Sunday, September 30, 2007

Blogger Connections and a Phenomenal Blogger Surprise!

The last day of my trip had been one that I’ve looked forward to most, since I knew that I’d meet quite a few new blogging friends on this day. Blythe and her adorable son Theo, and Christina and her doll-face baby, Oliver met Elisabeth and I at the Nurnberg train station for what was to be a chance to share a few relaxed hours getting to know each other off-line. Unfortunately, though, just as we were settling in and starting to order cappuccinos, Elisabeth and I discovered that the train we thought would leave at 2:00 was actually leaving at 1:00 – and we hadn’t bought tickets yet! We quickly excused ourselves, snapped a hasty photo and flew down the escalator, determined to make the 1:00 train because we had more blogger friends waiting for us in Frankfurt!

As we disembarked at the Frankfurt train station two hours later, we immediately recognized a familiar face. Geoffry had come back to see us again and was awaiting our arrival on the platform. It was wonderful to see him again and I was honored that he’d driven from Koeln to Frankfurt to see us just days after we’d met. “Lionel never talks to me,” he quipped (ha!) “and I really want to find out how Oktoberfest went!” “Plus,” he added, “I have to catch a flight to Estonia on the same day that you’re flying home to Seattle.” The three of us set off toward Starbuck’s, where Jen, Sparky, J, and Richard were waiting. Jen and I needed no introduction, having Skyped in months previous and insisting that “Dude! We’re both from the Bay Area; we are soooo connected!” Jen and I were never strangers, not for a split second, and today just hours after we parted in a parking lot in Frankfurt, I can honestly say that I already miss her gregarious laugh, her inviting demeanor and her… well, her absolutely insanity (the good kind, of course)! God, what an amazing woman… who is married to an amazing man. I now get why Sparky is nicknamed Sparky: he sparks conversation, sparks a connection, sparks exuberance and just plain adds a bit of electricity to all of his interactions. And damn, that man is smart… just like his wife!

I found J to be wonderfully warm, full of life, and highly intelligent. He planned the perfect place for all of us to meet – Yours Australian Bar and Grill – and we all (accompanied by Richard, a blogger who I don’t know well, but have decided that I must add his blog to my Google Reader list!) partied hearty long into the night, laughing like lifelong friends and absolutely enjoying each others’ company, sad at the prospect that our evening together couldn’t go on forever. There is no doubt that the friendships I’ve formed with my blogger friends are as true, as deep, and as genuine (and maybe even more so) as my “real life” friendships, and I would welcome any of them into my home and into my life in Seattle any time! Just let me know, guys, when you’ll be arriving.

But the most amazing event of the evening was yet to come.

As we settled in at Yours, laughing together and sharing blogging memories, a package was delivered to our table. A package for me. I was completely baffled. Why would someone send me a package – and why would they send me a package care of the blogger meet-up in Frankfurt? HUH?! My new friends were as mystified as I was and jokingly moved aside as I began opening the box.

Someone – someone who still remains anonymous (but so amazingly kind and appreciated!), had sent me an antique “Semmelgepaeck” (a place setting) of beautiful porcelain dishes from Ruhpolding, a place I’ve often called my “favorite place on earth.” The delicately painted cup, saucer and plate were accompanied by this unsigned, typed note:

“Dear Carol,

I read your blog all the time.

I would have loved to attend tonight’s blogger meeting but couldn’t make it.

I was moved by your memories of Ruhpolding and wanted you to have this.

I hope my gift makes it in one piece.

It’s an antique German Sammelgedeck from Ruhpolding.

I hope you like it.”

Anyone who was there (even people at neighboring tables) will tell you, my dear anonymous blogging friend, that I was moved close to tears. I am touched so deeply that anyone (anyone!) would ever do something so incredibly nice for me! The fact that my normal ol’ blog with normal ol’ stories and impressions has touched anyone enough to give me such a gift is just beyond me.

I am still speechless. And grateful. And appreciative. And thrilled.

Thank you, who ever you are. Thank you so very much! My new (antique) porcelain from Ruhpolding will definitely grace our home in a very special place… perhaps on the antique piano that my mother so enjoyed playing.

Anyone who is skeptical of the connections and friendships that can be found within the blogosphere and anyone who doubts that a blog can make any sort of difference or impression in people’s “real lives” needs only to have experienced my life – my new friendships and my astounding gift -- yesterday! It is very, very real, and it feels so very, very good!

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Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to read that I missed such a wonderful and enjoyable event, but life dictated that I was either 48 hours out of sync or a few thousand miles.

I'm glad you enjoyed your trip to Germany.

Goofball said...

wow that was an amasing suprise! Good for you! How great to meet so many new friends

Anonymous said...

What a lovely gift. I hope this person speaks up...but then again, it could be a life-long mystery that you can pass down to your great grand-kids.

I'm so glad that you are finding the time to blog about your wonderful trip. I'm having (almost) as much fun as you are!

Rebecca said...

wow - how wonderful! all of it. :)

The Giant said...

I am new to your blog but I have been reading Jen's for awhile now. What an amazing community of people! I am stunned by the close connections you have made across an ocean.
I have enjoyed hearing about your adventures and I look forward to reading more.

Markus Roder said...

That was such a sweet write-up!

My wife and I had lots and lots of fun with you (...or should I say: " A plethora, if not a smorgasboard of enjoyments"?) and we hope you will visit again soon.

Thanks for calling me "bright", btw - no one ever says that out loud ;).

- Sparky

jen said...

Sparky, people do say that, but it does tend to be more in the Heros exploding man sort of way, huh?

Carol, I miss you already, but then again, it never feels like you're that far away.

And may I just say for the record, that Rich was supposed to be making a face in that picture too, but he double crossed me, the rat.

You are an amazing woman i am so proud to call my friend. I'm tempted to fly up around christmas time for a day just so I can have some more time with you and your lovely family.

Blythe said...

It was a treat to meet you and Elizabeth! Thanks for a fun, if brief, time together. I'll get in touch the next time we're in Seattle.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad my gift arrived safely, and also that you didn't think it was tacky! I was really worried about that!!

The guy at the bar didn't want to let me send it to him at first, because I asked the morning after they arrested those Germans for planning some kind of bombing of American establishments in Germany.

I hope it survived the transatlantic flight okay. It's such delicate china that I doubted it would make it to Frankfurt in one piece!

-Anonymous. Consider it a gift from all blogging ex-pats :-)

J said...

Highly intelligent? Me? nonsense.

It was a great time, wasn't it? You are exactly like in envisioned you from your blog and E is the same way.

Glad we made you miss Germany - now you'll come back again :)

vailian said...

It was a terrific event, the first such thing for me, but I loved it. Can't believe that a group of people who had never met could get on so well.. for so many hours (no one wanted to leave, and we were there... 6 hours or so.) Too bad Lionel wasn't there.
Still haven't had the nerve to tell the Ossie about it. She won't understand probably.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful pic. Such a cool company of people. And an adorable gesture from whoever it was.

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