A blog birthday

Today is a special day for Vocabat–she turns one year old. One year ago today, I wrote a post titled ¡Conchudo!, and then I just kept at it. I don’t remember exactly when I got the idea to start a blog, but I know I’d had the secret longing to do so for a while. Although I was deliriously in love at the time, I was also swamped in loneliness. I was living in a new city and working from home. I didn’t have coworkers, didn’t have an office to go to, and I never even met my boss, Edgar. We just communicated though email. So there I was, asphyxiated by quiet for about 12 hours every day, slowly despairing and breaking down in that apartment that became a cell. A self-made prison, absolutely, self-chosen and self-perpetuated. Still, I didn’t know how to break out of that crushing solitude. Blogging became a very welcome release. A few months later, I made a difficult decision and left, breaking up with my boyfriend and returning to the U.S. Somehow, I kept writing. Amidst all the upheaval of the last year, this at least has been one constant. What by all appearances is just a silly little language blog has always meant more to me than I let on. It certainly hasn’t been the easiest year for me. This next year will be much better, though, thank God; I’ve made sure of it.

So, where has Vocabat been? Let’s consider this past year from the standpoint of numbers. Here are some basic stats.

I’ve had almost 20,000 visitors in all–19,591 to be exact. Not too shabby for my first year.

The top locations of my readers and visitors

1- United States
2- Colombia
3- Argentina
4- United Kingdom
5- Canada
6- Mexico
7- Spain
8- Peru
9- Chile
10- Australia

I’ve had visitors from 118 countries. Here’s the map, although I’ve noticed that it doesn’t indicate visitors I’ve had from China and Cuba. Sometimes visitors come from countries I’ve never even heard of such as Brunei Darussalam or Saint Kitts and Nevis. I wonder if the one visitor from Guam will remember to say tumbar, colaborar, and no se pierde la corrida de un catre during his upcoming trip to Colombia. Did the two visitors from Uganda laugh at my jokes? What were the four visitors from Slovakia aching to say in the comments they forgot to leave me? I wonder how many people that I know read it. As language blogs go, it’s rather confessional.

The most popular posts on Vocabat

1- Bats in Colombian Spanish Far and away my most popular post, just look at the searches to understand why. I guess when Gutiérrez called Betty a chimbilá, I wasn’t the only one left scratching my head. 
2- Cartoon characters in Spanish, Part Two A return to childhood (albeit brief) is always wonderful and exhilarating. 
3- Greetings in Colombian Spanish  If you only have the time to learn one thing excellently, I suggest that you master the greeting.
4- Cartoon characters in Spanish, Part One In which I got to sneak lines remembered from The Smurfs movie in Spanish (which I saw with my ex) into a blog post and call it educational.
Mitt Romney’s son speaking Spanish Everyone loves a rival.
6- ¿Me toca o me toco? Everyone also loves embarrassing stories happening to other people, especially if sex is involved in any way.
Punctuation marks in Spanish A surprise hit. 
Slippery Spanish: Fashion, history and language This post drained me of every last ounce of time and energy, but it was all worth it in the end.
9- Breaking Up with Colombian Spanish A sad and painful post that I’m a little surprised I was even capable of writing. I think I just needed to shamelessly ask my readers (as well as everyone else in my life) to love up on me a little. 
10- Valentine’s Day in Colombia? Not feeling the love Maybe I struck a chord with a lot of lonely hearts out there.

The most frequent search terms

1- chimbila
2- vocabat
3- spanish cartoon characters
4- chimbila animal
5- los increibles
6- chimbilas
7- diccionario de la real academia española
8- chimbilaco
9- colombian greetings
10- spanish punctuation marks

I’ve written eighty posts, which comes to about a post and a half a week. I’ve received comments from sixty different people.

Just as many people who keep a diary will periodically reread it, I’ve just reread all my old posts to remember this past year. How things have changed! How everything has changed. Some of the changes have been vast improvements that were necessary and desired, and others still make me somewhat sad when I dwell on them. Pero bueno. No hay vuelta de hoja. 

Some of my favorite posts have been Pardon me, but I think I’m in love with your Spanish; Flowery Spanish; Cowtalk; and García Márquez’ Ten Favorite Words in Cien años de soledad.

I want to write a post soon about where this blog is going, but first I just wanted to share an outline of where it’s been. I’m just getting warmed up blogging-wise, and I am bursting with ideas to share with you in year two. I also have several pointed questions to ask and feedback I’d like to solicit. Well, let’s celebrate my first year! Tonight I’m going to ring in the new blogging year by doing what I love most–I’m going salsa dancing. Whatever you do, feel free to raise your beer or glass of wine or cup of chicha or whatever in my direction. Thanks so much for reading this year! My fantastic readers make Vocabat hands down the coolest Spanish blog around. Muchísimas gracias.

26 responses to “A blog birthday

  1. 你好!我來自中國,是你的忠實粉絲 (¡Hola! Soy de China y tu mayor seguidor :) Now you’ve got a visitor from China (although he’s not physically “in” China ;-)


    • Thanks, Charles! I’m so gratified to have the Chinese support.

      I have received visits from China (I know this from an outside visitor tracker), but for some reason it doesn’t register on the WordPress stats. It doesn’t matter, of course, but as China is such a large country, it would color a large part of that map and get me closer to my goal of having it completely yellow :)


  2. So proud of you Katie! You always put a smile on my face and in my heart reading your blog. Felicidades, mi hijita !,


  3. ¡Felicidades!


  4. Feliz compleaños!!!! I didn’t realize your blog is around the same age as mine. Gracias por tu ayuda, tu humor, y tus habilidades en enseñar español. Se que puedo hablar español mejor por leer tu blog. Felicidades por todo!


  5. Hi Katie,

    My husband also found working alone from home to be not as great as he thought it would be. He left that job and went back to an office after 3 months.

    Your blog is awesome! I enjoy reading it and learning such delightful and insightful bits of information from you! I’m looking forward to hearing more!



  6. whatwhileweslept

    Feliz compleaños, vocabat. I’m completely proud of you & this impressive endeavour. WOW. :)


  7. ¡Mis felicitaciones a mi amiga Katie!

    Se nota que le ponés mucho empeño a tu blog. Chapeau.

    Y a mí particularmente me encanta leer tu inglés extravagante :)



    • Muchas gracias, amigo mío. Sin lectores como vos, este blog no tendría ningún sentido ni una razón de ser.

      Me agrada que vos te hubieras percatado de mi extravagancia :)


  8. Hi Katie, just to say how much I enjoy reading about the adventures of Vocabat (even though Spanish is not on my agenda at the moment). mark


  9. Happy vocabatversary :) I’ve switched to Italian recently, so I don’t visit you blog much, but I plan to catch up with your posts at some point ;)


    • Thank you! Oh, I so envy you for learning Italian. I just finished reading a novel by Alberto Moravia, and it made me really want to learn that beautiful language.


      • And I envy you your motivation. Right now I am at a very frustrating stage when I keep buying diverse (very useful!) Italian materials by deluding myself that these are exactly what I need to resume learning in earnest only to discover later that what I really need is motivation to learn systematically…

        By the way, do you receive some kind of email notification of new blog comments telling you exactly which posts have been commented on, or do you just periodically check the newest posts?


        • Oh my! I do the very same thing! I have so many Spanish materials, and yet I can’t seem to sit down and systematically learn. Please let me know if you find the secret to this! I need to resume learning in earnest too.


          • Oh no! OK, I’ll think about this and try to devise a “secret”. And then I’ll share it with you! I know that this is only all too common, and it creates a lot of frustration and even self-loathing. It’s terrible! But don’t worry; I’m on it.


          • My way of keeping myself motivated used to be to write regular blog entries at lang-8.com (cool site, by the way). This meant that I had to search for new words and expressions to express what I had in mind. Sadly, I neglected this. I guess I’ll need to resume blogging there (I keep repeating that to myself… ). The only problem was I preferred researching for and writing the entries to analyzing the corrections. This was kinda counterproductive as I usually ended up making the same mistake over and over again (which I could have easily avoided if I had only spent more time analyzing the suggestions left by native speakers).


            • I have the exact same problem! I glance at the corrections but then usually forget them immediately. And then I make the same mistakes over and over. I’m always telling myself that one of these days I’m going to get a notebook and write down and study all the corrections I’ve received over the years, but I never do :(

              But, yes, I concur that Lang-8 is wonderful. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Hey, it even introduced me to a wonderful boyfriend. Even though we’re no longer together, I will always be grateful for our time together.


        • Yes, I used to be in that stage with Portuguese. Finally I was honest with myself and confessed that I just didn’t want to learn it, at least not yet. And I left the mountain of books I’d accumulated with my ex in Colombia.

          I leave myself logged on to WordPress, and when I come to the page, there is a comment symbol that turns orange when there are new comments. On the comment page, I can see all of them and directly leave a response. (Or edit the comments or even delete them. HA! As the queen, I have full commenting powers. As mere peons, you guys are at my mercy. However, I like to treat the serfs well and keep them happy ;) )

          But, tell me. How do YOU find out that I’ve responded to a comment? I’ve always wondered. Do you just come back periodically and check the posts? Or do you get an email?


  10. I usually just hover here and, as I usually remember where I posted a comment, I know where to search for an answer ;) There is an email notification option, as you’ve probably noticed, but I don’t use it.

    By the way, it’s very kind of you to actually take time to respond to each comment :)


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