If you know me in person (or maybe if you’ve been reading this blog for a little while) you won’t be surprised that today’s prompt was the one that made me the most nervous.
I’m pretty introverted in real life, but also confident enough in my ability to just be on my own, that I rarely feel the need to reach out and make new friends or surround myself with people. In fact, I was looking at my orientation and induction timetable for my start at uni, and the only thing I was nervous about was the meeting of new people and what they would be like.
Meanwhile, in my online life I’m actually just quite aware of how small a fish I am in such a big pond. I find it hard to justify reaching out to any of the bloggers I follow and admire, because if im honest I find it hard to see what I could offer any of them as a friend or acquaintance!
Moreover, unlike the other posts which could, in a pinch, be written up on the day of the prompt, recycling old photos if necessary (as has probably become far too apparent in my posts so far!) this task required some forethought.
Now, what I always try to explain to people is that I’m not against meeting new people and making friends, but that if the friendship is going to happen it is just going to happen. It’s not going to need facilitation through ice breaker exercises and mingling games and fake smiles. In the end, I do make new friends and deep connections, but they maybe happen more slowly than for a lot of more outgoing people.
I’ve been following Amey’s blog, for a while now. In fact, Vegan Eats & Treats may be one of the first blogs I stumbled upon when I first started looking for vegan food inspiration, before I really knew anything about the world of blogging. Since I entered my email address into the subscription box, I have come to love Amey’s blog more and more.
I love that in a sea of recipe bloggers offering polished recipes thoroughly tested and expertly styled and photographed, among a growing body of individuals striving to monetise their blogs, in a world where bloggers increasingly expect freebies in return for gushing reviews, Amey’s blog is a beacon of personality, of simple pleasures, of friends and family and love – and the most gorgeous pets!
When you read Vegan Eats & Treats you don’t just get to live and breathe the adventures of Amey and “Mr. VE&T”, but also those of fur babies Stevie Wonder, Dottie Bonkers and Snoopy Snoppy (all three of the doggie variety), Yummers Potatoes and Francisco “Footie” FootFoot (the kitty cats). I love how they all have their distinct habits and preferences, and are whole and equal members of the family. All the human and non-human animals come to life through the most expressive “doodles” throughout the blog.
I love the sound of all the fun (food-related) gatherings Amey and her friends partake in. I love the idea of celebrating a totally different culture’s holidays, of organising themed pot-lucks, and of cooking multiple fun dishes for a special occasion… But as I am far too non-committal for any of that, I am grateful to have Vegan Eats & Treats to live vicariously through!
When Amey commented on my post about Vivani chocolates agreeing that they were out-of-this-(vegan)-world and added that she wished she could get chocolates like that in the U.S., I was only too eager to offer to send her some. Chocolate is a special kind of love that should be spread far and wide. Amey was equally eager to accept my offer, and kindly offered to send me a box of U.S. treats in return – yay friends!
I can’t tell you what will be going in my parcel to Amey as it will be a top secret surprise, and it will get its very own post after MoFo. But I can tell you that Amey likes hazelnuts and doesn’t love mushrooms. She, like Ben, is a fan of the Goody Good Stuff sweets and, like Ben, is particularly fond of the cola bottles. If you don’t hear from me again… it’s because I got caught siphoning a packet out of his stash!
I love food swaps so much – you might remember how much fun I had with the UK Vegan Food Swap – and I’m so excited for an international food swap. I can’t wait to tell you all more about it.
This is such a perfect example of how social media can be turned into a positive tool. It is true that our society can a little obsessed with being connected all the time, that social media can encourage and facilitate lifestyle-shaming on a greater scale, that it does allow people to hide behind their keyboards. But, as with most things in life, social media is what we make of it. We can choose not to engage in debates that are likely to result in nothing but frustration and aggression, we can choose not to follow accounts that offend us, we can choose not to click through to clickbait sites. And we can choose only to comment when we have something positive to say, we can choose to be open and generous with our compliments, we can choose to make every connection meaningful.
Although this particular connection happened without MoFo, I love that this event will have helped other bloggers like me connect, and I can’t wait to read everyone’s stories!