Friday, May 6, 2011

When the Virtual Village Goes Live

I love my virtual village. I have met so many amazing people through the online community and I am thankful for each and every one of you (Well, except you. You know who you are.).

But as much as I love hanging out on the interwebs, nothing really beats spending time with someone. Brackets are not equal to real hugs. Virtual wine and coffee are not equal to real wine and coffee. And while I've had some great conversations 140 characters at a time, they don't beat a face to face chat.

So about a month ago when my bloggy friend Katie McNemar (who guest posted for me here) contacted me about getting together with her and Tony Alicea, I could not pass up that opportunity.

I was really stoked about meeting these two because my online interactions with them have been so fantastic. They are both funny, caring, delightful people. When I found out that they were a couple, I was just thrilled, because, well, they're both funny, caring, delightful people and it's nice when folks like that hook up. I would have wanted to meet either of them anyway, so seeing them at the same time and as a couple was a bit of a bonus in my book.

When I got to Katie's house, I was met with a giant hug from just about one of the cutest people ever. Katie started introducing me to people in her family like we were long-time friends. Made it across the room and got to hug my now close, personal friend Tony (who is, as he claimed, a pretty awesome hugger).

We had a really fantastic evening. We sat with Katie's friends and family, sharing stories, drinking wine and beer, and laughing and laughing and laughing. From stories about Katie's gas-stealing days to Tony being sentenced to five minutes in the hoodie of shame, I don't know if a smile left my face all night long. Honestly, the three hours I spent with them was entirely too short and I hope that they don't object to me inviting myself down if Tony makes the trip to WV again.

I know that there are folks who question the validity of online friendships as compared to flesh and blood friendships. But this meeting proved to me again that the relationships that I have online are very real. I could not have been so at ease with these people if we didn't already have a friendship established online. I did know Tony and Katie so meeting them was just adding bodies to people who were already friends. I hope to have more opportunities to bring my virtual village into living color, but even if we never get to hug in person, know that I really do consider you my friend (again, except for YOU.).

Alise stands between Katie & Tony to help keep them pure.

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Have you ever met any online folks in real life? And are you feeling totally neurotic right now thinking that I don't really like you?

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