Virtual Friends

It is a brave new world out there.  As with most of my posts, I am going to go back to my childhood to recall what it was like then.  I am not old but things really were so different then.  Every year or two, we would take a vacation that did not involve going to Arizona to visit my grandparents.  A lot of these vacations involved camping in nearby states.  Camping was loading up the tent, coolers full of food, a wash basin, a couple of 20 gallon jugs of water.  We would go deep into the mountains and camp in ‘rough’ sites.  Rough sites are those that have a port-a-potty set up.  And that’s it.  You may have a fire ring left by the previous campers, but that is all.  Sometimes, we would be camping near other families and campers are a friendly lot.  We would share dinner, the adults would drink around the fire, the kids would run wild.  It was a pretty great way to vacation.  I made friends almost every year when we were camping.  Could I tell you the names of any of them?  No.  I probably don’t even have pictures of them.  We had exchanged addresses and promised to write.  It never happened.

Now, I have the opposite.  I am friends with a group of people I have never met.  And probably never will.  I don’t know any of their faces and only some of their names.  We are in a group on Ravelry , a social media site for yarn craft.  On Ravelry, people are known only by their Rav names and their Ravatar.  Most people do not have photos of themselves as their Ravatars. If they are anything like me, they do anything to prevent a photo of themselves being used on the web.  Over the course of this calendar year, we have come together with the goal of finishing 12 objects of any kind during the year of 2012.  What has happened in addition to the challenge of completing these 12 projects is a lot of support, sharing, chatter and friendship.  We had a gift exchange in July where we got to know one another better and sent gifts across the world.  I received an amazing package from Great Britain full of British stuff including London 2012 bracelets in the colors of the Olympic Rings.  Now, one of us is newly expecting.  This has set off a frenzy of plotting and planning.  I won’t talk about it here in case she is reading.

I am able to be friends with people in Turkey, New Zealand, Sweden, Canada, Ireland, Chicago, San Fran… all over the world.  We can stay in touch and provide support constantly.  We laugh, we cry, we know so much about each other.  These ladies are some of the best people I have ever known. But I could pass them in the street and not have any idea who it was.  The world is so much smaller now than it was when I was a child.  The distance of 50 miles was too much to overcome for the friends I met on vacation when I was growing up.  Now, the distance of thousands of miles is nothing.

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