This weekend I attended the wedding of a couple that I have never met face to face, and yet they are people I consider good friends. Our friendship has been years in the making despite our never having met. It all began my senior year of college….
In the winter of 2008 I was in my senior year of RISD studying interior architecture, and I had spent the previous summer in Los Angeles dabbling in the tv/production design world. My friends new I was interested in working in film and when they saw an ad on a RISD board online, they sent it to me. I applied and started volunteering on the indie film Tanner Hall that was shooting in Providence. It was a tricky commute (as I could only use public transportation) and I really could only commit to 1 or 2 afternoons a week because of my tough RISD schedule, but I knew this was something I needed to do.
I took the job and worked as an intern along a RISD 2007 graduate named Henry. He was a great coworker and an even better friend. He knew I would walk a long way alone and then take a bus that wasn’t very safe to get to and from work, so on cold winter nights when it was after dark he would offer me a ride back to school which I happily accepted. Once the film wrapped we kept in contact via facebook and ichat but as time passed and we talked less and less.
In 2009 while visiting a friends house for dinner I met Mark, who I never knew at RISD but he graduated from there in 2007. He casually mentioned his friend Henry and how Henry worked on a film in Providence and we connected the dots. The next day Henry and I caught up on ichat and I was introduced to the amazing podcast that Henry (in Providence), Mark (in LA), and their other RISD grad friend Juan (in Chicago) worked on in their spare time: Life Is Bullshit. Henry insisted they needed a female perspective and that I should Skype with them. We ended up Skyping a lot which helped me get to know the person in the podcast that I never knew in person, Juan and also his girlfriend Alison (another 2007 RISD grad). Our podcasting sessions are coast to coast conference calls whenever a few of us are available. Mark edits them from hours of recordings down to around a 45 minute episodes.
Me, Alison, Henry, Juan and Mark together at last!
Cut to earlier this year when Juan and Alison get engaged. Here’s a couple I’ve only known via (albeit, many) hours of Skype chatting and the occasional video Skyping session, and yet due to social media I had forgotten that we’ve technically never met. One of my many goals for 2011 was to get to Chicago to meet them and then my “save the date” came in the mail and it became real. I wouldn’t miss this oppurtunity to not only meet them in person, but celebrate them as a couple while also reuniting with both Henry and Mark (who moved back home to Chicago only a few months after we met).
This past weekend we finally met face to face and it was fantastic. It was such a great experience being in a room with Mark, Juan, Alison and Henry all together and while it felt weird (because it was the first time ever) it also felt really right. Their families were so welcoming of me and their friends were so funny. Exploring Milwaukee was also new to me and while it’s a quiet city, it is quite beautiful. To protect their privacy, I won’t go into too many details about the wedding, but it was really something special.
I just can’t stress this enough, don’t let fear stand in your way. New people and new experiences don’t have to be awkward and painful if you go into it with a positive attitude. Many times in the creation of these friendships I could have said the easy thing which would have been “no” and I would have missed out on all of this. “This film job is too much of a hassle to get to, I won’t take the internship” and I never would have met any of these friends. It’s amazing the impact of one decision.
Check out the podcast, Life Is Bullshit, and subscribe on itunes. Hopefully now with some new schedules we will be able to pull off a new episode.. as well as a very special wedding recap.