Reading one of Ronni Bennett’s posts in Time Goes By – her posts always trigger thinking things over – I realised that I started Blogging in Paris in June last year. On June 16th, to be precise. I had been thinking about blogging for quite a while, but wasn’t sure I had anything to say, felt shy and exposed and started without knowing what I would write about.
In fact, six months earlier, for reasons that are too complicated to explain here, inherent to the French educational and retirement system, my administration gave me the choice between substituting for absent teachers or retiring, even though I had been a successful webmistress for the Paris academic site for English teachers.
In May, I had a mammogram which showed a small malignant tumor, in other words, a cancer, and all hell broke loose. I started going from lab to scan, from doctor this to doctor that, finally chose a surgeon and by the end of July, had gone through surgery and at the beginning of September, started a six week radiation therapy period.
I was supposed to have retired on September 30th, but of course, I didn’t even see my retirement happen, as I was right in the middle of radiation therapy.
Through these difficult months, during which my daughter and my friends gave me invaluable support, Blogging in Paris gave me something to get absorbed in, to think of, that was not breast cancer, something that I could create, I guess, instead of destroying…
During this time, I came across MandarinDesign, a blog that helped me find more attractive ways of writing my posts and taught me a lot about simple and more complicated html.
Then, I came across Time Goes by and that gave me the idea of my diving into the past section, not to mention the stealing of the photo timeline idea.
By the end of October, my radiation therapy session was over. For those six weeks I opened and kept a blog in French in which I recounted how and what I felt, and that too, really helped me to get a lot of things out of my system.
I had a Canon digital camera, a heavy weight I thought, and left for a week’s vacation with my friend Liliane and started taking some photos.
One evening, I was having dinner in a restaurant full of Japanese tourists and I saw them take pictures of the food with tiny and lightweight cameras and that gave me the idea of buying one.
I guess it was like some sort of bug that bit me! Taking photos made me take long walks through Paris and I started looking at things that I had never even noticed before. Then I discovered flickr, and that gave me even more reasons to go out take photos and post them.
Meanwhile, I was still helping out with the site I had been the webmistress of, contributed to an education web publication, among other things. But as time went by, I felt less and less concerned with educational things, and more and more concerned with photos, taking pictures, and blogging.
Moving on, I guess…
Now, I feel delighted with my new life. I am having lots of fun with very few duties, for the first time in my life.