August 18, 2008

La Gringa's email policy

red ginger, La Ceiba, Honduras
Whoever would have thought that La Gringa in La Ceiba, Honduras, would need an official email policy? ;-)

First of all, I want to say that I do enjoy hearing from (almost) :-o all of the Blogicito readers. I have to qualify that because, well, this is the internet and it takes all kinds. If it didn't take all kinds, I wouldn't receive 20 or so spams each day offering to enlarge my (nonexistent) instrument.

I have until recently answered every email that seems to require an answer or just out of courtesy even if it didn't seem to need a reply. Hey, when someone writes to say that he enjoys or has been helped by my Blogicito or has been inspired to start his own blog, that makes my day, so I always write back to say thanks.

I've also made some good friends through email correspondence, but that is not to say that I always will be able to answer every email. Some days I do almost nothing else and something has to give! Lately, even before my recent maladies, my friends are waiting a week or more for a response while I'm spending time answering emails from strangers! Not to mention that El Jefe would like me to get away from the computer at least occasionally.

So, just in case you don't get an answer from me, if you have a serious interest in Honduras, some suggestions that I have for you are:

1. Join our Honduras Living Yahoo group. It's a high volume group with a lot of Honduras-knowledgeable people (expatriates and Hondurans) who will give you the straight scoop. It's always better to get several opinions rather than just one anyway.

2. Read my blog! You can use the Topics in the sidebar to narrow down the articles which interest you. Use the search function in the upper left hand corner or the Google search box at the top of the sidebar for other specific things you have questions about.

3. Check out the other Honduran expatriate blogs in the links section at the top. Next to living in a country (which you should do on a trial basis!), I know of no better way to learn about real life from the expatriate viewpoint. Expatriate blogs from other Latin American countries often write about the same challenges that we experience here in Honduras, too.

4. Do some internet research. If you are looking for a hotel or other touristy type things, I'm not going to be of much help for you anyway. Honduras Tips is a good place to start looking for answers to those questions. Keep in mind, though, that MANY of the Honduran-related websites are not kept up-to-date.

5. Try to be specific in your questions. If I know the answer, I'll give it to you or at least my opinion if I have one, but please consider how much time it will take to answer your question. You'll probably get a 5-minute answer for a specific question, but might not for something that requires an hour-long dissertation.

I can't and won't answer questions like "What is it like living in Honduras?" I have a blog with almost 800 articles for that. There is just no way that I can summarize "life in Honduras" in an email or rewrite my previous articles for every person who asks, and honestly, I think it is a little lazy on the part of anyone who asks me to do so.

Often people write to me with comments about a blog article. Some have problems signing on, don't have a Google ID or OpenID, are just shy, or want to be anonymous. If I receive an email that I think will be interesting, funny, or helpful in some way to other readers, I reserve the right to post it anonymously on my blog. I also occasionally post emailed questions (also anonymously) to the Honduras Living forum if it is a question for which I have no answer.

When doing so, I ALWAYS remove any names, email addresses, or even the name of the country from which it came if I think it is appropriate. Heck, I once even removed a dog's name, just in case. ;-)

So, if you trust my judgment, keep writing. If you don't, ...well, then I would have to ask, why are you writing me to start with? Conversely, when someone writes a rude, demanding, obscene, or intrusive email, I reserve the right to post the whole thing on my blog, including your email address. Who is the judge of what is rude? When it comes into MY inbox, it's me.

One last thing: A simple thank you is always appropriate when someone (me!) has taken her personal time to help a stranger (you). If I have answered or attempted to answer your questions, please at least let me know that you have received my email. It will encourage me to continue responding to others' questions. I couldn't tell you the number of times I've spent an hour or more answering detailed questions and the person NEVER WROTE BACK to say thank you. Yes, it takes all kinds.

Sorry if this sounds a little grumpy. I don't mean for it to, it is just that people need to understand that I am NOT a Honduran information desk, it isn't my job to answer your questions, and I don't get paid for this. Keeping that in mind, I'm sure that we'll get along just fine! I'm not selling anything but if you want to show your appreciation by checking out my Amazon wish list, click Presents! above. "Thank yous" really inspire me; presents will inspire me even more. ;-D

I really, really hope this doesn't come across the wrong way. It isn't that I don't want to help you, but honestly, I do not know if the property you found on the internet is a good deal, whether your husband is going to cheat on you, whether you can find a job (probably not), or whether you will be happy living in Honduras or not.

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