Thursday, February 14, 2008
On the first day of Tet (Vietnamese New Year), I went into my backyard to take a photo of whatever was growing in my garden. I was happily surprised to see these gorgeous pink blossoms on my nectarine tree. As I was getting ready to post the photos, I decided to do a little blog hopping first to wish all my friends a Happy New Year. And found out that my friend Christine D.'s dear aunt Cindy had passed away from colon cancer. She was only 32 years old. I've never met Christine, but when her aunt was diagnosed with colon cancer a year ago, I followed her online journal as she underwent chemotherapy, planned her wedding, married her sweetheart, and then struggled with thoughts of death. She was too young. With too much life left to live. With too many people left behind who would miss her. Christine, I'm so sorry for your loss. Anything I say would be inadequate, but I thought of these blossoms to honor your aunt Cindy. I've been thinking a lot about community and connections lately. When I started this blog, I figured I'd share some recipes and some of my favorite restaurants. It seemed easier to have a central repository to direct my friends to instead of retyping a recipe again and again. But somewhere along the way, I formed unexpected connections -- some became real-life friends, but most are people I've never met. When mainstream media occasionally swoops in to write a story about some of the more popular food blogs, they often miss the whole point of blogging in the first place. Sure some people start blogs hoping to get famous, but most food bloggers do it purely out of a love for food and a willingness to share it with others. We're not trying to compete with mainstream media. Although many of the subjects people used to get from newspapers such as politics, sports, celebrity gossip, and food, they now get from blogs. And even though reporters and some cookbook authors now have blogs too, few of them actually engage with readers or other bloggers in the same way. Build a niche. Be unique. Or so goes the advice because everyone and their mother has a blog these days. No one cares if you ate a grilled cheese sandwich? Ah, but I beg to differ. Because over the course of the past year or more, I've discovered that people really do care if I ate a grilled cheese sandwich. Last summer when I was busy entertaining Norwegian cousin and hadn't blogged for weeks, several of you checked in with me to make sure I was OK. Last fall when the wildfires blazed all over Southern California, some of you again checked in to make sure I and my family were alright. Last year when I had just started blogging and whined about being sick in a post for chao (Vietnamese rice porridge), you checked in on me. And because it's Valentine's Day, I just wanted to say that I appreciate all of you -- my blogging friends and regular readers. Your comments and concern really do touch me. It's what keeps me blogging. So thank you. ***** 1 year ago today, chocolate buffet at the Sofitel Plaza Saigon, Vietnam.
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