It’s interesting to me that so many of my favourite bloggers are in eastern Europe. Romania is no surprise as I know the country well and speak the language. Latvia is more of a surprise as before coming upon the blog by chance I knew little of the country. The same can be said of Slovenia, though I had visited before when it was part of Yugoslavia. The blogger in Poland is no surprise; he’s a ‘tyke’, not so grumpy but the only male in this small band. So what do they have in common?

I’m finding it difficult to answer that question but I’m going to explore a few of them ‘out loud’ here and see if the answer comes.

Latvia

I can’t mention all the Romanian ones, which as I said are no surprise, so I’ll begin in Latvia. Ilze is a Latvian mum who lives in ‘the forest’ (common in a way with tyke Eddy in Poland) with her three delightful little daughters and husband. She just blogs every day about what she and/or the family has been up to – cooking simple meals, DIY, celebrating a Latvian holiday, going to the circus, just going for a walk, craft work at which she seems to excel (DIY too!). Ilze, formerly an IT manager, is a bit of an entrepreneur, currently making handmade greetings cards for companies. I feel privileged to be allowed to drop in on this loving family each day through her blog and I always feel a little better for having done so.

Poland

I first encountered ‘Eddy’ in the early days of him building a strawbale house in the wilds of eastern Poland, having moved there with his Polish wife Gosia. At the time I had done an ‘away day’ (team building day) with a noted UK strawbale building expert and was considering doing the same in Romania so the combination of tyke and straw was irresistible. Since then the family has grown by one (the human family that is) with another on the way. Now I’m tied as I use the natural soaps produced by Gosia for everything – washing, showering, shampooing and shaving. All the costly sprays and lotions have been thrown out and my wife says my skin feels wonderful. Easy to travel light and a big advantage when flying – no liquids. If you want to try the soaps go to:

Gosia’s soaps

Romania

I have been in love with Romania, its people, its culture and its food, from not long after I went there in 1993 so, as I said, it’s not surprising that a few Romanian bloggers get into my list.

A fairly recent one with whom I feel a special affinity is Iulia, an English teacher in Bucharest. It’s not because she is an English teacher as I was for much of my time in Romania, it’s about the poetry and prose she writes – in English – on her blog and, leading from that the relationship which has developed through corresponding with her (and indirectly with her husband) off the blog.

Unlike Iulia, Monica – also living in Bucharest – blogs in both English and Romanian – I ignore the first unless I’m ‘stuck’ as it’s good practice for my Romanian. What she does have in common with Iulia is being an entrepreneur although she’s only 18 years old, younger than that when I first began to follow her. It was that entrepreneurial spirit in someone so young which first attracted me to her blog, then the haiku she writes, a form of which I’m enamoured and try to write, her love of her father and her blogging of his poetry (often about love) and finally her book about being an adolescent, which is truly astounding.

There are one or two others but this post would get too long. Maybe I’ll do a post in the future about other Romanian bloggers who post in English or both English and Romanian.

Slovenia

Kristina in Slovenia is rather different to the others but she is an English teacher and a writer with one book of a trilogy published and the second in progress (when she can put down the one she is currently reading – a true bookworm, which I have rather grown out of). What attracted me to her blog? Probably that she is a strong advocate for women, which I hope I have been for most of my adult life (in fact it was initially one reason for setting up my grumpytyke blog).

Pioneers

What have all the above in common? The only thing I can identify is that they are all, in their own way, pioneers. And, despite never having met them (a couple of near misses with Eddy) I regard them as friends. That will have to do.

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