Chinatown, Ottawa, November 2018

I click on the Feedly icon at the top right corner of my browser. Two new articles in the “blog” category, one from Jeruen and one from Coming to Canada (who, actually, just arrived in Canada). Gone are the days when I could spend an hour immersed in other people’s lives. Many of the blogs I follow haven’t been updated in months or years.

Is blogging dead?

Am I… ouch. Nope, just pinched myself. I’m still here.

I feel like a dinosaur, though.

Blogging seems to be so yesterday. In this day and age, you argue on Twitter, show your flawless lifestyle on Instagram and spread the word on Facebook.

I can see why people stop blogging—writing is time-consuming and the rich-and-famous-blogger myth died a while ago. Other social media platforms require less work. Branding yourself with half a dozen hashtags is easier than expressing your ideas in a 700-word article.

But I’m afraid it also illustrates a current trend—trapped in echo chambers of our own making, we shout out what we believe in and we no longer take the time to see other perspectives.

We’d rather hang out with people who think like us, #LetsBeOutragedTogether.

Unlike influencers, politicians and other public figures, bloggers are generally just random people you start reading because they piqued your interest for whatever reason. For instance, I tend to be drawn to people chronicling life places I find exotic, other immigrants, people with a multicultural background, travellers or honest parents who admit the chicken nuggets they served at dinner were not organic but full of gluten and additives.

But beyond this initial connection, I don’t know who these bloggers voted for, whether they support XYZ and what their opinions are on a variety of topics.

I have yet to accidentally subscribe to a blog written by a former Nazi (phew!) but I got to know people who are very different than me.

Take Kiky, for instance. She’s Indonesian, she’s a runner, she’s curious about other cultures and she’s  Muslim. Do I spend my time trying to convince her that God doesn’t exist and that Muslim women are oppressed? Hell, no. I enjoy her travel articles and slices of her life halfway across the world. N. was born in Argentina, raised in France, lived in Brazil and she is now back in Canada. I can relate to all these places but our beliefs are probably very different—her husband is a pastor. And for the record, these two women of different faiths don’t go around warning atheists like me that we will burn in hell.

I admire Gail, who reinvented her life three or four times and often inspires me with her photography skills, but our backgrounds and lives are very different. Hélène and I are about the same age. We both grew up in France but had different upbringings, we both immigrated to Canada but have different stories. Lexie has two kids around Mark’s age but she’s a much more dedicated mom than me—she bakes with her kids!—and she follows parenting principles I dream about but never apply. Diane is an American in France, I enjoy her take on French culture but I know very little about her. I Say Oui doesn’t share much about herself either. She’s a Francophile American, and that all I need to know to enjoy her beautifully written articles on these unique New York moments. Isa is a French traveller who loves Montreal and Utah, a city and a state I’m not really into but she made me discover why these two places are fascinating. Recently, I started reading Anne who decided to go live in Nunavik (Quebec), close to the Arctic Circle. Do you know where I’d never live? Anywhere North of Ottawa… and this is why this new perspective on Canada is so precious to me.

My point is that we’re all very different but we connect and communicate like decent human beings. We don’t shout at each other’s faces when we disagree, we respect the fact we have different lives, different beliefs, and different ideas.

Sounds easy enough, eh?

Try living in North America (and possibly Europe) these days. We’re all divided. There’s a new thing to be outraged against every freaking hour. People are arguing for or against the craziest things. And then, when they run out of words, they just pull the trigger—well, by “they,” I mean “Americans” in this specific case. But even in Canada and in France (just to talk about two countries I know well) we either hang out with people who think just like us or argue with people who happen to think differently.

Yet, I’m convinced that if we’d just take a minute to read something random or something different, we could develop a new interest, gain a new perspective, challenge a stereotype or learn something new.

This is why blogging is so important to me.

I offer a window on Canada, on the fine art of living in a multicultural household and parenting a kid in a country you didn’t grow up in. I offer stories, lived here or elsewhere.

I’m not that interesting.

I’m just a piece of the jigsaw.

Together, we can connect beyond cultures and experiences.

Regardless of our backgrounds, beliefs and values, we’re all human beings facing the same doubts, dealing with the same fears and decoding life on earth the best we can.

You may not realize it, but you matter to me.

I need other perspectives.

Thank you for sharing your views and being who you are.

Get the latest story, cultural shock and travel pictures right in your inbox

I don't spam, promise.

I literally don't have the time to write ten stories a day.

Visited 1 times, 1 visit(s) today


  1. Diane November 5, 2018 at 7:42 am

    Hi there, thanks so much for the shout out. I plan to check out some of the other sites you mentioned as well. 😉
    You said you don’t know much about me and it’s true that my blog isn’t a personal diary, even less so at this point 6+ years in. I think some people do that really well but I think it can border on narcissistic and I’d much rather focus on being reader focused and professional — with the aim of inspiring, informing and entertaining my readers with my life experiences in France that can ultimately help them. And not talk about personal problems that really don’t serve anyone. Does that make sense?

    For the record, I did NOT vote for Trump haha.

    1. Zhu November 6, 2018 at 1:16 am

      Hi Diane!

      I must admit I discovered your blog not *that* long ago (…compared to other blogs, still, it’s been a couple of years now!) but my general impression is that you leverage your experience to explain what life in France is instead of focusing on personal events. And it’s cool! You do sound very professional and yet fun, so it’s all good.

      For Trump… yeah, I didn’t think so. That said, he *was* elected and I’m sure I know or met people who voted for him. And that’s okay, because they are people too. I have zero desire to hang out with his crazier supporters but I think the vast majority of voters were lied to and attracted to the “everything is going to change” rhetoric.

  2. Kiky November 5, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    Awww! i’m all blushing!!! Sitting on my office desk, hundred thousand miles away from your bed.
    Though I’m occupied with daily rambling in twitter and shown the world my lavish lifestyle in Instagram ( kidding), writing keeps my sanity!
    And I love yours! Your stories, your travelogues, your thoughts, those are mind-opnener for me!
    Keep writing zhu! Especially your South American trips! First thing I read in the morning 🙂 before I start my work

    Btw, I forget, have I told you. “Si” refers to a name when you call your friend, in my language.
    Example : hey! That’s Mark!
    In my language : hey! Itu (that) si Mark

    1. Zhu November 6, 2018 at 1:19 am

      Oh, major ooops! I’m correcting it right away 😆 I had no clue. I really should learn at least a few words in your language!

      I do find you very inspiring. Again, the rhetoric in Europe and America right now is often that Muslim women are oppressed and that you just can’t be a happy Muslim woman. This is wrong on so many levels. There’s Saudi Arabia (… and they seem to oppress pretty much everyone…) and then there are thousands of ways to live your faith. I find you stronger and more independent than many non-Muslim women!!

      1. Kiky November 6, 2018 at 2:25 am

        Hahaha! Don’t be sorry ! :))
        My blog is actually a combination of three words, cerita si kiky or kiky’s stories :))

      2. Martin Penwald November 6, 2018 at 6:30 am

        Muslim women are oppressed by patriarcal mindset that uses the religion in power, and it’s true that there are more countries in which islam hold the political class than where it is christianity.
        But it would be the same for example in the United States if right-wing christo-fascists keep undermining what’s left of democracy there. Mike Pence, anyone ?
        Just follow the Patheos blog “No Longer Quivering” which spots light to all these jerks for jesus.

        1. Zhu November 7, 2018 at 12:47 am

          I agree that there’s a patriarchal mindset in traditional Islam, much like with every religion. I get annoyed when Muslim women are invariably portrayed as “victims”. And yes, traditional Christian have backward values as well :-/

  3. Lexie November 6, 2018 at 9:23 am

    It’s one of the reasons I started following you. I liked (and still like) the idea of being kind of related (we were both French immigrants in Canada and our kids were pretty much the same age), but we don’t have the same ideas, the same way of life. And I actually love reading things about Chinese culture through you. Btw, I updated today with a new article 😉

    1. Zhu November 7, 2018 at 12:49 am

      You do count as a fairly regular blogger 😉 One of the most consistent I follow, actually!

      I think we are actually closer than it seems in terms of ideals (political, social, etc.) but our lifestyles are a bit different.

  4. N November 6, 2018 at 9:49 am

    I think that blogs are generally more interesting for the simple fact that they ask more work of the author, thus naturally selecting the stupidest of the FB updates, or brainless re-tweets! 😉

    1. Zhu November 7, 2018 at 12:49 am

      This is so true!

  5. I Say Oui November 6, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    This post made me smile! The funny is thing is that there are some personal thoughts I’ve shared on my blog that I haven’t shared with acquaintances or even some friends. But as you know, I don’t go into some of the more concrete details about my job and relationships and dating (though I’ve thought before that I would get way more hits with those stories). It’s partly because the blog for me serves a certain function, a different form of expression. It would be cool if one day we meet, and I’ll tell you all the other stuff!

    It’s funny how blogging used to be considred a quicker form of writing– you can post right after writing for five minutes, after all– but now is a long form of expression compared to Tweets and Facebook posts. That’s what I like about it; I like reading people’s fleshed out thoughts. And yes, it’s a peek into other people’s lives– in the best case, a more authentic view than looking at someone’s very curated Instagram profile.

    1. Zhu November 7, 2018 at 12:52 am

      I must admit that: 1) I’m dying to know what you look like (does it sound creepy? I hope not!) 2) Your life is a bit of a mystery to me, but in a good kind of way!

      You sound very sincere when you write and I love that. Lately (over the past… years?!) you’ve been publishing snapshots of life and I don’t need a ton of background info (why you were there, when it was exactly, etc.) to enjoy them. It’s great!

      1. I Say Oui November 8, 2018 at 1:12 pm

        Ha ha well genuine and mystery are both words people in ‘real life’ have used to describe me, so you’re on to something! I can email you a pic one of these days, though I may feel self conscious about it. I have to say that there have been a couple of times where I thought it is a bit odd (creepy?) to look at pics of your kid when I don’t post pics of myself. I’m glad you post them, though– they’re so fun and cute.

        To tell you the truth, the main reason why I often use the word “recently” in my posts is that it is sometimes weeks or months between the event and when I publish. So initially I might write “last weekend I…” but then change it to a more general terms when I finally post. You can see why I don’t use INSTAgram. 😀

        1. Zhu November 9, 2018 at 2:19 am

          I’ll take that offer on the picture when you feel ready! You probably have my email through the comments I leave on your blog. Yes, I’m this person with a single email address 😆

          I don’t have problems with pictures online because my rule is, I only post “flattering” pictures. Okay, I don’t always follow this rule for me but I do for Mark. I don’t publish anything that could embarrass him and now, since he’s old enough, I do show him what I share. He loves it. Like the Halloween pictures, he was really proud of his costume 😆

  6. Aylyon November 7, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    Ah you just killed me!
    Blogging is passé ?
    I am not even on Instagram and my twitter account… I don’t even know what it was for.
    Either way I find it super hard to be virtual and true to yourself at the same time.
    I need to look at people in the eye I need to feel more of a connection to really speak to them or be really who I am. So blogging is more like another way to disguise myself honestly. Some parts are true, some parts are only… less true, but there is a lot to say about the things I don’t write.

    It is the really optimistic part of me that really hopes that people did learn to talk to each other via blogs and now are using their ability in real life?

    1. Zhu November 9, 2018 at 2:17 am

      That’s an interesting perspective!

      I feel the same in real life and when I write, which is probably why I don’t feel like I’m hiding behind the blog.

      I don’t think you’re being overly optimistic. At least, I hope you’re not, because I believe blogging does help connect people!

  7. Gail Aguiar November 11, 2018 at 10:59 am

    (OOPS, I accidentally posted under a different email address. This is the one I want to use!)

    I’ve been fighting tooth-and-nail with the underpinnings of my blog lately, which any sane person would fix with “Get back to the content and leave the tech to the techs!”

    Meanwhile, the number of drafts are piling up and so are the photographs, which is what I usually turn to when I don’t have time for words.

    The more rubbish I encounter on the internet, the more driven I am to keep the blog going but I have this weird form of writer’s block wherein I have too much to say so I say nothing. Maybe a case of too much curating, not enough writing.

    Strangely, I’m more OK with that than the other glaring omission: not enough photoblogging. But then, a guy wrote to me last weekend asking to use some of my photographs for his location-based blog (local to me). I checked his blog quickly on my phone and saw advertising, so I said I would have to charge him because he has a commercial blog. He says, “It doesn’t cover my expenses, but thanks, anyway.”

    Hello? Me giving away photos doesn’t cover MY expenses, either!

    So really, it comes down to blogging as me feeling a burning need to blog — not for making money, because I don’t make money this way, not for anything but a need to share my experiences with other people. I never want to be purely an information blog with zero personality. I do completely agree with you that it’s important to share our experiences and perspectives, because that’s what makes the world go ’round.

    1. Zhu November 12, 2018 at 10:54 pm

      Just after reading your comment, I was contacted by someone who is building a website “like the Huffington Post” and wanted me to write several articles for free. I should have felt lucky, apparently, he *nicely* added I wouldn’t have to pay an entry fee 😆

      It’s weird, I wasn’t tempted to work for free…

      I like the new look on your blog. I know, it’s super time consuming to tweak the back-end, especially when it’s not exactly your full-time job. I’m trying hard to just leave mine the way it is, I don’t have time to experiment with new themes.

  8. Isa November 12, 2018 at 9:10 am

    Nope, just kidding! I’m really flattered to be on your list.
    And I’ve got a lot of new people to discover!
    I kind of feel bloging is dead. I loved the artisanal and unprofessionnal bloging. I loved the way people would use it as a “journal extime”. It’s rarely the case now, but sometimes you find some gold nuggets, like you (of course, YOU!), Anne Sellès, Kenza (Cups of English tea), Gone with the wynns… They make me feel good 🙂

    1. Zhu November 13, 2018 at 12:14 am

      I think I would enjoy Utah as a traveller but I have no idea if I’d fall in love with it the way you did, because this kind of connection is very personal. I feel the same for a few places in the world and most people would be like “yeah, cool place… but WHY??” I like Kenza too, she’s a good writer. Anne has well but she doesn’t update her blog much, I wish she would write more! I like your articles because they are kind of timeless, it’s a cross between a travel diary and a travel book, i.e. it doesn’t need to be read in a specific order 🙂

      1. Isa November 15, 2018 at 3:41 am

        Out of curiosity, which places?

        1. Zhu November 16, 2018 at 1:17 am

          Santiago (possible the least exciting city in South America :lol:). I’ve always felt comfortable in both Toronto and Sydney, even though I wouldn’t live there for practical reasons (mostly the cost of living and crazy expensive real estate). Lago de Atitlan in Guatemala. Beijing, oh, I love Beijing! I’m not a big fan of Shanghai, on the other hand.


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *