After, my "first-time meetings" with bloggers in Montreal, New York, Paris, Lyon and Miami (By the way, happy birthday Nkamany !) in the past 2 years, the latest episodes at the DC airport, Budapest and Paris (ep. 2) were all I hoped to be and more.
I am fully expecting to have a meeting that will turn out to be awkward but until then, I am keeping my fingers crossed.The first time I met sipakv (aka Mialy) was at the boarding gates of the flight to Budapest. For various reasons (foko, GVO..) we have been communicating a lot for the peast 2.5 years online but never really met. We ended up spending the 7 hours flight revisiting our past conversations online in real life this time and I did not realize how much we miss out in a discussion until I saw that we were laughing, frowning and surprised at the same times in the conversation.
(exposition on Africa in Paris)
(exposition on Africa in Paris)
What can I say about Budapest that has not already been said ?
I will try to make it short but Jillian asked in an email for a list of everyone's personal blogs and I could not agree more. Budapest was a sneak peek into all those people's windows and now you just want to know much more.
If you ever meet a GVO blogger, don't forget to ask them about a quick workshop on the "Beni lava" bollywood dance, getting collectively thrown out of a hotel for being too rambunctious and listening to a rendition of the beatles "when I am 64" or "Nkosisikileli Africa" by folks from Trinitad and Tobago, the Commonwealth of Massachussets, Venezuela and China.
(photo by oso)The lessons learned form the summit were too many to list. However, the common thread throughout the sessions were that social progress can be achieved by documenting the reality of social injustice and the positive actions of communities in less-exposed regions.
GVO's strength is also its pitfall: it is a melting-pot of numerous people from all corners of the worlds who all have a rightful say on the directions of the project. Unbelievably, the core team was able to pull it off masterfully, using techniques that I hope to learn from (specifically using the outsider point of view to report a region's concerns).
The blogger stalking activities were not over yet.
I had dinner with friends from high school (not seen since 1995) and it sounds cliche but that dinner felt I reconnected at a period of my life when things were just simpler and happier.
Finally, I had a true first-time with a blogger I hold in high-esteem, Vola, my cousin to the nth degree :). She has an out of-this-world wit coupled with a grounded character. I basically wish I could blog like her but I was happy enough with meeting her, her sister Miora and her friend Lydie.
We went to see a performance of " Couscous aux lardons", a play about the challenges of an interracial couple's life. Good times all around and I hope Lydie does not think I am serial killer anymore. Bloggers don't kill, they troll instead :).
We are all wishing you the best in Birmingham, Vola.
A final thought if you felt nauseated reading this "happy sunshine" take on the world of bloggers.
I had trolls before and got into a blog feud once or twice. I am not so naive to suggest that a blogger cannot ever be an obnoxious or mean. I am just saying that if someone's writings appealed you enough to want to meet him/her, then, by all means, do so. It would be too bad to miss out on all the fun.