2013 August 23
I had some anxiety about meeting Anick. As with my other friend, Prin, we met online in a pet forum, approximately seven years ago, maybe longer. Anick is French. She says my name with a French pronunciation that I simply love. I know this because she once left me a message on my answering machine.
I had fallen madly in love with her male dog, Dakotah, over the years. The day after I visited Prin, Anick messaged me to say that due to his declining health and an accident that morning, Dakotah would be leaving this earth that very afternoon. I was devastated, both for Anick and her husband, and for myself. I sobbed and wondered if I could quickly travel that day. When I really thought about it, I knew I couldn't intrude on such a private moment, but I wondered if I would ever get to meet Anick, now.
|Anick's photo of Dakotah|
Several days later, Anick mentioned that I could still come to see her other dog, Maika, as well as her! That was all the encouragement I needed. I messaged her and asked what day would be best for a visit. It was decided that Friday would work, so there it was, a plan.
As I explained in my previous post, the actual travel was itself, interesting.
When I arrived in her driveway, Anick welcomed me with a huge hug. We chatted. We drank iced tea. I feed the chickens. I kissed Miaka. I met Paul, Anick's husband. I was told that we were going out for lunch, because Anick knew how much I desired to try the Canadian national dish, poutine.
|More of the flock|
|Anick, feeding the flock|
|One of Anick's many chickens|
After a lovely lunch, of poutine (which is delicious!), and salted meat sandwiches (I hope I got that right), and wonderful conversation, we headed back to their homestead, so that Paul could get back to work. Anick showed me around part of their acreage, and let me feed carrots to the old horses, and tour the barn and see the rest of the flock of chickens. And all the while we chatted about life and death and the sad responsibility of being a pet owner, and loads of other things.
|Anick being silly|
I was totally at ease. Anick gave me a gift of a lovely journal. She explained that when she lived in Europe, she had a similar one in which she had people she met sign, or write in, or draw, or whatever they felt moved to do. She thought that I might like to have something similar as we journey around in our motorhome.
One thing that surprised me about the visit was how open her husband Paul was with me. Perhaps I am too used to American men, who find it difficult to talk beyond the superficiality of sports and the weather. In any case, I was pleasantly surprised by how easily Paul shared various personal information. It was very easy to simply 'be' with both Anick and Paul.
|Christening my new journal|
As the day progressed, Anick made me a delicious cup of coffee, and we shared photos on our laptops. She asked if I was going to be OK with traveling back, because of the road closure. I assured her, that I'd be fine. She insisted on taking numerous photos of me, many with Maika. She wrote in the journal she gave me. I hugged her and Paul, and went on my way.
How amazing is it that someone I met online, could become a real friend? After meeting Prin, she said that she thinks as long as the online relationship is based in honesty, there isn't so much difficulty to transfer the friendship from online to real life. Perhaps. For me, I wonder if there is a generational component involved.
In any case, I am grateful that the transfer from digital to corporal friendship has gone so well in both these cases. And, an added bonus is that Paul and I are now digital (Facebook) friends, as a result of having met in real life. Another bonus is that I am beginning to believe that I'm an OK person, whom people actually sometimes like. Go figure!
|JeanMarie and Anick (This may be the one I took with my phone)|
All of the following photos were taken by Anick. We did neglect to take any pictures of Paul, however!
|JM and Maika one of my favorites|
|JM and Maika on of my favorites|
|JeanMarie and Anick|