Meeting Friends In Person
Posted April 13, 2010on:
One of the most special experiences from my trip to England was actually meeting people who I had only previously communicated with on-line, through social media. I was introduced to Twitter almost a year ago, and met other people from the international stuttering community. It was so much fun getting to know people from other parts of the world who shared the stuttering experience.
We got to know each other, initially tweeting on Twitter, then most of us became Face book buddies as well. From there, we started using Skype, where we were able to talk to each other in real-time, despite the different time zones. It was neat hearing other people with different accents and realizing that we are really all alike. We may look and sound different, but we share the same worries, fears and insecurities.
As amazing as it was, it was also strangely surreal. There is relative safety on the internet. Even though we had talked over Skype and sometimes used web cam, there was still miles and miles between us. Actually flying across the Atlantic Ocean to meet these people for the first time was scary. And it didn’t seem possible. Everything could have gone wrong. We could have not clicked and really disliked each other, but it was perfect. As soon as we met, we all felt this bond (well, at least I did). The time we had taken to get to know each other via social media and technology really paid off. We all recognized each other and felt comfortable.
Sure, there were some awkward moments. You have them anytime you meet someone new. I had joked with Lisa that it was very much like a blind date. You might talk over the phone first, but that face-to-face meeting is make or break. We were lucky. We all liked each other, and know that we will be friends forever. We also created memories that will last a life time.
I want to add that it was especially wonderful to meet Tone. She is a first year teacher and aspires to be a Speech Language Pathologist someday. She is fluent. Spending time with people who stutter and getting to understand what that is like from our perspective gives Tone honorary status as a person who stutters. She has immersed her self in all things stuttering so that she can understand our experience. Something that I would definitely recommend to any fluent person thinking of becoming an SLP. You have to walk in our shoes to really get stuttering.
This whole experience was a lesson in risk taking, trust, and living life. In London, it rains a lot. We experienced that first hand while touring London a couple of days with our hostess, Lisa, who lives in Milton Keynes, England.
One of my favorite sayings is, “When it rains, get wet”. That means don’t take cover from the rain or life. Live it, experience it, expand your horizons, meet new people, come out of your comfort zone. It is worth it, I guarantee. And when we get wet, we can always dry off. We won’t melt, like someone known as the Wicked Witch!