Meeting Anka

131221 FB post nathan

My most bittersweet journey to date was made with a friend I’d first known as a sequence of blinking green letters on a black screen.

In 1993, Nathan and I started chatting on local bulletin boards before meeting up in person and becoming in fast friends. In 2008, with many years of history between us, he drove me and my newborn son up to Oregon say goodbye to my dying mom.

Nathan was my first online friend to become an offline friend, but I’ve made many more in the 21 years since then. In fact, almost all of my Los Angeles friendships began as virtual ones.

Soon, there shall be better Mackorah pictures to share! (What, you really think "Bennifer" is better?)

Mackenzie and I met thanks to our affection for the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer; she has been a rock to me since almost the moment we met.

Maggie and I first blog-bonded over our common love of Gandalf before she introduced me to her high school girlfriends, who adopted me as one of their own; I thanked two of them in this shout-out to teachers.

It was Maggie who introduced me to my now husband shortly before I moved to Japan. My second son was born ten years to the day after that meeting.

To say I’m open to beginning friendships online is an understatement. Life as I love it now would not exist but for friendships begun as meetings of the mind later cemented by kinship of the heart confirmed in living, breathing color.

Not all online friendships are meant to be enduring offline ones, and that’s OK. The prospect of maybe an hour’s awkwardness is a reasonable exchange for the possibility of the spark that says, “Twenty years down the road, we’ll remember this meeting with smiles and wonder where all those years went!”

I’ve loved Anka’s words since the very first ones I read a couple years ago. There’s music in them, but it’s not an empty music–not pretty words hiding dearth of heart or soul. Strength shines abundant in how she shares her vulnerability, wisdom in how she balances revealing and concealing, love in the tenderness with which she describes her family, her life, and her dreams. I’m captivated by her words.

I got the feeling she was somewhat private and maybe didn’t want her online and offline worlds to merge. Without consciously realizing I’d done so, I nixed even the possibility of asking if she’d like to meet up after I realized we’re virtually neighbors until a few weeks ago. “The worst she’ll do is say no!” I told myself. I messaged her.

We arranged to meet via a couple short tweets. I was excited to meet her, even while cautioning myself not to let my expectations exceed my hopes.

And then we met, and she was every bit as lovely as I’d imagined; her words had perfectly reflected the brilliant soul originating them.

anka and littlerShe held my baby, Littler J, through our entire two-hour meeting over coffee.

It felt like we were picking up where we left off instead of meeting for the first time, and our conversation showed it. The only problem was that two hours wasn’t nearly enough. There was so much to talk about that’s better for live conversation than blog, and only a portion of that could fit into one morning’s coffee.anka three

We parted ways with so many topics left to touch on, so many more memories and anecdotes yet to share. I didn’t want to part, and yet, it wasn’t as hard as it could have been …

… because as we parted over hugs, I could already feel our 2034 selves laughing about how much we tried to fit into the first two hours of our in person friendship.

 

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  1. December 5, 2014 at 10:47 am

    I’ll be sure to let you know if ever I’m in … um … San Francisco? LA? Somewhere thereabouts, anyway! And you tell me if you’re going to be in Washington. I would love to meet you for coffee…:)

    • December 6, 2014 at 8:04 am

      My younger sister moved to Portland a couple of months ago and another girlfriend just moved to Washington, so I should be up that way at least a couple of times a year! I would love to get coffee one of those times. 🙂

      • December 7, 2014 at 6:16 pm

        Sounds good. I’m in Eastern Washington, but totally up for a road trip if you give me a bit of warning…:)

  2. December 5, 2014 at 11:56 am

    You’re much braver than me. How wonderful you’ve forged such wonderful friendships through blogging, both online and off!

    • December 6, 2014 at 8:08 am

      I’m glad to have started testing these waters at 15, and also for my days working at the YMCA. If I’d waited much longer (thus not establishing fond precedent early on) and/or not known the kindliness of “my” YMCA swimmers, my age-increasing introversion would’ve led me down very different roads! These two things together help me balance my desire to sit in a quiet place all the time against the sweet possibility of meeting people who’ll brighten many days ahead. 🙂

  3. December 5, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Hooray for bloggy friends!

  4. December 5, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    How absolutely lovely. I am in awe at your courage, and so very glad that melding your on and off line personas has been such a success.

    • December 6, 2014 at 8:09 am

      There were a few rough patches early on (notably among them, a stalker), but since then … it’s been almost completely a joy!

  5. December 6, 2014 at 8:02 am

    I never even thought of such a possibility since I rarely hear of other bloggers in NH. That would be fun though, to know local bloggers who share common interests.

    • December 6, 2014 at 8:10 am

      I know some people think it’s weird to meet online initially (Nathan’s dad was among them, heh), but it makes more sense to me in some ways. Rather than developing kinship based primarily on location, the blogosphere allows us to connect based on interests and spirit … and then celebrate physical proximity in the case where that’s present, too! 🙂

  6. December 7, 2014 at 7:53 am

    I am with you, I have met some of my on-line blogger friends in person and been grateful for those meetings. The common threads that forge our bonds are wonderful. One of these days someone will drag me kicking and screaming over the line of California (probably for a project) and will beg you for comfort.

    ❤ 😉 ❤

  7. December 8, 2014 at 1:02 am

    Reblogged this on Yair Shalev.

  1. January 30, 2016 at 12:12 pm

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