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:
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!