When I started this Martini Friday blog back in June of 2013, I did so to help one of my literacy students. I was working with a group called Literacy Volunteers and my student was a woman about my age who had a very different life experience from my own. She was born and raised in Taiwan where she attended college. She later moved to New England with her husband and eventually opened several Chinese restaurants in the Bangor area. Over the years she had learned to communicate verbally in her adopted language and had even written a small booklet comparing American and Chinese culture. She wanted to expand on that theme and try to write articles for the local newspaper and perhaps even a book on Chinese holistic medicine. That was a task that I felt, and she agreed, would require a greater command of American English writing skills than she currently possessed. I suggested that she start a blog as a way to learn how to put her Chinese thoughts into writing that would tell her story to an American audience.
Problem was I was only vaguely aware of the blogging process myself. I realized that if I was going to be of any real help to my student I would need to do some research. After investigating various blogging websites, I decided to jump in with both feet and signed up with WordPress.com. I wanted to get a feel for how it worked and so I created my own “about page” and a short blog titled “Moving to Maine”. I figured I could show it to my student at our next session and then help her set up her own blog. She could practice writing brief articles with the help of the online spell and grammar check and we could go over them during our weekly meetings. I never intended to have my own blog. I was merely interested in helping my student to organize her thoughts and put them on paper in a way that would make sense to the intended audience. My student never did start a blog, but less than three years later, here I am at my computer penning my 100th Martini Friday blog.
What started out as a way to help my Literacy Volunteer student, has become an outlet for me to challenge myself. The words I want to use don’t come as easily as they did when I was younger. Sometimes I need to look things up, to refresh my memory of past experiences, and to verify that the story I am telling is honest and accurate. It can be difficult to discuss my insecurities or own up to the mistakes I have made in the past. But I think most would admit that if you don’t recognize your shortcomings, you can’t grow as a person. I’ve discovered that writing this blog has helped me to exercise my brain and that is something that is just as important as physical exercise as we age. And, although it was not part of any plan when I started, I now realize that this blog is a legacy of sorts for my children and possibly future generations. A way for them to understand me a bit better and connect with their own past.
Martini Fridays is a tradition established more than a decade ago by me and husband. It was a way for us to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of daily living, share a cocktail (always a Martini on Friday) and discuss the week’s stories, lessons, and challenges. Just to be with each other and know that we are loved. It has grown over the years as friends and family have heard about it and wanted to share the experience with us. And we have, all over the world. It seemed only natural that I name my blog Martini Fridays. We have probably celebrated Martini Friday nearly a thousand times over the years. So I think it only right to raise a toast to celebrate blog number 100, on this Friday with a Martini in hand. Cheers!