22.10.05

Sometimes it's hard to make friends...and sometimes you find friends in places you would never have imagined...


Sitting at work on a Saturday can be a huge drag. But since I started blogging, I actually look forward to coming into work, even on the weekends, just so that I can use a computer to check up on my friends. Friends. Yes, I've come to think of many of the people whose blogs I read daily, both near and far, as friends.
Every day as I read through their blogs, I am learning who they are and some of the intricacies of their daily thoughts, what their surroundings look like through their gorgeous pictures, and laughing out loud with them - those deep belly laughs, the kind that rolls up from your belly through your chest and out your mouth in loud gusts until you don't think you'll be able to stop, and your cheeks hurt in the best way possible from smiling so much. They take me on road trips with them (sometimes even to my home state!), or to places I've never been, and I live vicariously through their descriptions and photographs...and sometimes just drool over their culinary creations. I feel like I've been standing around with them during the warm and comforting events with their family, met their adoreable pets, and seen them making new friends when they get to meet other bloggers, and sometimes, even sharing a sad moment with them. They not only inspire me, but encourage me, and offer their thoughts. I feel like I know them. You. It's amazing to me to think about bloggers who have been at it for months or years...I've only been doing this a few short months, but already I tell their stories to Loving Boyfriend as if I've known them for years..."...My friend, Ilva, in Tuscany, she posted the most beautiful picture she posted of this villa today - we have to go there someday!" or ..."Vickie, my friend in Vermont, knows how to make little dumplings!," or ..."My friend Shauna in Seattle is the aunt I want to be when my nieces get older!" ...and there are so many more (I wish I could link to everyone!).


It's hard to move to a new place, and I've done a lot of moving in the last several years (13 times in one of those years!), which meant that it was difficult to make close friends. The kind of friends you want to sit with in your kitchen , pour a cup of tea, and talk for hours. When I started graduate school, and met my dear Loving Boyfriend, he had been here in Eugene for over a year...and already had a good friend base. Those people slowly became my friends as well, and I love them dearly, but I've always struggled to find them on my own. As I get older, I've found it more and more difficult to meet people that are like me, want or are interested in similar things, or that I even feel like I could talk for hours with.

Through blogging, food has brought us all together...our love for it, for making it for friends and loved ones (or even ourselves!), sharing how it makes us feel or how it brings us close to those we care about. Even sharing our excitement about finding a new Farmer's market, or a beautiful ingredient in the grocery store, or a cooking disaster we would never want anyone to actually eat...just to share a few laughs. And it's become a forum...for asking for help on how to store something, what to do with that new ingredient, or getting our hands on something we can't get where we live, and even for finding a shoulder to lean on.

On Tuesday, I was lucky enough to meet McAuliflower, the creativity behind Brownie Points (if you haven't checked her site out yet, you should!). I couldn't believe when she commented on my site that there was another food blogger in Eugene...and just a short jaunt down the hallway in the same building I was in. When she suggested we go to Marche Cafe here, I already knew I liked her - it's my favorite place to eat here on campus. But she was so easy to talk to - we talked non-stop for an hour and a half, and not only about food (though, of course, that subject came up)...and to hear excitement in someone else's voice when they talked about how beautiful their salad looked, - and it was! - it was like coming home. Like being back in the days I used to sit around with my favorite girlfriends in high school and college and excitedly chatter about boys we all knew, or things that had happened in our past - girls who knew my history, my parents, my friends (Katie, that's you!)...something I truly miss after all that moving, when there just isn't enough time to learn all the nuances of someone you meet until long after you've moved away. And these days, with all of life's obligations, it seems like too much time goes by without feeling that closeness, talking to a close friend who truly shares in your excitement about something, who realizes how much you truly love something and who knows you inside and out. And I am now realizing just how much I miss that...but I left my lunch with McAuliflower feeling satiated, excited, and yearning to know her more...and I hope I will.


I have no idea if I would be 'friends' with all of you had we met on the street, though I'd like to think I would, but I know that I have come to care about you and think of you as my friends -- regardless of the fact that I've never met (most all) of you. I also know that food, and blogging, has brought us together...and I'm so thankful for that. Thankful for you. And thankful for the new deepness and richness that this world has brought into mine. I hope you all are having a most wonderful weekend day, and I hope that someday some of you will be able to come and sit in my kitchen with me, let me pour you a cup of tea, feed you a freshly baked scone or a piece of pie, and talk with me for hours.

12 comments from you:

vlb5757 said...

MIchelle, I want you to know that you made me tear up! You have expressed things that I feel about my friends too. Being a part of something whether I can see you or not is such a comfort. It's nice to know that I am not the only sap out here. You have said all the things here in your blog that people should be saying face-to-face. We should tell our friends and families just how much we cherish them so when day when they are gone, we have no regrets.

It's nice that you are a new friend and I hope that some day when I get out to the West Coast we can take Loving Boyfriend and Darling Hubby and ride a tricycle in a bar together, drink and be merry!

ilva said...

Such a nice piece of writing! And you express what I feel so well! I have as you may know two food blogs, one in swedish and one in english and I have encountered such a lot of nice people through both of them that my life has changed quite a bit! It is so nice to have the opportunity to know people through what they write and not by what they look like, work with and appears to be like but just through the words that express their personality! I am very happy to have met YOU! And whenever you want to have coffee with me - I am here waitng for you...

Melissa CookingDiva said...

Michelle, I think you have posted what many, many of Us feel in a way or another. It takes special people to love cooking, to share the adventures in the kitchen and outside of it. It requires caring loving people to show the world what they grow in their garden, or to admit they do not know something and ask a question. That is beautiful :) And, like you, I am happy because I have found beautiful people with big hearts, and they love is transmitted through the net of food blogs :) How fantastic! Hugs from Panama!

Shauna said...

Sweetie!

I was nodding and tearing up as I read this entire piece. Thank you, thank you. (And as much as I love helping people with gluten-free food, mostly I want to be known as Elliott's aunt! So your mention meant so much to me.)

I agree, down to my toes. I've only been keeping my food blog seriously since July, and I'm amazzed at how much richness it has brought me. It's thrilling to write every day, know that someone is out there reading. And with the comments--instant feedback. But more important for me is the people. Because people are always the point for me. And I love knowing you're out there.

We would be friends if we met. When we meet. It will happen.

I can't wait.

Michèle said...

Hi Michelle, what a lovely post! and I am in complete agreement with you. I started out my own blog thinking that the reward would be the cooking, or challenging my photography skills, but in the end its all about the people you "meet", in person or just online, and how they support you and inspire you. Its a wonderful feeling. And many of my fellow bloggers, whether we've met in person or not, have become some of my closest friends since starting my blog. In any case, I do think your post is wonderful and Im happy to get to know you too ;)

farmgirl said...

An absolutely wonderful read. Thank you.

mrs d said...

Michelle, what a great piece, and really a wonderful tribute to all of us.

::group hug!::

Dawn said...

Michelle, you said it! I definitely feel the same way you do. It seems that finding new friends is almost impossible as I get older. And I'm not that old! But the wonderful people who have all seemed to congregate together on these food blogs have become my new friends. I like to see what they've been up to, whether it's food or not. You made me laugh and tugged on my heartstrings with this post! It used to be that when I would think about travel, I would be thinking about what restaurants I'd want to eat at...now, I wonder if there is one of my foodie friends nearby to meet!

Beth said...

Lovely post. I can totally relate. People in my "regular, real life" seem to look at me funny when I mention someone I only know online. My husband's kind of used to it by now. I think you're expressing sentiments that a lot of bloggers (or even just people who spend a lot of time online) can relate to.

:)

McAuliflower said...

You're lucky I'm not at work today otherwise we would make quite the scene in your lab!

You are such a Sweetie! It's nice to find posts like these that hit the nail on the head! When one can find a community of acceptance its a beautiful thing!

Sweets summed up the other day relating to online friends whose exploits you read about: I'm a shy one in person, but am usually quite busy in my mind making new friends, even if my new friends don't know it, yet.

hugs!

kitchenmage said...

*group hug*

I'd write more but I have food about to burn!

*group hug*

michelle said...

Awww, thanks everyone...so much. Thank you for sharing your stories, for your encouragement, and this sense of community. I think you all know how I feel now, so hugs all around!