As I was saying, we just got home from a grand trip out to California to visit my sister and mother. I hope to share a bit more about the trip soon, but as Jen went and wrote some lovely things on her blog, I wanted to share a bit about our Monday-night visit, too.
Because, you see, I got to meet Jen (of one plus two), someone who I have long admired (or perhaps hero-worshipped) from afar. Since I won’t be able to go to BlogHer, where Jen and other fine bloggy folks will be gathering next month, and since Jen will be moving to Belize in a few short months, I felt compelled to make the effort to stalk Jen in person while I had the chance. Happily, she was open to being stalked, and even invited us over for dinner.
Jen is just as warm and beautiful and down-to-earth and magnificent as you might gather from reading her blog. And M and J were equally wonderful and charming. But I got to learn more than that. Jen is also a damn fine cook, and served up some tasty gnocchi with home-made pesto, some fantabulously delicious oven-roasted vegetables, and garlic bread made from bread that she baked herself. The littler diners were served a classic grilled cheese dinner (crust removed upon request) and a big bowl of strawberries. (Phoebe may have eaten more than a few strawberries.)
Ten o’clock rolled around before we noticed, with our little ones romping and cavorting around us, up well past their bed-times. We stayed later than we’d planned, caught up in comfortable conversations, sitting on the living room floor. We talked about life and work: kids and travel and family, friends and blogging and bloggy friends, non-profits and language and disaster recovery. And a dozen other topics that I can’t even recall.
This was the first time I have met someone in person who I’d previously only known online. It wasn’t at all awkward, though. Instead, it felt like we were old friends, just picking up the conversation where we’d left off last. Even though, before this meeting, I could have passed Jen on the street without ever recognizing her.
I’ve thought quite a bit recently about the distinction people sometimes make between online friends and real-life friends. I’ve realized that the distinction is remarkably fuzzy, because the people behind the blogs I read are unquestionably real people. The joys and pains and tidbits they live and share are real, and they affect me in real ways. Through our conversations, the friendships become real.
Of course, it’s hard to beat the pleasure of getting together with friends in person. Especially when there is real food involved. (So I hope to meet more of you out there, too. I might even cook.)