mary and Sang, leave a friendly comment and, if they appeal, then add them to your regular reading lists.


Pat said...

Thank you for reminding me about Mary who I have known through your comment box for some time, and will enjoy popping over to see what she's up to. I hadn't realised she hailed from California.
I didn't know Sang but he sounds a good egg. Thanks.
BTW re awards I foolishly tried to do some thing on my side bar and lost all except one so I'm done with them;)

Kim Ayres said...

Pat - you mean you no longer have the Rambling Beard Award I gave you 2 years ago? Ah well, never mind. Besides, at some point in this "occasional series" I intend featuring you :)

Singapore Dividend Collector said...

Thanks for telling me about Mary's blog. I can relate, as I am an Irish man living and working in Asia myself.



Jayne Martin said...

Mary is a lovely writer and a fellow Californian. Thank you for the recommendation, Kim. - Jayne

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Well done on your award. I have yet to have one bestowed upon little ol' moi. Enjoy your fame..

Thanx for the recommendations too.

Joan Crawford said...

You're a good egg, Kim :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Kim. For this unexpected honor.

I've been looking through your older posts as well – a lot ore than 34 – but I consider the reading ahead of me like many seasons of a great TV show I just discovered was available on hulu.

I hope to be writing many more years into the future. It's nice to know I have company :)

Mary Witzl said...

Wow, THANK you for this, Kim, however undeserved! And now I've got to go check out Sang. Even though I'm only a telephone Korean, I already feel a kinship.

And what's this business about giving me a few helpful tips? You (1) suggested blogging to me, then (2) told me how to go about starting one, then (3) walked me through it step by step. That's a lot more than a few helpful tips.

(I feel pretty embarrassed, though: I caught FIVE students cheating today. If you'd been in the classroom and then the teachers' room afterwards, you could have heard me having a bad word to say about someone...)

erika said...

Okay, so you turned the lemonade into a Margarita :) I certainly don't mind :)

It's supposed to be a feel-good-award, and if it made you feel good, well, that's all I care about.

St Jude said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kim Ayres said...

Mike, Jayne & Gillian - I'm glad you like them :)

Joan - boiled, poached or scrambled?

Sang - I look forward to reading them :)

Mary - but even when you do get annoyed with someone, you still give their point of view - at least when you're writing :)

Erika - and it did, thank you :)

Daphne said...

Thank you so much for recommending these blogs! I love featuring other bloggers on my site - it is so fun sharing the wonderful things we find that inspire us. I am already enjoying Mary and Sang and I look forward to reading more from them (and you).

St Jude said...

Sorry, I was having a brainstorm, I deleted my comment by mistake. It's been one of those days!

Anyway, I've 'met' Mary before and I like her blog. Sang is new to me and thank you for directing me there.

Suz said...

Thanks for the resommendations. I'm always looking for someone new to read. I'm new to blogging and am just learning about the big world it encompasses.

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of referral! It's such a great way to create community and pass along good will and spirit! Looking forward to checking out the blogs you noted!

Library girl said...

Thanks for the 'gift' of two wonderfully compelling bloggers.

Kanani said...

Yeah, I never knew quite what to make of the awards either!
Ah well.
Nice to give shout outs to other blogs though.
So kim, I noticed you've had a surge or followers ....over 800? My, my, I don't know how you feed them all!

Helen said...

Hey Bearded One - you are so right! I loved every word that Mary wrote! I made the coffee and just got lost in her words! Amazing talent. I have yet to check out Sang, but will be sure to do so. Thanks.

Kim Ayres said...

Daphne, Suz, Starrlife, Library Girl, Helen - I'm sure you'll enjoy them both :)

St Jude - too much blogging addles the brain... or is makes you go blind... or is it makes hair grow on the palms of your hands...

Kanani - to find out about the surge, just start reading from about the 11th Sept onwards. Meanwhile, I think I've lost them all again - the visitor stats have dropped right down.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for recommending these 2 blogs....I've visited them and will certainly learn.

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