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Thursday 18 July 2013
It was so lovely to have Laura, but also rather surreal. I was deeply honoured that she wanted to come and see me but, once she arrived, it seemed like she was a part of the family and had been around for ever.
There were few quiet moments. We got a lot of stuff done, including something really cool, which I promise to tell you about as soon as I can. People came and went and Laura, in turn, charmed and was charmed. Christine arrived with food on Tuesday - best chicken and summer vegetable stew ever - and somehow that made the surreal, real. It is really wonderful to be able to introduce L to people whom she doesn't know but whose lives she has touched through her amazing work.
The other surreal thing was that I suddenly realised that Laura had come, with a sense of urgency, because she doesn't know if she will ever see me again. It hadn't really crossed my mind. I tend to view my intraweb friends as as real as my other friends, whom I see all the time. In fact, many of them are closer to me, and know more about me, than people who have been eating and dancing with me for years. To me, a physical presence is really not that important and I love the written word. Skype pings all my bells - except when my big brother shows me his motorcycle injuries "live" on camera. Therefore, I didn't feel the poignancy of the visit in quite the same way as Laura. I was just dazedly wondering what I had done to deserve such a lovely warm woman wanting to spend time with me.
I did that stiff upper lip thing of not crying. Laura did her best too. It was, for both of us, a gentle relaxation into the whole "sister that we've never had" thing.
We did do a lot of cross culture stuff too. L has never heard kitchen paper towel described as Elephant Loo Roll before - that tickled her. She found that all my friends were as obsessed with their dogs as I was - if not more so. She thinks that we complain way too much about cold, wet, miserable English summers and we really do drink that much tea.
I discovered that kettles that switch themselves off when boiling are not standard in the US, the definition hoovering is not what I thought it was, Americans can swear and that the British woman's ability to change out of a wet bathing costume with the aid of a towel and a bit of wriggling is a weird, amusing but amazing concept to our cousins across the water.
It was a learning experience for both of us and one I wouldn't mind repeating.