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Pen Pals April 1, 2010

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

When I was young, I wrote a lot of letters, and I had a lot of pen pals. I can’t remember how I found all these people or how they found me—lists here and there, published somewhere.

One girl who found me was Holly. She lived several hours away and had an identical twin. We wrote each other a lot, told each other everything, became close. Eventually we wanted to visit each other.

I think we visited twice. Once I got to meet her at her house when my parents were traveling, but I don’t think I stayed there. Another time she came to visit me for a couple of days. This was soon after her bout of anorexia, for which she had been hospitalized.

It turned out that being together in person wasn’t like the letters at all. It was kind of awkward. I don’t know how much of it was that I was a rather big girl who also hated my own body but couldn’t stop eating and she was barely 80 pounds. I don’t how much of it was that I am introverted and shy and hadn’t developed enough coping skills to mask that. But in person, it just never took, and we eventually drifted apart.

Even though I’m an adult now, even though I am much better at compensating for my shyness, I am still nervous about meeting people I’ve dealt with only online or over the phone. So I was, of course, a mix of excited and shy at the opportunity to meet Cedar Waxwing yesterday as she and her husband and son were whirlwind-touring colleges. They and Lali (fellow neighbor and blogger) and I were going to have after-lunch sweets at my place.

It was delightful and in no way reminiscent of the Holly incident. They are an interesting and engaging family and a lot of fun to be around. CW is as pretty and petite as her photos suggest (and I’m better about being Not Petite). Of course, my hostess anxiety kicked in, as it does even with people I know well. For example, I had to make coffee for everyone in the large Bodum French press. We don’t often use the large one, and I was trying to remember how many scoops to use. I thought I remembered seven and decided to go with eight—better stronger than weak. The thing is, I gave up coffee a few weeks ago, so I didn’t even taste it. That haunted me. Did I serve bad coffee? Was it too strong? Was it too weak? And then I realized it was French, not Italian roast, and I probably should have used one more scoop. And then I realized that we were out of our regular brand and this was a brand I didn’t drink very much. This morning I had Tim taste the cold leftover. Yes, I am that neurotic, and if any others of you come to visit, I promise to be that neurotic for you. Bring your opera glasses for the best view. I calm down after a couple of drinks.

There is also the whole Hug Protocol Thing. I am a hugger, and I hope that that was truly OK with them. I am sure they would not tell me if it wasn’t. They were lovely.

We went to Lali’s and visited with her husband and dogs and admired the wattle fence in progress. Everyone listened to my extended version/continuing saga of A.N., who mercifully did not drop by to present his daily problem until after everyone had gone.

I am still hoping for a one-on-one sometime with Waxwing if I ever get down her way. A bird walk? Lunch or coffee at a real restaurant (abundant in her neck of the woods but difficult to find near Parts West)?

And of course, we are dreaming of a bloggers’ trip to New Zealand to visit Mali, all the while knowing that it is way more likely that if we meet her, it’s because she’ll travel here.



1. Eulalia Benejam Cobb (Lali) - April 1, 2010

Indigo, the coffee was PERFECT, and so was the rest of your hostessing. And thanks for sharing Waxwing and family with me.

2. Helen - April 1, 2010

Oh, I see, you don’t dream of travelling to Canada to meet me. Fine.


I was laughing at your description of the coffee, since I suffer from multi-person Bodum anxiety too. For some reason I can make a perfect cup of coffee for one, but any higher number just never works out. Really though, I think you should have served them microwaved coffee.

3. indigo bunting - April 1, 2010

Oh, Helen, I not only dream of traveling to Canada to meet you, I often dream of living there (Canada generally, not necessarily with you, but I might be persuaded). Plus, we kinda figured you’d be in on the New Zealand trip, what with you going to yoga retreats in Italy and all.

And you’re right, I really should have kept up my reputation and done the microwave coffee thing. What was I thinking? Clearly I was not!

4. Mali - April 1, 2010

Over the last five years I’ve ended up meeting a lot of people in real life that I first met online. I’ve also reconnected with people I last saw in 1981. Personalities definitely show through. I think if we like each other online, we’ll love each other in real life.

PS … You must must MUST all come to NZ. All at the same time. I’ll set up the itinerary. How about in our 50th year? Start planning now.

5. Mali - April 1, 2010

PPS I’m so jealous you guys all met.

6. Dona - April 1, 2010

IB — the coffe was perfect. Your house was perfect. The hugs were perfect. The cookies (thanks Lali) were perfect. The company was perfect. It could not have been more perfect!

I was very nervous for a number of reasons — I’ll blog about it maybe.

Today on the way home I asked Dean and Andrew what we learned on our college trip — thinking they’d say something about wet weather gear. Andrew said, “We learned that blogging friends are really nice.”

We all had a wonderful time at your home and at Lali’s. Thanks so much. Looking forward to the NZ trip — except I’m already over 50….

7. Deloney - April 3, 2010

IB or Dona: did either of you take any photos?

8. indigo bunting - April 3, 2010

The Waxwing had some photos taken. I have not seen them. I am very afraid, as I am not one to look good in photos.

9. Dona - April 5, 2010

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