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When Imaginary Friends Become Real May 18, 2010

It’s a funny thing about online friends. Some people have lots of them, but never meet them. Some people basically can’t imagine befriending someone they’ve “never met.” But I’ve been making friends like this for over 15 years now, and a few of my nearest and dearest I once met in cyberspace.

This weekend I got to meet one of Foodie McBody’s first friends. Someone who reached out to me when I was in a vulnerable and shaky spot here. When I didn’t have any confidence that I could reach ANY of my goals, and who has basically cheered me from afar, invisibly, for over a year.

I finally got to meet Superwoman Spirit Shannon. She IS a superwoman in my eyes. And when we met, the fact that we first knew each other online just vanished in about three seconds. First I hugged her. Then I began laughing hysterically at the GIANT suitcase (plus another smaller one) that she had lugged with her for her visit of 3 days!

We had the most amazing time together. Working out (every day!), eating, talking, laughing. It was very very hard to let her go last night. Here’s a little photo album/recap of our time together.

Fresh off the plane, she came to my WW meeting!

First she came to my WW meeting. This was such a big deal because the weekly meeting topic was “The Importance of Support.” How timely, right? My “prop” to open the meeting was a box of Kleenex because every time I looked in her direction, I started tearing up. I told the story of how she had supported me for so long and how I never could have kept it up without her friendship. I almost started bawling. All true!

Shan, DJ and me!

Shan is killing the Ropes of Doom!

The next day, I took her to see my awesome trainer Doug Jones. He welcomed her with open arms and a killer workout. She did GREAT. She totally beat me on the jumpropes (my personal nemesis) and held her own on the ropes of doom. DJ loved to yell, “UTAHHH in the HOUSE!” LOL.

After she spent a day at work with me, we visited her first Whole Foods where I introduced her to Fage yogurt and other delights. That was a trip! Friday night, I took her to her first author reading  – Kate Moses reading from her very foodie memoir, Cakewalk, at the awesome Great Good Place for Books. We ran into a friend of mine. I introduced Shannon and the friend asked how we met. When we said “online,” the friend gave us the most CURIOUS look, like WTH?! Really?!?! Yeah really! The reading was really powerful. I am looooving this book and will be reviewing it as soon as I finish.

On Saturday, we took a hike through the foggy forest near my house and I got to point out the Imaginary View. (how apropos!) Then we took off for a super whirlwind tour of San Francisco that was truly only the tip of the iceberg. She has to come back! There is so much more to see and do (and eat, LOL).

First stop: Chinatown. Dim sum. (her first) YUM!

yum yum dim sum!

Then we drove around San Francisco. We had to do Lombard Street.  It’s so ridiculous and cheesy and touristy (and CHOKED with tourists wielding cameras) but I love it. Views of Alcatraz. North Beach. Japantown. FUN: I took her to get some (first time) manju at Benkyodo, then we went to the best stationery store on earth, we snarfed down a strawberry & ice cream crepe at Sophie’s Crepes, and had a riot in the Pika Pika sticker booth. (oh that reminds me I have to scan our pics!) Then I took her through the Haight, Golden Gate Park to wave at the buffalo, through my old neighborhood (outer Richmond, 43rd & Balboa!) and to my favorite park in the world, where I introduced her to my favorite tree (she has the photo of this, will have to link later!). Then we went to the almost-completely fogged in Golden Gate Bridge and nearly froze our tootsies off walking about halfway across and back. BRRRRR!!

brrrrrr Golden Gate Bridge is in there somewhere

After that we hightailed it back to Oakland for a yummy Indian dinner (another first for Shannon and hey Mikey! she liked it!!) Then home. Collapse.

mmm veggies!

Sunday morning! Farmers Market. Shannon bought some super-juicy mandarin oranges and some sugar snap peas as healthy souvenirs for her family. Then I had to bring Shannon to her very first Nia class. Of course she LOVED IT and is now scheming how to get to one in Utah. It was truly an awesome class (thanks Danielle!) which featured TWO Michael Jackson songs, the theme from Flashdance, Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On” (which totally flipped me out with its mention of Gollum) and a song about being grateful for friends that got me ALL choked up. Good good times! Great sweat!

The rest of Sunday I hunkered down with my script and prepared for my show. Wow that was great. I was the headliner (which I didn’t find out till I arrived at the theater)! Woo hoo! So many awesome friends showed up, including Pubsgal (another type-2 diabetes and 5k runner kindred spirit!) and Dailykat from the blogger/Twittersphere. (hey, you know, any Twitter or blogger friends who come to my show will get a SHOUT-OUT from the stage – I’ll write you into my script, no kidding!) It was a little nervewracking waiting to go last, but my other performance stars ROCKED and were just amazing. (note to locals! or visitors! LAST CHANCE to see show this Sunday at City Solo! Buy tickets QUICK before they sell out!)

After the show we went over to Mel’s Diner for a bite. I was raveeeeeeeennnnouusssly hungry after expending about a million calories of nervous energy. Big fun to hang out together!

It was an incredibly special weekend. I loved every minute I spent with Shannon. We have so much in common, even beyond health and fitness, it’s almost surreal. The time went by WAY too quickly and now I can only wait hopefully for the next time. For any of you who have not yet met an “imaginary friend” in real life, I really recommend it.

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21 Responses to “When Imaginary Friends Become Real”

  1. Awesome time you two!!

  2. FLG Says:

    Oh my goodness. The Golden Gate Bridge looks epic with all that cloud!

    Looks like you guys had heaps of fun! And is that steamed pork bun?????????? NOM!!!!

  3. LOVE IT!! I have a ton of online friends (some for more than 10 years), some of whom I’ve met, and some I haven’t. It’s a very special bond and it’s different than IRL (in real life) friends. I’m so glad the two of you got to spend such quality time together!

  4. Shannon Says:

    I cannot even begin to tell you how much fun I had! You are the best tour guide on the planet!!!!!
    I agree we have so much on common and I know we will be “real friends” for life.
    People are meant to connect and sometimes it may be through the internet we just have to be open to the possibility.
    I loved your friends face LOL!
    Thanks again so much for inviting me to visit I look forward to the next time!
    So many firsts with one of my dearest friends, those are wonderful memories to have!
    XOXO

  5. Laurie Says:

    That’s so awesome! No one in my “real life” knows about my blog, and I don’t know anyone from my blog who knows me in “real life.” I hope that changes!

  6. Oh My Goodness!!!! So Much Fun and Love!!!! So incredibly cool!!!! Shanney-Pants is soooo KRAZY COOL!!!! It looks like you guys had a Heck of a Time!!! Susan, I Knew You would be a Kick Arse Lady to hang with!!!! I look forward to coming to your “Hood” and Hanging with you really soon!!! Cheers to “Imaginary Friend” Becoming Friends IRL!!!
    Love You Both!!!
    Dr. Mo

  7. Faby Says:

    Thats Great! Looks like you girls had an amazing time! Thats was agreat GG Pic! We are very lucky to live near awesome places with great food!

  8. How cool is that?! You both are two people I’d love to meet in person. What an amazingly inspiring post of how the meaning of “friend” is more than just someone you hang out with.

    A friend has so many meanings and it’s wonderful you two connected online and got to meet — and connect in a whole new way — face to face. Yay!!

  9. terrepruitt Says:

    I almost want to start a movement. I think we should start calling the “real life” “IN PERSON”, because our internet connections are REAL LIFE. I mean, just because I know someone ONLY online and not Face to Face or IN PERSON, doesn’t mean they are not part of my REAL LIFE. Ya know?

    This woman who you knew only online was a big part of your REAL LIFE. Ya know what I am saying? I know it is only words, but . . . . online stuff IS REAL life, now-a-days.

    I am so happy you got to meet an online friend face-to-face in person. I LOVE when I get to do that. I met you! That was cool.

    I have met at least three people I can think of like that. But even more if I count Yelp. Its totally the norm now-a-days. And part of our real lives. :-)

    I am glad you had such a great time. You are amazing, my online-face-to-face friend.

    • Terre, I totally agree. Yes! It IS “real life.” When I say that I always use air quotes because of course it’s part of real life. Face to face! In Person! Yeah!!!!!

      • terrepruitt Says:

        Yeah, let’s start saying F2F instead of IRL. It could be that IRL originated in the online gaming world so for that, ok, but now that online talking and meeting are so common place it is “real” life. Ha!

  10. Melanie Says:

    Wow! What an awesome and inspiring post. So happy to hear about this wonderful visit you had. YEA!!!

  11. Kat Says:

    You had an awesome weekend! It was so great to meet you and Julianne and Shannon in person! And your show was fabulous!

  12. Mary Going Says:

    Susan,

    I’m starting to see you as a great photographer. LOVE that photo at the GG Bridge.

    Hi to Shannon. Sounds like you two had a great time.

    – mary

  13. Pubsgal Says:

    Loved your show, and thanks for including me in the blogger meet-up! It sure was a treat to meet Shannon and Kat in person.

  14. Hanlie Says:

    Oh Susan, that sounds like a fabulous time! I wish I’d been there too!

    And I’m so intrigued by your show! Brave girl!

  15. [...] Filed under: health,other great bloggers — Foodie McBody @ 12:47 am Do you all remember my wonderful friend Shannon who was here visiting me a few weeks ago? Well she’s just had her world turned upside down by [...]

  16. [...] first blogger I met (she was one of my very first online friends to reach out to me) in person was Shannon. I cannot describe the affection and love I have for this woman. She was my first fit-blogging [...]


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