Six years! Time flies, doesn't it? Wow.
In honor of our 6th anniversary and the start of ICLW, I wanted to tell you the story of us. Well, I'll just start with the story of how we met...and see where else we end up.
Once upon a time about 8 years ago...I planned a trip to Italy. I was planning a trip with a recently divorced friend who was out for 'adventure'. We purchased plane tickets and guide books around this time of year in 2000, and planned for a March 2001 trip. We were going to be so adventurous that we were only going to buy the tickets...then travel by train and play it 'by ear' while we were there. Of course there is a HUGE gap between September and March. I was determined to learn 'a little' Italian...and get to know more about the area.
During this time I was also recently dumped...as my then-boyfriend had found himself 'suddenly gay'...which is all well and good, but left me somewhat alone as I don't have a pe.nis. I had recently moved out on my own and purchased my very own computer...and my very own Internet...and had somehow crept into the land of Internet dating. Internet Dating wasn't working out so well for me. I met a string of geeks in coffee shops across the city...and was even subjected to an outdoor blind date with a cross-eyed gentlemen* who didn't wear deodorant and wore a tank top. That's a story for another day.
I had decided, after 10 or so of these Internet Dates...that I was going to have to look outside of my own city. Heck. Outside of the country maybe. Idea. Why don't I look for an Internet Date in Italy?! I was going there in a few months anyway. This way I could build up a bit more of a relationship before the big 'meet'. Why not. At the very least this may be a 'free' tour guide. I searched a bit.
I searched for people on a chat server who were from 'Italy' and interested in 'International Travel'......I sent out a friendly IM 'Hello' to a few folks.....and after a few tries with an obvious language barrier....I received a friendly 'Hello' back. The chat ensued. "I'm coming to Italy in March...where should I visit?" He answered that he had recently traveled to Siena on a weekend trip, and would e-mail me his pictures. We chatted a bit more. And left it at that.
Two days later I received an e-mail titled "Trip to Siena." Wow. He wrote me! I opened the email and found 4 pages of information about the city. Explanations of his pictures. Descriptions of the manuscripts found in a local museum. Local customs. Traditions. History. Someone else may have found this boring. I found it absolutely refreshing. I wanted to know this man who sent me an informational, educational e-mail as a first letter, rather than a bullshit description of how great he was and what hobbies he enjoyed. He didn't ask me where I worked, what food I liked, or what size clothes I wore. This was what I had been looking for.
I worked the night shift at that time. I would come home every morning at 7am and go online...and there he would be. At 7am in the US, it's 1pm in Italy...so when I was getting off shift, he was home on his lunch break. We would chat for an hour...sometimes more. On the weekends we would chat for 2 or 3 hours at a time. I fell in love with the IM chime. It was a strange phenomenon. I was so happy to have this invisible person to talk to for hours on end...and not to be forced to have anything else.
After a month we arranged a phone call, something he was nervous about as he was afraid his spoken English wouldn't be up to par. It was. How exciting waiting for that call. How different to be speaking instead of letting my fingers do the talking. I'm a much better brain to keyboard communicator in a way...so the conversation seemed a bit awkward...but it was so nice to put a voice with the person I had come to know.
We then slowly graduated to Voice Chat to Web Cam....(not like that, Gah!). And then on November 1st he asked me if I was going to be busy for my birthday. Nope. No plans. Why? "Because I have a week off work and I wanted to come to meet you." WAAAH. Heart pounding. Bring.It.On.
Yeah, yeah. Everyone at work warned me of the Italian Serial Killer who was flying all the way to the States to murder me in my sleep. Well. You see how that turned out. Best birthday week of my life fell in love didn't sleep opened my eyes to a whole new world...and all that.
*No offense to cross-eyed people, had he smelled better and had this not been a 'blind' date I may have been able to 'turn a blind eye' to this issue.
Ok. This wasn't really a "SHOW and tell"...it was more of just a 'TELL'...but if you want to see or read about what others are most likely showing AND telling....Click HERE.