And the Liebster goes to …

Several days ago, while checking je parle américain’s private messages, I came across a pleasant surprise: je parle américain had been nominated for …

liebster-award-clean

the Liebster Award

A fellow blogger over at Aujourd’hui, j’ai testé (a cool foodie blog on Tumblr) had sent me a sweet message:

I just submitted your blog for the Liebster Award,
cause I love it, you make me smile and (sorry if I’m mistaken)
I think you have less than 200 followers.

I had to go check out what this was all about, and as I made my way through her article, I came across her little review of je parle américain (translated here):

Je parle américain (in English).
The adventures of a forty-something-year-old gay American in Paris.
Absolutely great.

Well, merci beaucoup Nathalie!

Now, I’d never heard of the Liebster Award before, but who doesn’t like getting a message like that from a fellow blogger? And who doesn’t like the opportunity to give an acceptance speech worthy of the Oscars … or more timely, the Tonys? After doing a little research on the Liebster Award, I learned that it’s really a sort of chain letter among bloggers. You get nominated by a fellow blogger and, to accept the nomination, you have to respond to a series of questions, nominate others, and pose questions to them. In a medium like blogging — which is all about sharing and building connections — it seems like a pretty cool award to receive and pay forward, so I had to graciously accept. On top of it, I just love the name; it means “dearest” in German. Okay … so it’s not French, but how cute is that?

My skimpy research effort also indicated that the rules for receiving and passing on the Liebster Award can vary from blogger to blogger, so I’ve tried to follow what seem to be the “best practices.” As a nominee, you must:

1.    Post 11 facts about yourself.
2.    Answer the 11 questions that your nominating blogger posed to you.
3.    Choose 5 other bloggers you like who have fewer than 200 followers, and link to their blogs in your post. (Some nominees choose as many as 11 others.) Keep in mind, too, that a “tag back” (nominating the blogger who nominated you) is considered poor form.
4.    Pose 11 questions to the bloggers you’ve nominated.
5.    Notify your nominees.

So, here goes …

(I’ll try to finish before the orchestra cues up the “cut-it short” music.)

Thank you very much, members of the Academy — especially Nathalie of Aujourd’hui, j’ai testé — for making this moment possible. I never dreamed I’d be on this stage receiving this award, but I am grateful for and flattered by your recognition of my work. I also want to thank WordPress and Ben Martineau for providing the platform and the theme for the blog; countless French bakers for providing both the calories to keep me going and the beautiful creations that have graced the pages of je parle américain; the industrious engineers of the Paris Métro for building a system simultaneously intriguing and frustrating; generations and generations of French people for making the history I often write about; my family, friends, and readers for their love and support — surtout mon merveilleux mari, Michel “Babydog” Pouradier (je t’aime, mon ange) — and last, but certainly not least, the entire French bureaucracy for generously and unfailingly providing so much of my inspiration. You will never know how important you were to the birth of this amazing project! Thank you! Thank you all so very much!

And now for the answers, nominations, and new questions …

PART I
Eleven Facts About Me

1.    je parle américain was the brainchild of Michel “Babydog” Pouradier, who suggested it to me as a personal project to help get me out of a mild depression in the summer of 2011. It worked!

2.    I was born in a small town in South Carolina (Hartsville), and I grew up six miles outside an even smaller nearby town (Bishopville).

3.    I’m an only child.

4.    I studied French for four years in high school, but when I came to live in France in 2010, I didn’t speak it well at all. That’s probably because I also studied German, Turkish, and Arabic in the interim.

5.    I’ve been a vegetarian since November 2004.

6.    I’ve never broken a bone … well, at least not one of my own.

7.    I once thought I was going to become an Episcopal priest. Although that idea is now on the back burner, I’ve never completely removed it from the stovetop.

8.    I want “Gabriel’s Oboe” by Ennio Morricone played at my funeral.

9.    My favorite candy is nougat with pistachios. I also like Lemonheads.

10.   I own lots of cufflinks, but I never wear them.

11.   I dream of going to India for Holi, the festival of colors. Oh, and for the food, too. I love paneer and pakora.

PART II
Eleven Questions Posed by
the Blogger Who Nominated Me
(translated)

1.    If you had to create a blog about a different subject, it would be … a fictional, historical travel blog. I’d write about journeys to famous places, but from the perspective of fictional travelers from various time periods.

2.    Your favorite dish? Paneer chili (see above, #11).

3.    The ingredient you hate? Celery.

4.    A shameful dream? I have to pass on this. It’s too shameful.

5.    Favorite quote? “Yours is the truest dream, because it had immediate effect in your waking life.” — Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī

6.    Your most beautiful childhood memory? Picnicking with my parents in the pine forest behind our home. To me, it always seemed a great adventure.

7.    The greatest proof of love, according to you? To sacrifice one’s own needs to comfort and provide for another.

8.    Your first job? Cashier, stock boy, chicken broaster, and short-order cook at a service station on I-20 near my hometown.

9.    The best quality in a human being? Compassion.

10.   A good book to recommend? The Pillars of the Earth

11.   Did you know about the Liebster Award before now? Not at all!

PART III
My Nominations

Et dryss kanel
(“A sprinkle of cinnamon”)
The wonderful musings of a young Norwegian living in Paris,
who holds a simply beautiful perspective on life.
(in Norwegian and English)

LE MOT DU (BON)JOUR
(“The Word of the (Good) Day”)
The site of a French expat interpreter building her life in the United States
— in my home state to be exact. Full of interesting articles about
French useful to students of the language.

(in French and English)

Conjugating Irregular Verbs
The homey blog of an American expat living a life she
“didn’t even know to wish for.” A great perspective on
daily family life in the South of France.

Tongue in Cheek
The story of an American expat, married to a Frenchman,
now living in France for 25 years.
Simply beautiful. Simply poetic.

Letters from Marseille
“An adventuresome couple, not your average AARP seniors”
who also just happen to be my friends. A sometimes quirky,
sometimes sensitive diary of some extraordinary grandparents
who came to France to live a dream.

A Landscape Selected at Random
The blog of an American expat English teacher,
who writes about her “life in France, cultural differences,
teaching, languages, and lots of other random things.”

The Perpetual Passenger
The writings of a New England girl who packed her bags
and “headed to France to carve out a home
and a career in the City of Lights.”

French Girl in Seattle
Stories with a “French twist” from a French expat
in the Pacific Northwest. She’s got more than 200 followers,
but there’s a reason for that, so that’s why I recommend her!

Okay, so that was more than 5. I couldn’t stop myself.

PART IV
My Questions for the Nominees

1.    What’s the first substantial thing you have a clear memory of writing?

2.    What’s your guilty pleasure?

3.    Sun or moon?

4.    Coffee or tea?

5.    Who’s your favorite writer (fiction, non-fiction, contemporary, 1000 years old, whatever genre and period you decide)?

6.    Your first celebrity crush?

7.    Have you ever written a book? If so, what is it? If not, and you could do it, what would be the subject?

8.    What destination is at the top of your dream vacation list?

9.    What infuriates you more than anything else?

10.   What makes you smile more quickly than anything else?

11.   If you had to live during any other period of history, which one would you pick?

Thanks again for the nomination, Nathalie!
And thanks to all my readers for supporting je parle américain.
To my nominees, pay it forward, y’all!

LiebsterAward

© 2013 Samuel Michael Bell, all rights reserved

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5 thoughts on “And the Liebster goes to …

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