Guest Blogger Erin: What I Learned by Blogging

One of the best things about keeping a blog (besides being a great way to give updates to friends and family, plus serving as a personal record on which to look back) has been the opportunities it’s afforded me to meet many wonderful people (both in person and long-distance).

Even from the year leading up to our move when I began The Olive Notes, I was an active reader (and frequent poster) on Expats in Italy. The forum, Expat Talk was a invaluable asset for us during the planning and settling-in process of our move to Italy. Through this, I found many other expats, future expats, or just Italy-lovers who also wrote blogs. As time went on, I read more and found that more people were reading The Olive Notes, as well. Now, I regularly get emails or comments from people who tell me that they’ve been reading for a while but never contacted me. They have questions to ask, stories to tell, or just want to connect as we have many things in common.

I’ve been blessed to have met in person many fellow bloggers or people who found me through the blog, and have made friendships with several, as well. The very first blogger I met, was Katie. The first night after Chris and I moved to Florence happened to be the last night before Katie left again for the States (although it wasn’t too long before she returned to Italy). We met and enjoyed a night on the town as she introduced us to some of her friends and recommended bars and restaurants to visit while we were there. She is now back near Florence and continues to write on her blog, Olio di Oliva e Sogni di Vino about her love affair with Italy.

Also, during our first week in Florence we met up with Melinda for lunch and immediately had so much to talk about, since we’d been emailing for many months prior. It was great to have a good friend like her who loves Florence so much. Then just a couple of months ago, Melinda introduced me to an Aussie expat, Monika. Too bad we all didn’t meet earlier because I know there would have been many more girl-days on the calendar. But I definitely enjoyed our last couple of months with them in town.

In February, we met up for caffe’ with Julian and Amanda from A Tuscan View…from Umbria after they let us know that they were visiting Florence for the day. We hit it off and saw them several other times, including a visit to their home in the Umbrian countryside where they are beginning an art retreat, Artist in Italy.

Back in April, there was an Expat Get-Together organized in Florence, so we were able to meet (in person) several of the bloggers I’d felt like I’d already “met” online. Among some of the ones who’s blogs I read regularly (and hadn’t yet met in person) were Nikki from Positano (The Life I Choose), Arlene from Rome (NYC/Caribbean Ragazza), and Sara from Milan (Ms. Adventures in Italy) who we met up with again in Milan before we flew out for the States. Also, there were a handful of other bloggers we met, some from Florence, and others from around Italy who’s blogs I’ve stumbled upon before, as well.

Just before we left Florence, Chris and I met up with Eryn of Cappuccino Chit-Chat and her new husband Alex after their wedding in Florence and honeymoon around the country. We hit it off right away as we chatted over a small dinner. Also, a few days later I was able to met up with Jeni of Passionate Palate Tours for an aperitivo and lovely evening of conversation, laughs, wine and a quick walk through town.

It always feels like when I meet someone who I feel I’ve “known” already through their writing, that we’re just starting our conversation mid-sentence. It’s nice and like that feeling you get with a close friend that you don’t see so much, but even if it’s been years since you last saw each other, when you do get together, you continue on like no time has passed at all. It seems almost every week, my blog feed list gets longer and longer.

There are countless others who we’ve connected with, including some non-bloggers we’ve met (in Florence, and back in Florida) who are planning on moving like we did or just wanted to meet for conversation and tips. Not to mention many other wonderful bloggers who I feel I’ve become friends with, although we’ve never met in person, through regular comments and even outside emails. I won’t begin to list these, because I know I’d leave someone out. 🙂

I feel like many of you who I’ve met through here will be friends for life and I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to meet many, and look forward to connecting with more in the future.

GRAZIE to Cherrye for inviting me to be a guest blogger and also for extending the spirit of blogging to all her readers – a spirit that brings people closer no matter the miles between. This spirit is one of the reasons I write and I’m so thankful that this was an unplanned result of the initial motivation for beginning “The Olive Notes.”

Cherrye’s Note: Thank you, Erin for your heartfelt post and genuine reminder for us to continuously strive to connect with each other through our shared interests, writing and love for Italy. Erin and her husband Chris recently returned to Florida after a year in Florence. You can read all about their adventures at The Olive Notes.

13 Responses
  1. Great post Erin!!!! Always looked forward to your posts about Florence 🙂 Glad you got to meet so many wonderful bloggers out there.
    I always loved her pics, too!!

  2. You’re so lucky! Down here there’s only a handful of us…not that I’m complaining b/c I love my Calabrian girls, but I do wish it was easier to meet up with other bloggers throughout Italy.
    I hear ya, Michelle … at least this way we can keep up, right?? ha!

  3. Fantastic post. Great that you have got to meet so many bloggers…can;t believe you have met Katie, she seems so nice and bet she is a hoot!!!! :-)and meeting Julian and Amanda, that is brilliant.
    Agreed, Anne. Erin got to meet a lot of fun people. Hope I get to as well one day!

  4. Hey Cherrye: Thanks again for asking me to be a ‘guest blogger’.

    Robin: Thanks! I hopefully will get to blog more about future experiences as well!

    Michelle: I hope to one day make it down to Calabria to meet you guys!

    Anne: Yes, it was so great to be able to meet everyone. We made some life-long friends for sure.
    You are certainly welcome, Erin. Thank you again for posting!

  5. Yeeeey! In this post you beautifully summed up so much of what I feel about blogging and lovely fellow Italy bloggers 🙂

    I’ve only met a couple bloggers, and you’re right! Hope one day to meet you, Michelle and Cherrye , too…

    Hey, Sognatrice, maybe next get together should be in Calabria…
    Ya know, R2R, I’ve been thinking Calabria is JUST the place for the next get together! So many of you probably haven’t even been here.

  6. Hey Erin and Cherrye

    Thanks for this great post (and the links:)

    Erin sums up exactly what I love about blogging and the spirit of the thing. We have made friends for life with our ‘Olive Note’ buddies who we would probably never have met otherwise. Just imagine that day when we ‘bumped’ into each other in Florence, would we just have kept on walking?!

    It was fascinating to put faces to blogs when we met up in Florence. There are so many bloggers I would love to meet, Michelle and the other Calabria girls, Joe of Italyville, Anne of Oxfordshire, Maryann of Finding La Dolce Vita and Sally of Casalba are top of my list. A shady table under the pine trees, pasta and lots of vino I know we’d still be talking and laughing when the sun came up!!!
    Count me in, Amanda!

  7. amanda: I still smile thinking about that day we bumped into each other. so funny. I hope it’s not too long until we get to do that again.

    arlene: I will definitely let you know when we’re in Rome again…it would be great to see you 🙂

  8. Carole D

    Is the invite open to nonbloggers, but faithful readers of all you wonderful bloggers?
    Hey, ragazze why don’t you start commenting in Italian on Shelly’s new Italian blog?
    Isn’t she “grande?” Can’t imagine keeping up with 2 blogs, a move and a baby.

    Cherrye, welcome back I missed your posts!
    Absolutely, Carol! The more the merrier I always say!

  9. Carole D. I will have to be able to read the posts before I can comment. boh.

    Okay seriously that is a great idea and I need to get out of my comfort zone and speak/use my Italian more.

    Erin, yes we’ll have to meet for an aperitivo next time you are in the Eternal City.
    He he, I hear ya, NYC. Then blog reading would be work!!

  10. Wow, Erin blogging has been such a positive and wonderful experience for you it seems. Isn’t unbelievable how many people you’re able to meet and touch through your words despite being miles or even oceans apart?

    We had a great time meeting you guys…hope to meet up again!

  11. great guest post…erin never disappoints! & she’s right…i too started blogging to keep in touch stateside while in italy (only vacanza) but quickly found the joy of ‘meeting’ & then really meeting other bloggers.
    Great community, isn’t it? I feel like I know so many of you …

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