Self-Portrait in Feng's Glasses, May 2010, USA
Self-Portrait in Feng’s Glasses, May 2010, USA

Almost four years of blogging later, I’m publishing my 500th article today. Wow. I guess I’d better backup my database tonight!

It all started in October 2006. At the time, I had been a permanent resident in Canada for exactly a year (and I had been in Canada for already two years) but I was still getting comfortable with my new country. I had no idea what I would do with a blog nor did I have any idea how all that (“all that” being me in Canada, working as a teacher at the time) was going to turn out.

Four years later, I’m happy to say the jigsaw pieces more or less fell together and “all that” turned out pretty good. Sure, I had to adjust along the way—I gave up eating cheese (too expensive and not rotten enough due to Canada’s health regulations), I now invent French words when I forget my mother tongue (I have recently been told that “les végétables” is not a word in French) and I haven’t participated in a protest in quite a while (despite working on Parliament Hill). Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t always easy and I had ups and downs. But I never regretted my choice of coming here and I’m very happy with being both Canadian and French.

Blog-wise, I learned a lot in the past four years. First, I started writing on Blogger and eventually switched to self-hosted WordPress a year later. As I wanted to improve my blog, I became a mini-geek with basic knowledge of coding and web design. Photography is an art I came to appreciate a lot these last three years and I have tons of projects in mind. I learned the ropes with a simple point-and-shoot camera and I’m now having a lot of fun with a proper DSLR and a few lenses. Yes, I’m that weirdo who walks around Ottawa with a camera—say hi if you see me, and smile for the picture!

Above all, I discovered I truly loved writing and photography. I’ve always been a writer but in French, but since I was now living in an English environment, I wanted to see if I could express myself as well in that language. Again, it wasn’t easy but I’m quite happy to say I’m as comfortable writing in English as I am in French (don’t mind the occasional grammar slip!).

This blog means a lot to me:

  • It is a motivation to take better pictures, to write about life in Canada, and it’s hopefully useful to a lot of prospective immigrants.
  • It opened my eyes on the world, thanks to all the great articles from you guys I read every day.
  • It helps paying some bills, thanks to the (hopefully not too annoying) ads.
  • It gave me the opportunity to meet great people, such as Gail (who came to Ottawa twice), Barbara (in France) and Priyank (in Toronto).

I wanted to thank all of you, those who stop by every day and those who read a couple of articles here and there, those who leave insightful and funny comments, those who share their experiences, those who encourage me and support this blog, those who take the time to say “hi” once in a while and all the other who stay in the shadow. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by all the great people I got to know through this blog, and even more surprised to see how many read it every day.

Writing and blogging is like travelling: I’m not sure where I’m going, I’m not sure I’m even going somewhere, but I’m going anyway and I’ll figure it out later. It all worked itself out just fine so far!


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  1. Ghosty Kips May 29, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Happy anniversary! 😀 I missed my five year mark altogether, I didn’t even realize it had passed until after the fact. Anyway, let’s see what the next five brings you. Congrats!
    .-= Ghosty Kips´s last blog ..The Craftsman House, part II =-.

  2. Ghosty Kips May 29, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    … *FOUR* years, rather. No coffee yet. I did read this, I swear!
    .-= Ghosty Kips´s last blog ..The Craftsman House, part II =-.

  3. Agnes May 29, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Oh Zhu — congratulations! Four years, 500 posts, wow, you go Girl.

    I think your blog is awesome and you’re a freakishly talented photographer 🙂
    .-= Agnes´s last blog ..Raffles Hotel, Singapore. =-.

  4. Penny May 29, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Congratulations! I really enjoy your blog 🙂
    .-= Penny´s last blog ..First randonnée =-.

  5. seb May 29, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    It’s been fantastic following your amazing journeys! and I love the way you incorporate your photography and personal stories together in your blog. Wonderful!!!! and congratulations on the milestone!
    .-= seb´s last blog ..Eat your face. =-.

  6. Soleil May 29, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    Felicitations on your 500th post! Here’s to the next 500!

    Thanks for sharing your photography and stories with us!
    .-= Soleil´s last blog ..Appreciation =-.

  7. Cynthia May 30, 2010 at 6:23 am

    Congratulations 🙂 It’s always fun to read your blog 🙂
    .-= Cynthia´s last blog ..Offre d’achat refusée =-.

  8. Beth May 30, 2010 at 7:09 am

    Congratulations on # 500!
    I’m glad we found one another. 🙂
    .-= Beth´s last blog ..Sticks and Stones… =-.

  9. Tulsa Gentleman May 30, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Congratulations on number 500. I hope to be with you for the next 500. I fell in love with your blog when you were taking your tour of South America, posting photos and narrative of places I never dreamed of visiting. You are a good photographer, a good writer, and a very sweet person.
    .-= Tulsa Gentleman´s last blog ..Sunday Jigsaw Puzzle – Nature’s Jigsaw =-.

  10. Bluefish May 30, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Félicitation! Je suis ben contente pour toi, d’avoir une belle vie au Canada. J’aime aussi tes photos et j’espère que tu nous montrera beaucoup d’autres. 🙂

  11. micki May 30, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Impressive! 500 wonderful articles and tons of awesome photos. Keep up your great success! I enjoy very much in visiting you all the time~~ 🙂
    .-= micki´s last blog ..Juming Museum =-.

  12. Vagabonde May 30, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Four years ago I just learned about blogs when my daughter started one. She only wrote 4 posts that year and in 2009 showed me how to start one. 500 posts that is quite an accomplishment. I am pleased that you enjoy your life in Canada. Quand j’ai commencé à vivre aux Etats-Unis, moi aussi j’étais assez contente, mais après toutes ces années ici avec la vie qui a prit un tournant vers la droite, je me demande si je n’aurais pas mieux fait de rester en France. C’est quand on vieillit quelquefois que le pays natal manque. Mais tu habites au Canada, qui est un pays beaucoup plus ouvert que les USA, surtout le sud des USA ou je suis. Bonne continuation et merci d’être passée par mon blog.
    .-= Vagabonde´s last blog ..Recollection: Mother’s Youth and the House of Worth =-.

  13. khengsiong May 30, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    I thought you have been in Canada for many years. Only two years?
    Keep going. I like your blog!
    .-= khengsiong´s last blog ..香港示威口號 =-.

  14. shionge May 30, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    Well Done Pal!!! A great achievement indeed and blogging is also a great way to embrace friendship near & far.

    I’ve enjoyed your blog company very much too and I hope we’ll get to meet each other someday 🙂

    Keep blogging Zhu!!!

  15. Zhu May 30, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    @Ghosty Kips – 😆 No worries, I’m useless without caffeine as well!

    @Agnes – Thank you so much!

    @Penny – Thank you for taking the time to leave a message 🙂

    @seb – Yay, thanks! I’m not big on milestones and self-congratulation but I felt I had to do it this time.

    @Soleil – Merci beaucoup Soleil!

    @Cynthia – Thank you! I can say the same about your blog.

    @Beth – Another 500? Wow, I’d better start now then! 😆

    @Tulsa Gentleman – Thank you very much! I’m hoping for more travels too.

    @Bluefish – Merci beaucoup! C’est fun de te suivre dans tes aventures aussi.

    @micki – Thank you so much! Your blog is one of the many I’m glad I found as well.

    @Vagabonde – So far I like it but as you say, I think it’s easier when you are young. I like to think I have many homes… we will see how it turns out.

    @khengsiong – When I started this blog I had been in Canada for two years, so I’ve been there for 6 years now. 😉

  16. kyh May 31, 2010 at 4:04 am

    CONGRATS! keep going! love your writings and wittiness! 😉

    Btw, which dslr model r u using?
    .-= kyh´s last blog ..The lakes of Sulut: Danau Tondano and Linow =-.

  17. Rémy May 31, 2010 at 4:13 am

    Congratulations Zhu!

    And keep up with the good work, I enjoy reading you so much 🙂

  18. Ines May 31, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Congratulations on the the birthday of your 500th blog post!!!!! Hoping to see many, many more of your wonderful stories and beautiful pictures in the future!!!! Love from alter-ego on the West coast. xxxxxx

  19. Guillermo May 31, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Felicitaciones Zhu! And keep up the good work!

  20. Nigel Babu June 1, 2010 at 12:09 am

    Keep it going! We all love to see your articles and especially the weekly series 🙂

  21. Linguist-in-Waiting June 1, 2010 at 10:09 am

    500 articles! Wow. I don’t know whether you write more frequently than me or not, but your posts are always meaty and very informative! I have learned a lot from reading your posts.

    Oh, if I find myself in Ottawa, I’ll sure to warn you beforehand, the idea of grabbing coffee with you is nice!
    .-= Linguist-in-Waiting´s last blog ..Linguistic Factoid No. 18: Register =-.

  22. Gabriel June 1, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    Well, first of all, congratulations!

    But then… I cannot believe I pretty much plagiarized your post’s title! I must have read it and the title somehow remained in a corner of my mind… I feel bad.

    I mean, I know I’m not original, but not this bad! 🙂
    .-= Gabriel´s last blog ..Silly Monkey Stories #101 – The wheelbarrow =-.

  23. Gail at Large June 1, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Hey, CONGRATS on reaching 500! Writing in a second language is a major accomplishment in itself, and though it is your second language, your writing puts mine to shame… your posts are so much longer and more in-depth than mine! My blog anniversary is coming up pretty soon, next month it will be eight years old.

    I’m so glad we finally met, too, and that we share the love of a clicking shutter. The blog *is* kind of like travelling, because you can explore all you want — ideas, creativity, expression, it’s up to you.

    Here’s to the next 500!
    .-= Gail at Large´s last blog ..1,104 Miles Later… I Am Home! =-.

  24. Nisha June 6, 2010 at 8:24 am

    Hearty congrats !! Now 503 articles. 😛

    I have miles to go before I can say so.
    Blog is an excellent medium to grow, to think, to learn, to teach & to meet people.
    You are doing just great with your excellent photos and informative posts.

    Keep it up.

    If I am ever been to your city, wherever you are… I’ll make it a point to meet you.

  25. Jorge Mora June 6, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Felicidades Zhu! You are an example to new bloggers like me, looking forward to your next 500 posts and beyond!

  26. Zhu June 7, 2010 at 11:51 am

    @kyh – Thank you! My camera is a simple Nikon D60.

    @Rémy – Thank you for sticking around 🙂

    @Ines – Hell dear alter ego, thanks for the praise 🙂

    @Guillermo – Muchas gracias!

    @Nigel Babu – I have an idea for a new weekly series, I’ll start with that again soon.

    @London Caller – WordPress is awesome – I never regretted switching.

    @Linguist-in-Waiting – Thank you! I do hope we will meet some day, but I have no doubt about that, we live pretty close by North American standards 🙂

    @Gabriel – Ah it,s okay, no worries, the titles are no copyrighted – it’s on the house 😆

    @Gail at Large – Thank you for the praise! i’m glad we met too, I learn so much about photography everytime… You should come again in the Fall, Gatineau is gorgeous at this time of the year.

    @Nisha – I’d love to meet you! One day, maybe 🙂

    @Jorge Mora – Gracias! I can’t believe it’s been 500 posts already… still, it took me four years 😉

  27. barbara June 10, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Wooo!!! 500 articles ! Félicitations ma chérie.

    I know what you feel that your blog is motivating you to take better pictures. I think and feel the same, always challenging myself.

    Very cool, to have your reflexion in Feng’s shades. I know, you are surely the “apple of his eye”

    Grosses bises xx

  28. Max Coutinho June 11, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Hey Zhu Zhu,

    Marvellous shot!! Very well captured!

    Congratulations for your 4th Anniversary and your 500th post :D! It has been quite a ride, eh?

    “and I haven’t participated in a protest in quite a while” – LOL LOL this was a good one. Don’t worry, your French countrymen are doing it as often as they can in your behalf lol ;).

    You are a marvellous photographer (I shit you not) and your writing is delightful. You know I love your blog.

    Zhu, que puedas correr por muchos más venideros años! Tu destino es correr de verdad! 😀

    Saludos y besitos

  29. Neeraj March 30, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Just curious… how do you get the time to write so many great articles AND have a full time job?! 🙂

    1. Zhu March 31, 2011 at 9:52 am

      😆 I actually don’t write that much compared to some bloggers! And this blog is 6 years old now.

      I post three times a week and usually write in the evening or on WE. Writing is never a chore for me!


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