Sunday, April 1, 2012

Vive le changement! Change is good!







As many of my countrymen, I learned a lot about life while reading the adventures of two French comic book heroes: Asterix and Obelix. If you do not know these guys, do yourself a favor and borrow, or order, one of the books in the series. Since 1959, they have been translated in most known languages (and a few dialects too...) 


Asterix and Obelix, the indomitable Gauls, are famous for their courage, resiliency and adventuresome spirit. Asterix (the brave and cunning warrior) and Obelix (the not-so-clever, but kind and strong sidekick) make the perfect team. They are also best friends.


For the past three weeks, while struggling with blog-related issues that prevented my new posts from reaching some of my most faithful readers, I was reminded of the two heroes of my youth.  They kindly agreed to help me with this story. Good to see you again, les amis! I have missed you.


Truth be told, as an English Major and the product of a generation who did not learn how to use computers in school, I often feel intense frustration when dealing with technical challenges...



Idefix ("Dogmatix" in English speaking countries,)
Obelix's dog


After one too many failed attempts while trying to reach the Blogger support team who - I thought - would provide some help and technical assistance - my anger started growing...


Do not mess with Obelix, the fierce Gaul warrior!


... and growing...






Once again, the blogging community rallied up, as friends tried to rescue me. To no avail. Every single effort to fix the problem failed. I did not want to give up and researched the Google product forums. That's when I realized I was not alone. There were many other frustrated bloggers experiencing a wide range of glitches and tech-related issues.  And nobody to turn to. As my friends know, a blog is a bit like your baby. Imagine nurturing it; spending countless hours researching and writing stories; building a community; then being stuck in a baffling technology quagmire for days on end. 


It seems that in this instance, more than ever, you get what you pay for (Blogger is a free service.) Contacting the Blogger support team feels a lot like - Asterix and Obelix would agree -  approaching a Roman legion... Where does one start?





One thing I learned is that when dealing with computers, I do not have Asterix's shrewdness. Nor do I possess Obelix's superhuman strength.


Obelix's favorite birthday gift:
"Dealing" with a Roman cohort!


In the end, le Husband sat down for over an hour; diagnosed a "feed issue"; tweaked this; adjusted that; and successfully solved the problem, ensuring that  my stories, at least for a while, would travel in cyberspace once again! My hero, the Parisian Gaul! 


The Gaul warrior's victory dance

All is well that ends well, then? Maybe. 



When things got rough, I did a lot of thinking about the blog and the rest of my business. When I don't write here, I am a French language instructor, meeting private students daily, or teaching travel workshops for local organizations. For the last 15 months, I have had the best time - the most creative time - developing the blog. I met fun, wonderful people, who visit me weekly and are kind and encouraging enough to leave comments about each of my stories. Just this week, I received an email from a fellow blogger. How I love these messages. They make it all worthwhile. Everyone loves to feel appreciated, and this French Girl is no exception. Merci, Nicola.


"Hi. 
   I just wanted to let you know that I posted today on my blog about my visit to Le Restaurant Fournaise in Chatou which was inspired by your wonderful post about the restaurant a few weeks ago. I may never have gone there if it wasn't for your writing about it, and the friend whose birthday we were celebrating has lived here for four years without ever going! Thank you so much for pointing us in the right direction. 
   I linked to your post and included a small quote from your article (...) It took me a while to discover your blog, but now that I have, I love it. I am learning so much about France and so appreciate all the time you take to research your posts. 
   I hope you will come and visit my little blog (...) 
A bientot, 
Nicola B."


15 months. 96 posts. New friends. Faithful readers. Awards. French Girl in Seattle is very happy - and proud - to welcome so many guests here each week.


You are always welcome chez moi!


Still, it appears time is running out to carry out other projects close to my heart. Taking a photography class. Signing up for a writing class. Offering a new series of travel workshops, and other products, online. Redesigning the existing website. Finding a better platform for this blog. I must admit I am quite excited to go back to school for a while, and push my business forward...


Not everyone likes school...


The main thing is that French Girl needs time, and more flexibility to carry out those plans. I am excited about this new adventure - and let me tell you, one will do anything to feel this energized in Seattle during Monsoon season! 






Will it all work out? I am willing to take the chance and give it my best.


I just want you to know I will be introducing some changes on the blog over the next few weeks; a new format if you will. There may not be a new story - a long story - every Monday, like in the past. But I am not leaving. Things may be a bit different for a while, so thank you in advance for your patience and understanding. 


One thing I'd like to be able to do, is to pop in now and then to comment briefly on tidbits that come my way, such as this one, an advertisement by McDonald's France... Oh, the possibilities...


"Come as you are!" -- Courtesy of McDonalds' France
(Congrats, McDo, you know how to get French people's attention!)


Les amis, I want to make sure I can reach you whenever I stop by for a friendly...




So, restons en contact. Let's keep in touch, shall we?


Join my Followers (see sidebar) if you have not already; "Like" my Facebook page (see sidebar) for weekly updates and new post alerts; or sign up by email. 


Be well. I will not be far. Looking forward to more fun times avec vous... bientôt (soon.) 






Spring is the time of plans and projects.
-- Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina




Illustrations respectfully borrowed from the Asterix and Obelix book series. No infringement is intended and copyrights remain at source (Gosciny and Uderzo.) 



53 comments:

  1. So here I come for the "coucou"! j'ai commencé à lire ton post morte de rire, la comparaison avec nos heros gaulois est tellement excellente. Puis mon sourire s'est un peu figé.. ça sentait le départ! Non, non, puis Ouf!Tu prends un peu de recul pour de nouveaux projets, comment ne pas comprendre! Mais sincerement, tes posts me manquent déjà!Heureusement,
    bonne nouvelle: c'est tout bon pour juin!On fera à ta convenance. D'ici là, profite bien de tes nouveaux projets! (je t'envie la writing class, on n'a pas ça en France, je fantasme dessus..)Bisous!Signé: Falbala! :o))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merci Malyss. J'ai un peu pensé à toi en choisissant nos amis les Gaulois, je l'avoue ;-) Pas d'inquiétude, je ne pars pas très loin effet. J'ai juste besoin de m'organiser un peu... Super nouvelle pour juin. La semaine passera très vite, mais si tu peux me réserver un peu de temps pour un lunch ou un déjeuner, et une ballade dans Nice, je serai ravie. Bonne semaine!

      Delete
    2. ... un lunch ou un dîner, veux-je dire!

      Delete
  2. Good luck on this newest journey!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm so pleased you have solved the problem with your blog. It's so frustrating when things go wrong and difficult to find help. I too contacted blogger support last week as I could't post comments! So Joyeux Anniversaire for last week and I absolutely love Astérix - I have a few of the books (in French too!) and you have just inspired me to reread them!

    http://missbbobochic.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bonjour Miss b. So happy you like my friends the Gauls! Aren't they just hilarious? It always amazes me that they somehow manage to translate all the names and puns in the local language. Quite the feat! I will see you soon, on this blog, or yours!

      Delete
  4. well v as i was reading this on my i phone last night -couldn't sleep and then remembered oh yeah i can read/comment first like the old days -i was so sad-not that i want to hold you back from any new adventure-i shall miss my monday mornings avec vous-non-but as i said on my sis's facebook page (she left it opened ha) i for one shall be sticking around weary of change but willing to remain- i must go with the flow -I SIMPLY ADORE THIS SPACE OF YOUR'S- because of you-as i have told you this has been a very strssful time here in philly yet your posts remained a source of comfort joy and normal routine in this awful month-i am once again inclined to express my respect and gratitude to you I WISH YOU EVERY GOOD THING- and SUCCESS WITH ALL MY HEART-G here's to what may come mon amie merci beaucoup

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome back, g. I am glad you found comfort in my little stories during this difficult time for you and your family and hope your father is recovering, slowly but surely. Not to worry. I am not going far and likely won't be able to stay away for long even though I SHOULD really be focusing on the many projects I have listed above. There is more writing in my future, and I am grateful to the blog and my faithful readers (I am looking at you!) for giving me the confidence to pursue that goal. A bientôt mon amie. If you send me your email, I can add you to the list of readers who get notified first whenever I post something new...

      Delete
  5. Welcome back! Glad you were able to sort out your technical difficulties, how frustrating. As a fellow English major I'm also not the most intuitive when it comes to such things! I also agree that change is good! Looking forward to seeing what you have in store for us!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bonjour, lucky-girl-about-to-fly-to-Paris. How are you this morning? Thank you for stopping by. I will be around, and not to far from you since you hail from Seattle!

      Delete
    2. ah....bien sur avec plaisir coughlin19127@yahoo.com....je vous adore-cannot stress enough YES all things french are nice but you are WONDERFUL-thanks for ALL the time and effort i am glad to have made this journey with you!!

      Delete
    3. g. Merci. You got it. You're on the list!

      Delete
  6. Welcome back! As someone who did receive computer instruction in school, I STILL get very frustrated when things don't go well. You are not alone! I am glad Le Husband was able to come to your rescue! I anxiously await the changes FGIS has to offer! Bonne chance! (And I am liking your facebook page...thank you for letting us know!) :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See... If even you get frustrated, well... I clearly don't stand a chance ;-) Thank you for stopping by Katelyn.

      Delete
  7. Welcome back to the blogosphere - nice to see you here again with a charming post as always...greeting from the riviera.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merci Catherine. I hear you have been enjoying lovely weather on the Riviera, lucky girl!

      Delete
  8. Love this piece Véronique ! Almost as much as I loved reading Asterix and Obelisk when I was much much younger.

    Sorry to hear you've been having blogging troubles, I fully sympathize with the issues around Google/Blogger support, which is fairly well inexistant. It's fend for yourself and heaven help the hindmost when things head south. I've heard of people whose blogs have entirely disappeared, or become inaccessible... to the great consternation of their owners. I am worried that this could happen to me too.

    But hey, you pay your money and take your chances, right?

    I've been taking a break from blogging too, but hope we can stay in touch, just from time to time, I'm still thrilled that you liked my little jingle about comments being the icing on blogcake. Take good care, and good luck with all your projects, I'm sure you will throw so much energy into them that you can't help but succeed...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merci beaucoup Owen. Great to hear from you, as always. I noticed you had been spending time away from the blog. Life (and work) happen, and it can be difficult to reconcile everything. Thank you for the vote of confidence. I have lined up quite an ambitious program for spring, and with summer travel in the middle, who knows? Right now, I am hiring a good "IT" person. It is going to take a genius to help me bring my vision to reality for the new website... A bientôt, Monsieur Toad.

      Delete
  9. Dearest Véronique,

    Lovely post and it warmed my heart to read: Idefix... we use the word even in our Dutch language. Lots of French is being absorbed in it.
    Asterix and Obelix of course are very familiar to us.
    Wishing you all the best on your new endeavors and we will 'read' you again.
    Love to you,

    Mariette

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bonjour Mariette. Of course, you know Asterix and Obelix. You hail from "Old Europe" too ;-) I hope you recognized yourself when I mentioned all the blogger friends who tried to help me over the last three weeks. I will not forget your kindness!

      Delete
  10. Please don't stop blogging just I have found you! At least I will have time to catch up on your archives. I fully understand the pull between living our 'real' lives and blogging but I do enjoy the creative outlet starting a blog has given me and all the new 'pen pals' I have met! You are so kind to mention me and link to my blog here. I am looking forward to seeing what you do next. Merci! Nicola

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bonjour Nicola. Not to worry. As I said in the story, I won't be far, just even busier than usual... I started taking my first photography class last night, and let's just say that this is taking me way OUT of my comfort zone-- and there is homework too! I will be back with a new post soon enough... A bientôt!

      Delete
  11. This is a great post V. I feel your pain from time to time with my babies! Bravo pour le husband!!!! And I know dear Nicola as well. Don't you just love her photographs and stories about her family?

    We're so glad to have you back up and running,
    xx
    V

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bonjour V. Well, this is one of the greatest perks of blogging: Making new friends and connecting with wonderful people from all over the world! Thank you for the encouraging words!

      Delete
  12. J'adore the unique way that you've told us about your future plans Veronique and so sorry to hear about your computer probs. You simply cannot be a bigger 'technophobe' than moi! I love change, but definitely not of the technical kind. Aimee get's very frustrated when something changes and I freak out haha! She says 'breath Mum, relax, it'll be ok!!' Enjoy your photography class, I should do one also. I look forward to catching up with you when you pop in now and then. Bonne chance mon ami!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merci, Grace! Glad to hear I am not the only "technophobe" out there ;-) I will be around, and will definitely continue visiting you in Perth!

      Delete
  13. Wow so many exciting things happening in your life AND on the blog!! Yay! The new classes sound like a lot of fun. You're going to definitely kick butt in the writing class because you're very talented. Your blog is honestly one of the only two blogs which I will actually take the time to read the long posts. (The other blog is run by a journalist).

    I'm excited to see your changes. :)

    I'm already your devoted follower here. I think I was your first follower on Facebook, even before you! Hahaha! That's how much I love your blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the vote of confidence, Jenny. I am flattered that you take the time to read all my (looonnnggg...) stories. I know you are a busy lady! I guess we will keep following each other's writing for months to come, as I am a big fan of "Jennifer Fabulous!" - Take care, and see you on FB! ;-)

      Delete
  14. Easy to understand your frustration! ... especially with all the efforts which lie behind your posts! My blog was gone for a day about a year ago. Tried to get some help... no reply... the blog just came back, without any kind of explanation. I know it has happened to others, when the blog has been gone for a week. What I now do is to on a yearly basis make a "book" of my blog. Of course you lose the web contact, but at least you can look back on your own job. I found a site called "SharedBook" and there all you have to do is to give your blog address and a "book" is ready in a few minutes. You can also get it in a non printed form for something like 8$, they send the file within a couple of minutes. Better than a total loss.

    I think you have the same thoughts as many... How much priority should you give to blogging? But one thing is certain, I would like to continue and keep contact with all my blogging friends, whereof many now are much more than virtual! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Peter. Thank you for sharing your unhappy "Blogger stories" with me. I already knew I was not the only one! I love the idea of making a book out of the blog on a regular basis and will look into it. Thank you for suggesting it. Don't worry, I will be around, and will keep visiting your informative blog. When I started mine, in December 2010, Peter's Paris was such an inspiration because your posts were so well researched. Studies show most readers do not have the time to read long stories. You have proved them wrong! It convinced me to go in that direction too. A bientôt, ami Peter!

      Delete
    2. Dear French Girl, You are right about longer or shorter posts... , the shorter I make them, the more comments I get, but somehow I feel that that's "too easy". (In general only some 5-10% of my visitors comment.) Maybe, I also do the posts for myself; it's a way for me to learn about my city. Already, when my posts are long, I have to struggle with myself, not to make them even longer. :-) My next post will be just a photo, let's see how it works! :-)

      Delete
    3. Better make it a GREAT shot, then! A bientot, Peter.

      Delete
  15. Best wishes to you and your new endeavors! I have enjoyed your blog and will continue to read it even if there are some changes in the future.

    ~Melanie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merci beaucoup Melanie. I will be in touch!

      Delete
  16. I grew up with Asterix and Obelix and after this little reminder I think it might be time to reacquaint myself with them.
    Like Nicola I'm a relative newcomer to your site and I love your positive attitude.I intend sticking around to read, as and when you're able to post in the future.
    Good luck with your new ventures!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, a man of taste... It is never too late to reacquaint oneself with Asterix and Obelix, Paul ;-) Thank you for your message. I am glad you will be sticking around.

      Delete
  17. So charming, thanks for the introduction to Asterix and Obelix, will have to read! Glad the tech snafus are resolved! Change is good, I agree....Happy Spring!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome back Suzanne! Happy spring to you also!

      Delete
  18. Oh I am so sorry to hear that you have been having trouble with Blogger! I know how that feels. No bueno. I'm glad to see that everything is back up running though! I have been thinking about my blog and my posting schedule as well - and I think that it's great that life away from your computer/blog is compelling you. Sometimes (at least for me) my life can revolve around my blog too much and I forget that being social doesn't always have to involve social media.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bonjour Amber. Time away from the computer is always a good thing. That is why I am hiring someone to do it for me over the next few months (that, and the fact that I don't really have the skills to do what is needed...) Happy Easter!

      Delete
  19. Hi Veronique. Another entertaining post. And you're so right, Spring is the time of plans and projects. As you know, I'm doing the same. But, I'm not nearly as ambitious as you! wowy you have a lot going on. And you have kids. I feel like a snail compare to you.;) I'm looking forward to your new projects. I always enjoy reading your blog and your view point from a french lady. Bonne chance..bientôt! See you soon my friend. =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping by Sandy. Why is everyone always so busy? I guess it is both a blessing and a curse... My projects are progressing very slowly, but at least I have started taking the photography class... Good luck with yours! Happy Easter!

      Delete
  20. You lead such a fascinating life :) Of course, I would love to know about all your projects. I'm sure that I'll find a lot to learn from you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Olga. I don't know about "fascinating..." ;-) Doing my best to keep learning new things and keep my brain going though ;-)A bientot!

      Delete
  21. I love reading your detailed posts Veronique, but I can understand your situation. Apologies for not leaving comments regularly for some time now. I've been reading your wonderful, long posts, but I'm limiting my time on the computer, and thus tend not to be leaving comments, in desperation of trying to improve my time management. Hopefully life will resume a comfortable rhythm soon so I can leave comments more regularly.
    Bonne chance with your new endeavours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Elizabeth. No apology needed. I totally understand. I know you have your hands full with "les mechants artisans" in France. I hope you can fly over soon and kick some derriere!!! Happy Easter!

      Delete
  22. I am happy you sorted out your blog problems. I look forward to seeing your future posts! Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well thank you very much! Happy Easter to you!

      Delete
  23. I'll be here no matter what Veronique! I hope you had a wonderful Easter celebration and that all your printemps plans bloom hardy and fragrant.
    I can't wait to see what you do next.
    Bisous French amie,
    Aidan xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merci beaucoup Aidan. We spent Easter on the boat (details in the next post!) Bisous a toi aussi.

      Delete
  24. I have finally had the time to sit down and catch up w/you and your Gallic friends (from my childhood, as well). Brought back so many memories. "Je vous remercie beaucoup!" And, may I add that I am always in awe of your command of English. Chapeaux! BTW, so glad "le mari" was able to sort out your computer/blog problems. We are all the richer for it.

    xoxo, M-T

    P.S.: "Au plaisir de faire votre connaissance....."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, merci beaucoup, M.T. ;-) Aren't these two Gaul warriors very special? Julius Cesar and his army did not stand a CHANCE against them ;-) Talking about exceptional Gauls, Le Mari is not half bad either! :-) A bientot!

      Delete

Bonjour! I love hearing from you, my readers. To quote a fellow blogger, my friend Owen, "Comments are the icing on blogcake... Comments are the UFO in the twilight sky bearing news from other planets... Comments are raspberry vinegar in salad dressing... Comments are the cool balm of after-sun moisturizing lotion... Comments are the moment the band comes back out onstage to play an encore... Comments are the gleam in the eye across the room in a smoky bar... Comments are the rainbow after the rainstorm..." Merci for your comments! French Girl in Seattle