The other day I read the story about the Australian Matt Kuleza who has, since 2004, has made coffee dates with his Facebook friends.
He wrote in his blog: “An exercise in remembering to socialize with and get to know people outside of the ‘book and a celebration of the individual humans I’ve had the pleasure of meeting throughout my life so far”.
Kuleza has just over 1,000 friends on the network and he knows all of them personally.
With me it’s the opposite, I have a lot of people on Facebook I’ve never met in person. Since I started the Extremes of the Americas project I’ve added people daily to my group of virtual friends.
Some of these are special. Even without our knowing each other in person they send me messages of caring, support, music to make my days happy, sound tracks to fit my situations, room, board, beer, wine…I feel like they’re friends! I’ve already commented on this. Incredible people, the majority of whom I’ll not know in person, unfortunately.
But every time I can I don’t miss the opportunity to know them and it was in this way that I got to see Fernanda.
She’s a columnist on the Extremes site, the adventure site I collaborate with (podcasts here) she’s seen and been commenting on my posts and photos on social networks, but I know very little about her.
Fe and our smiles during the easy conversation between old friends.
A few weeks ago she wrote to tell me that her academic advisor lived in Missoula, a nearby city, but not on my route.
“We’ll leave it until next time…” is what we say in São Paulo (Brasil) even when we know there might not be a next time.
Coincidence, destiny or providence, Fernanda needed to come to Missoula because of her PhD studies at the same time that I’d come back to Helena. She wrote me again: “I’m here, I want to give you a big hug! You could come today…”
Who is it that writes to you like that if not a friend?
I answered, “Of course!!! I’ll bring cheese and wine to snack on while we talk!”
I went and found out Fe could have been my friend under any other circumstances! It was only for some unknown reason we never met.
She’s a biologist, like me. She works in road ecology, and for a while I worked very closely with professionals in that area. We have many friends and colleagues in common.
We go to conferences in that area. When I lived in São Paulo I lived less than 1 kilometer from where she lives there.
She’s one of those women people admire because she’s smart, strong, determined, adventuresome, has an incredible sense of humor and talking with her is really easy!
We talked about everything, ecology and the environment and adventures, machismo and politics.
Right next to us were three strangers, 2 Americans and 1 Dutch. One of the Americans asked me later:
“Are you serious you two didn’t know each other before this? Is everyone in Brasil like this?”
I didn’t know how to answer…because I don’t know everyone in Brasil.