Friday, April 20

virtual friends


Last weekend a blogger called Matt came all the way from New Zealand to meet me! Well, not really, he was working in Florence and came to spend a weekend in Positano. Seeing as he had recently completed a triathalon I decided to drag him around town on foot, just to see if he could handle all the steps. I walked that guy all around town and back up to the top again and he never complained.

He didn't with us because we had never met him before, so I booked him into the hostel for the night. It would be highly stupid to invite someone to stay at your home if you had never met them before don't you think?
Just face it, someone who you encounter on the internet might not be that sweet pretty girl that you have seen photos of, for all you know she could be a crusty old man living out a fantasy life of a young girl. As children we are taught to never speak to strangers, when we are older we are taught to be careful who we befriend and to be careful as to who we invite into our homes.

So what have I done? I have invited a family of three that I have never met or spoken to in my life to stay in our house for five days. Risky, very risky, I know, but I feel as if I already know Annika. We've been virtual friends for over a year and have 'spoken' online probably every other day.

Annika's lifelong dream has been to live in Amalfi, even though she has never visited this part of Italy. It is my responsibility to introduce her to her dream and make sure it lives up to everything she thought it would be.

It is going to be a very tight squeeze with six of us in our apartment. The three of them sleeping in Skyes small room and Skye moved into our room. I just hope we manage to coordinate the use of the one bathroom, otherwise the men will have to pee out the back window and the kids in the kitchen sink. (I really hope that doesn't happen.)

Annika has talked so much about the coast and how she longs to live here one day. I feel quite scared being the one responsible for fuelling or destroying her dream. I haven't got a plan of where to take her or what to show her because I don't know where to start. I don't want her to see just the touristy places because that is not real life, althought she should see them all.

They left Sweden today and will arrive in here on Tuesday after a few days in Rome. I have to prepare the beds and clean the apartment, make some space for their clothes and figure out where we are all going to eat. I feel the need to repaint the wall outide the front door which has become green with mould over the winter. I should gather together some ferry and bus timetables and I suppose I should stock up on food. But what do they like. And how often will we eat at home?

I am excited that this will be the start of a real friendship (rather than a virtual one) but am also worried that it could all go horribly wrong. What if Carlo and Andrea don't get on or can't communicate? Will the children manage with the language barrier? Will the friendship that Annkia and I have made online work out in real life?

I suppose we will find out on Tuesday. And if anyone has any amusing tales about meeting 'virtual friends' I would love to hear them.

16 comments:

  1. Wow, a lot of questions. That's why I'll be tuning next week!!!

    I would be ok with Annika and family staying at my place but I have two bathrooms!

    Jeff

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  2. hey niki- don't worry! trusting your gut instinct is a good thing. yes i have an amusing tale of meeting a certain "virtual co-worker" and well now i'm with him in holland ;)

    and i met a few bloggers and find that they seem to be great in life too and its a smooth transition.

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  3. haha I'm still here, we haven't left yet :D Look, don't start PAINTING, ok? If you only had seen what our apartment has looked like lately you wouldn't be worried the least bit. It's spotless now though, due to my frantic cleaning this morning.

    Yes, you're crazy for having us. We're crazy too, for going to stay with complete strangers. All we have as "proof" is that others have met me, and they have met you, and unless there is some huge conspiracy going on out there I take that as proof that you are who you say you are. And I am who I say I am. A 55 year old jailbird with tattoos all over and childporn in my suitcase.
    I told you that, right? ;)

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  4. gosh, this will be interesting...

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  5. Well I met you briefly, and I had a nice chat with Carlo up at the cemetery. Did he say anything? And its all due to the internet!

    As for Annika and co, if you don't want to ruin her dream keep her away from the tourists; take a boat and go to secluded beaches, or bring her out in the quieter hours of the day! I'm sure that you'll be fine.

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  6. And you people got the nerve to say that the Italians are crazy...

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  7. This could be a movie. It would be much better than THE HOLIDAY (great premise but Cameron bugs me).

    Annika don't worry. I met Nicki. She is lovely and yes that is really her photo. :)

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  8. I've read your blog since it started and never got around to signing in with google so that I could leave a comment.. just seemed like too much hard work. Now I've finally done it and it was a piece of cake. Huh.
    Ok!
    I met a man when we went to Rome who had a blog "Marc, my words" that I had been following for years. . Nervously, with embarrassed giggles we climbed up the staircase to his flat in Rome and stood at the door for ages before knocking, arguing about what our "escape" word would be if it all went pearshapped and he was a 300lb tattooed psychopath who smelt bad...
    Will finally got up the courage and knocked...

    And he was the most incredibly lovely man. We drank far to many bottles of wine with him, the three of us speed talking frantically to get as much as possible in before he had to go off to work for the night. He gave us the keys to his flash apartment, showed us how the pullout couch worked and left us to it! We wandered around the Colosseum in a drunken daze then turned in for the night.
    In the morning Marc returned home from work and again we all yabbered incessantly until he was asleep standing up - during the course of our ranting he invited us up to his house in Umbria for New Years Eve.
    After another week in Rome and some mid winter camping at Pompeii (!) we headed up to Marc's house in the countryside near a tiny Umbrian town and spent one of the most memorable New Years Eves that I have ever had (and another 3 great nights) with Marc and his gorgeous wife. They dragged us along to a friend's party at the top of a 14th century tower and we had a pyrotechnic's wet dream of an evening, fireworks exploding just over our heads and the valley below blossoming like coral for hours, wind so cold it stole your breath and copious mulled wine to warm you up all over again..
    We're still friends although 1/2 a world and a baby separate us. And we hope like crazy that one day soon Marc and his wife make it over here to New Zealand for a New Years with us, Kiwi style.
    yep.

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  9. Wow, I love Lee's story....ok, now my internet story..stories...I met one of my closest friends Rachel, on the internet some years back in New York and we have been close friends ever since, having slept over on several occasions. Now she is thinking of moving to my city on the West coast and possibly being my roommate!! Next story....I met the love of my life on the internet and we are now having a long distance relationship..he is in Milan and I am here in the states. I was a bit skeptical at first, but the moment I layed eyes on him, I knew things were going to be fabulous...and they have been! I'm sure Annika's family and yours will hit it off marvelously! Take lots of pics...especially in the middle of the night when they are snoring...video!! haha!

    Liz

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  10. I've turned several virtual friendships into real ones. One that particularly comes to mind Katie (katerinafiore.blogspot.com) who I am very close with now. :-) Then there's Miss Tango who I simply adore...

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  11. Don't worry you two will defiantely get along as you both worry and think alike. This post of yours reminds me of some of Annika's recent posts. Have a great time and I hope the Weather Gods are good to you all.

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  12. oh i do! i met this weird english girl in naples last year...

    ;)

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  13. I hope you guys all have great fun!!

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  14. I have made so many friend (and my husband) in cyber space. The world is a much smaller place these days.

    Have a wonderful time with Anikia. Looking forward to hearing all about your adventures.

    Cyn

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  15. No amusing stories of meeting virtual friends in real life, but I can say that's how I met several of my closest friends! Many of them live relatively close to me (meaning in the same country!), but one of them lives in Amsterdam, and I'm on the West Coast of the United States. The internet may have its problems, but I've certainly only had good experiences!

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  16. I'm very positive that things will work out great for you all. I met my first 'net-friend' 10 years ago in 'real-life' and I still remember the strange feeling when meeting for the first time! :-) My opinion is that if you chat a lot and on a regular basis you learn to know each other as well (or even better) as in 'real-life'. How did this first meeting go you may wonder... Today, 10 years later we have met several times and I consider him to be one of my really best friends. You all can see some memories from the first meeting 10 years ago on http://newcurrent.net/malta/malta.htm
    I'm certain that you'll have a nice time together, I personally can assure you that Annika, and her family, are a nice bunch of people :-)

    /Christer
    PS. if you examine newcurrent.net you can find out why I can assure this... ;-)

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