Saturday, March 31, 2012

Looking back on one year of blogging

What caught my eye this afternoon? The Mont Blanc!

In between planning my next adventure, exploring Paris and writing posts, I rarely have time to reflect on the past. As tomorrow marks my one year anniversary as a blogger, I decided to indulge myself by looking backwards rather than forward today.

First post: Breaking News - Hostile Forces Invade Paris

Written on April 1, I've always thought that this auspicious date gives me an easy out if I decide to stop blogging because I can always say that "Out and About in Paris" is nothing more than an April Fool's Day joke.

The post that gave me the biggest thrill: Behind the Scenes of Roland Garros, Home of the French Open

Just when I was sure that my blog would forever wear the cloak of invisibility, I noticed that the number of visitors was off the charts one evening. Baffled by what had happened, I traced the traffic to a CNN/Sports Illustrated article by Jon Wertheim. By some fluke, Jon had decided that my post about the behind-the-scenes tour of Roland Garros would help his readers get in the spirit for 
the French Open. Best of all, the article brought Joseph the Butler to my blog!

Most popular post, according to the statistics: The bracelet scam guys near the Sacré Coeur Funicular

Even though writing it gave me an inkling of what it would feel like to be an investigative reporter, I wish that posts about other people, like Michel Fouchereau, received more attention than the bracelet scam guys.

The kind of posts that I really like to write: The American Cemetery in Normandy and the story of Pvt. John Daum and Touching a different part of the elephant - Grace, an illegal immigrant

While I occasionally get distracted by chocolate (it's Paris, after all!), these are the types of posts that are the most gratifying to write.

The greatest reward of blogging: the people I've met online.

What's next? I don't know. After making a deal with myself to blog for one month, six months and a year, I'm currently negotiating the length of my next contract. One thing's for sure, I still have a lot to write about. Like my visit to Versailles...

30 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your first year! Grr those bracelet guys piss me off, but you're right, walking with purpose (or, in my case, yelling "me touchez pas") gets them off your back.

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    1. Thanks, Gwan! I had forgotten just how annoying some of the scams are in Paris until a group of petition girls surrounded me shortly after I returned from Boston. I'm usually fairly aware of my surroundings but had let my guard down and was reminded of what it feels like to be an uninitiated tourist. Next time I'll try your technique!

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  2. WOW, that means I have been reading your blog for a year!... Congrats on keeping my attention longer than most people, places and activities are capable of doing! I actually log on each day before work to see what you have posted. You never disappoint.
    nancyb

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    1. Many thanks for reading and sticking with me for an entire year, Nancy! And thanks for all of your tips about things to do in Boston. I still have to write about my visit to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

      I look forward to exploring Paris with you in a couple of weeks - and to finally meeting you face-to-face! Let's hope that I don't disappoint! :o

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  3. I loved reading all of the older posts I missed and look forward to the future ones. I was definitely fooled by the title "Hostile Forces Invade Paris" thinking, how could I have missed that news story? =)

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    1. Ha! I'm so pleased that you were fooled by the "Hostile Forces" post. It's one of my favorite memories of my first days in Paris when everything seemed as if it was part of a movie set.

      Living in the big city, I love reading about your adventures in Brittany because it gives me a completely different take on life in France! Three cheers to the expat blogging community!!!

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  4. Aw, MK! Congratulations!! This post made me a bit misty-eyed. What a year it's been for us all!!

    "Just when I was sure that my blog would forever wear the cloak of invisibility" I love this sentence. I totally relate. Did you hear the sound of crickets like I did with each early post? It was like "Is there anyone out there?" I guess we really like blogging because we persevered through the silence!

    Congrats again! I hope you and Stephane have a few glasses of cold bubbly tonight!!

    xoxox!!!

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    1. Mlle Ella, I hope that you know that you'll always hold a special place in my heart because I feel as if we're two blogger "peas in a pod". Not only could I hear the sound of crickets, I could hear a pin drop. It made me feel as if I was having a long and rather boring conversation with myself. It also made me realize that I don't work well in isolation and need other people's ideas to give me inspiration.

      When your blog turns one, I would love to take you out for a glass of cold bubbly and make a toast to "perseverance"!

      bisous and hugs!

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  5. I very much enjoy reading your blog!

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    1. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  6. I, personally, think you should give yourself a lengthy contract. How about you stop blogging after you've seen everything of interest in Paris? :)

    I'm glad to hear your post about the bracelet guys is popular, because so many people are still oblivious to these scams, despite the many warnings on forums and in guidebooks. If only tourists would learn to stonewall these guys and refuse to give them money, they'd be forced to get a real job.

    I revisited your post about Grace and it is indeed one of your best. It was very poignant and thought-provoking.

    Happy Anniversary, Mary Kay! I look forward to reading more!

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    1. "After you've seen everything of interest in Paris" sounds like a lifetime commitment to blogging. Yikes!

      And since we're talking about blogging, I keep waiting for you to start writing one about your life in NYC. You've already got a catchy title, "NYC girl"!

      There's an interesting story about the bracelet scam guy post - it received a lot of traffic when someone linked to it on thread in a forum about an Asian boy band. Evidently one of the members had a run in with one of the bracelet guys. It seems that the band member was quite scared by the experience. I agree with you that it's something that more visitors need to be know about so that they aren't intimidated and harassed by these guys.

      Thanks for the anniversary wishes - and for reading and commenting!

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  7. Happy Blogiversary! Please renew your contract asap - I love your blog.

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    1. Likewise, Steph - I love reading your blog! Thanks for the blogiversary wish!

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  8. ..and long may it continue. I love my bit of Paris "news" and look forward to it every day. Congratualtions on a year. Yes the biggest bonus is that I met YOU.

    Denise
    Love from Bolton

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    1. You're a sweetheart, Denise. Thank you! And best wishes for your blog. It's a real treat for me to follow what you're doing in Bolton, London and Paris!

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  9. Félicitations and Bonne Anniversaire Mary Kay
    always looking forward to reading about your latest discoveries. My list of things to do when we visit in October keeps changing (-:
    looking forward to the next year!
    cheers
    Conrad et Susan

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    1. Merci, Conrad and Susan! I'm curious about what's on your list! Sorry that I still haven't made it back to Les Halles area. I promise that I haven't forgotten but I've still got a bit of time before your visit in October.

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  10. Happy Anniversary and many happy returns! Your blog is a daily treat and I hope you will keep it going indefinitely!

    Regards,

    Patricia H

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    1. Patricia, Thank you! But indefinitely - I don't think so! There are already times when I realize that I'm starting to repeat myself!

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  11. I just found your site. Congratulations and/or Happy Birthday! You have asked for suggestions...I'm currently transcribing my mother's travel diary from a trip to Paris in 1955. She stayed at George V and went to the Cafe de la Paix, Fouquet's and Monseigneur (a nightclub?). Have you been to any of these places? It's been fun to look these places up and read a little about them....imagine my mother there. She passed away in 2005 and we found the diary after her death. If you haven't been, I'd love to hear about them. Just a suggestion....thanks!

    PS I'm looking forward to exploring Paris through your eyes in the rest of the blog too. What a COOL life!

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    1. Claire, What a wonderful memory to have of your mother. Shortly after my mother died in 2009, I regretted not having a greater understanding of her life before she was a wife and mother. Reading your mother's travel diary must give you some important insights.

      While I haven't stayed at the George V (much too expensive for me!) we did have afternoon tea there. Click here to read the post and see some photos.

      Just an idea - if you wouldn't mind, it could be interesting to do a "then" versus "now" post of a place like Fouquet's if you would let me use a descriptive excerpt from your mother's diary. It's just an idea and I completely understand if you would prefer to keep it for yourself. While I know that George V, Cafe de la Paix and Fouquet's still exist, I'm not familiar with Monseigneur night club but will do some research.

      Thanks for commenting and telling me about your mother!

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  12. I came on board with the Roland Garros story, and was an instant convert. And so happy I found you.

    Many congratulations.

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    1. Thanks, Joseph, but I don't think that I would have made it through an entire year of blogging without you. Your comments and questions gave me the "conversation" that I needed to keep going. And as you already know, your tips gave me the inspiration for quite a few posts. So - thank you! I'm glad that Jon Wertheim's article brought us together.

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  13. I'm glad you have continually extended your contract. Congratulations!

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    1. Thanks, Cynthia! Now that I've gotten used to it, It's hard to imagine what life would be like in Paris without blogging.

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  14. Congrats and keep 'em coming.

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    1. You were my primary source of inspiration, Anne! Plus, "Just Another American in Paris" is the website that sends the most traffic to my blog. Thanks for all of your support and help - I sincerely appreciate it!

      And on a completely different note - what were you doing up so early on a Monday morning in DC?

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  15. So glad you decided to take on this project, Mary Kay.

    So many hours of pleasure you've brought me on my (almost) daily trips to Paris - and not one bad airplane seat in the mix!

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    1. One of these days, I hope that you'll be inspired to hop on an airplane (in spite of the bad seats!) and come for a visit! We could watch the dancers by the Seine, see the fountain show at Versailles and drink vodka at an undisclosed Russian restaurant near Parc Monceau!

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