Digital and real-life connections

In January of last year, I went to Mexico for the very first time. It was a weird point in my life, I had spent Christmas away from home for the very first time and was going through some relationship things.

Bottom line is that I desperately needed to be away from Rankin. My darling mom recognized this and donated some Air Miles to my cause and I hastily booked a trip to Rincon de Guayabitos. No, I couldn’t say the name of the town when I booked it. I still can’t figure out if I’m saying “rincon” right.

I picked the resort in that little town* because I wanted something quiet. I needed reflection time, I needed me-time. I needed to live in my own brain for a bit.

So I got to my little resort on the ocean, and was probably the only “single” there. Yes, I was there by myself. I wanted to be. This wasn’t a big deal for me, I’m fairly independent… but was apparently a novel idea to everyone I met. They couldn’t believe I had come to Mexico by myself.

The flipside to that was everyone at the resort took me under their wing. I had the group of ladies I played Yahtzee and card games with in the Sports Bar. I had the two older, married men I walked with late at night and made wild and crazy scuba diving plans with (and never carried out). But most of all, I had this mother-daughter pair, Lorraine and Shannon who invited me to eat with them one night… and then every single night thereafter.

Each evening, we’d sit at the one a-la-carte restaurant, and put way too much thought into what we were going to have to eat. The servers would bring Lorraine and I glasses of mediocre wine. Shannon would joke that she was the only person on the resort NOT drinking — she was my age, but a couple months pregnant. Over the pick of the day we’d chat about the adventures we’d been up to. Me: rapelling down waterfalls. They: swimming with dolphins. Me: Whale watching on the Pacific. They: a culture tour through rural Mexico.

I spent a lot of time by myself on that trip, but at the same time I had this little network of people who checked in on me.  Shannon and Lorraine were at the centre of it.

We parted ways. I went back up to Rankin much more tanned, at peace and relaxed. They went north too… to Prince George. We did the Facebook-add thing, but (as most of us do) didn’t communicate in any way shape or form.

Then I moved to Kelowna and we’ve been back in contact. Not in any large way. A comment here, a “heard you on the radio there.” Shannon’s since had a baby girl. It’s still just me and the pup.

I’ve toyed with the idea of going to Prince George a couple times, we have a CBC bureau and I’m friends with some of the folks that work there. I’ve always wondered if it would be weird to contact Shannon for coffee (or whatever it is people with babies do… ). Facebook is strange that way. I have 300 “friends” who I broadcast my daily stream of consciousness to, but I know most of them only superficially.

Then yesterday, she mentioned Kelowna in an update, and I asked her if she was coming through town.This morning, not only did she say she was in town, but invited me to go on a wine tour with her and the family.

Yet again, this girl is looking out for me, taking me under her wing. Apprehensive-Jackie would waffle on this a bit, not wanting to intrude on a family thing and probably convince herself not to go. But I’m trying to get rid of that girl (or at least give her a punch in the face when she’s being annoying).

This online world is so strange sometimes. This afternoon I’m going to hang out with a girl I met a year and a half ago in Mexico, and her respective family. While I’ve had friends who I really genuinely KNOW who are full-aware that I live in Kelowna. They’ve visited Kelowna, and not made no effort to even contact me.

*and by “the” I MEAN “the” — it was the only one, and I now realize it was tiny! And by “little” town I MEAN “little” — about 5 thousand people — and it doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page I can link you to.

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3 Responses to “Digital and real-life connections”

  1. allmycke Says:

    Isn’t it funny?
    Much like you, I don’t find it easy to open up to people around me, Consequently, I’ve gotten more support from my on-line friends over the past 2 years than I have from some of the people who live in the same town…

  2. Sarah Says:

    I think online friendships are awesome! I’ve made so many friends that way and developed so many more friendships that otherwise would have been stuck at the “acquaintance” level. And it touches me how when I’m going through something good or bad, I get little messages of support and encouragement from people I see very infrequently, if at all.

  3. Renée Says:

    If I ever make it back to Kelowna I will totally call you up! I was there last August before you arrived…it’s a gorgeous place.

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