Reading through the lengthy chat updates in one of my favourite skype groups – HLW Skypers (a Hello Little World Skypers group dedicated to international connections and collaboration), I noticed an update by Effie from Athens in Greece, stating that she was holidaying in Chania. I continued skimming through the chat but then stopped….. and remembered that in three weeks time my family and I would be in Chania after the wedding celebrations in London and Cyprus. Normally, I would have asked where in the world Chania was!
Excitedly, I left a message for Effie on skype to see if there was a remote possibility that she would still be in Chania in another three weeks. Effie replied that she would be, told me what the weather was like and suggested some sightseeing for us. Mobile phones were then used to stay in contact as internet access was not always reliable where we were travelling.
It was arranged to meet up in the historic port in Chania on our first night’s stay. Effie suggested a restaurant called “The Palace” for my family to eat at and for us then to meet up. Unfortunately, everything was in Greek so we did not have a clue which was “The Palace” and despite asking people along the beautiful historic harbour we still could not find it. In some frustration and with a great sense of hunger, we chose a restaurant that had a menu suitable for the grandchildren and also for our budget. As we ordered food, the waitress informed us that we were at “The Palace”. As we finished the meal, we wondered “Where’s Effie?” as her phone msgs were telling us she was at the Palace looking for us!!!
Several phone messages later, Effie arrived with her husband Chris and a wonderful hand made sign with the HLW Skypers logo on it. (It was then we realised that we were at the Palazzio restaurant and not the Palace!) We got to drink tsikoudia together and catch up on so much!
Did meeting up disappoint? Not at all. Online friendships are made even firmer by meeting face to face. People’s personalities still shine through digitally and Effie and I chattered away like long lost friends. We (and our husbands) shared fun conversations and spent a number of hours exploring the history and the beauty of the Venetian Port. Cobbled streets in the Old Town featured an array of wonderful shops.
Chris, Effie’s husband could not speak English so some of the conversations had to be interpreted. Effie really made me think when she commented: “Why should he learn English? Instead why shouldn’t you, Anne, learn Greek?” (So much truth here as often, we think that our language should be the focal language of the world.)
Thanks Effie and Chris for the warm welcome and wonderful evening that we spent together. Looking forward to further connections! It is indeed a “Little World”.
Read Effie’s great post Technology – A Bonds Breaker or Connections Creator
Have you ever met any of your globally distant PLN f2f? Is so, what were the outcomes?