Ten Things of Thankful #54

Having managed to drive past one another no less than twice, and her car having missed our rendezvous entirely, I first met Christine ‘For Reals’ in a baking hot, glassed-in bridge over a motorway. We hugged straight away and I shyly said hello to the friend who she’d spent the past couple of days with, then we all giggled as we shared our various stories of how complicated it had been to actually MEET (NB – if you are ‘Murican, don’t try to drive in England. We do it differently. It will confuse the heck outta you).

All the way home, as we nattered, there were surreal moments where we’d sneak a look at each other and screech “I can’t believe this is REALLY HAPPENING!” – I mean, we’ve only been planning this for about a YEAR!

And it really did happen. So here’s the tale you’ve all been waiting for…

It began, as all good, English stories should, with afternoon tea.

Afternoon Tea With Christine

We went straight round to Mum and WonderAunty’s house, partly because Christine and WonderAunty have been developing a sweet email friendship (behind my back?!) and because their house has the *perfect* garden to host something like Afternoon Tea. There was much more chattering and comparison of Things English and Things American as I prepared the repast

There were homemade scones and strawberry jam and clotted cream (which, Christine assured me she will tell you is actually VERY yummy, in spite of sounding gross), there were cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off (for tradition’s sake), there was a biiiiiiig china pot of tea, there was Eton Mess (chopped strawberries, whipped cream and crumbled meringue mixed together into a heavenly pink perfection) and to round things off, a large, homemade chocolate cake.

We chatted and I mentioned the beach, and we very suddenly all decided to go there. Christine and I arrived first, having driven through gorgeous early evening sun, and we went for a long, delicious walk of talking and sharing important things and silly things and having absolutely WONDERFUL chats. Then the others turned up and it all dissolved into silliness and paddling in the sea and taking a million photos and laughing and laughing.

Christine BeachAnd silliness…because always silliness…

Beach Christine 2On the way back, I drove us in a gorgeous loop through the New Forest National Park, where we saw wild ponies and wild cows (a new concept for C) and the beginnings of sunset and English Gentlemen playing Cricket on a Truly Real Cricket Green in front of a Pavillion (can pretty much guarantee *they* had some kind of strawberries about them, or picnics) and home via a small town absolutely steeped in Old Houses and Beautiful Architecture (and a Maserati garage…).

Then, because it was fun and because pigs and history, I took Christine to my New Favourite Bar – The Pig in the Wall (a sumptuous, eclectically decorated ancient hotel, built into the city walls, where they serve the most DELICIOUS cocktails, and the menus are stuck into pig-rearing books) – where we had cocktails. On empty stomachs.

Apple Bellini for Christine (Sparkling wine and apple puree)
Coconut Daquiri for me (White rum, coconut liqueur and lime juice)

We rolled outta there, too, and walked up through the Old Town under a warm, starry sky, to see some History (her mind was blown because in ‘Murica, y’all just don’t KNOW what something from the 14th Century looks like…well, Christine does now…) and decided that because it had been too late and too early and too complicated for a meal, we should just go for gelato.

Drunkish.

It was perfect.

Gelato with ChristineHome again, tired out and still buzzy to jump onto the Awesome Bloggers VidChat, where we giggled and had an absolute HOOT.

And then after some consternation over her husband’s flights (which caused a huge upset, but got fixed in the wee hours of the morning, when I was still up) Christine went to bed and I stayed up and blogged.

The next day we were both kinda subdued and although we enjoyed further chattering on the way to the airport, that feeling of the beginning of the end was starting to show. That and tiredness, probably.

We parted with a hug and a smile and the wonderful thought that next year I get to visit her.

It was a morose journey home, in spite of all the happiness, because in thinking about my trip to America, and the wonderful friends I’m going to meet for the first time ‘For Reals’, and how much it delighted my heart to meet Christine in person, and how hard it was to say goodbye, I can only assume that my Bloggy Tour of America is going to end in utter heartbreak because I will be leaving behind, perhaps forever, people whom I love very dearly, and by then we’ll have an additional year of friendship under our collective belts.

At that point I *almost* decided that it might be too painful, and maybe I shouldn’t come over after all, but Christine’s Song appeared, as if by magic, on the radio, and I decided that in spite of all the sorrow, it will definitely, definitely be worth it. Just like this was.

 

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99 thoughts on “Ten Things of Thankful #54

  1. Pingback: Childish Beliefs and Grown-up Realisations | Considerings

  2. I enjoyed your pictures! I do love occasions with the friends. This link up is the highlight of my weeks. I need the infusion of thankfulness in my life and this link up is a great reinforcement. I’ve even started a “calendar” for the things I’m thankful for over the weeks so I can just plug them into my posts. Blessings to you, Lizzi.

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  3. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN TO MEET YOU!!!! You and your mom and aunt throw one hell of a tea. It was delicious and beautiful and so much fun.
    I know you were second-guessing yourself half the time. I could tell, but you needn’t have worried. I can’t imagine how it could have been any better.
    I was mighty sad myself when it was time to say goodbye. Fortunately, I had Bryan and the rest of my vacation to look forward to and distract me. I’m glad that song came on for you, and even more so that you think of it as my song. 🙂
    And so begins the countdown to next year…

    Liked by 1 person

    • GOOD 😀 And yeah, of COURSE I was second-guessing, but that’s my nature. I did my best to take you at face value, and i think I succeeded. It was lovely, LOVELY to meet you and see you for real. And GOOD I’m so glad it couldn’t have been better.

      I’m just so glad that everything went ahead alright with Bryan in the end, and that it all worked out – that was kinda a hairy few hours there. *phew*

      And yes, I think of it as your song. It made me smile 🙂

      COUNTDOWN! WHOOT! 😀

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  4. How completely awesome!
    And holy crap do you ever put on a beautiful tea, madam!
    My favourite part about traveling to London for business was high tea. I did it at Harrod’s once, which sounds awfully cliché, but let me tell you it rocked my socks off! So much so that I used to order the full tea spread at the tiny Harrod’s restaurant at Heathrow during my layovers. Because hey, if I wasn’t going to have London as my final destination, I was still going to get the damned high tea experience at the airport, for crying out loud! 🙂

    So glad you had such a fantastic visit with a bloggy friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you 😀 It was truly a wonderful visit.

      Your visits in London sound fabulous, and i have to say, high tea at Harrods is probably la creme de la creme of high teas in the entire country. Wow! And why NOT, right? I’m glad it was so wonderful 😀 (who cares about cliche? There’s a reason it got to be that way, right?)

      And thanks – I really did try my best 😀

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  5. Wow …what a great post I am so happy that you had a great visit and that regardless of the endings you still want to visit America next year. I think Gelato made perfect sense, I loved all your pictures both of you were beaming; can’t wait to read Christine’s story!!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You were 100% right – my time with Christine was AWESOME.

      ‘Kayso, *technically* they’re more feral than wild, per se – they belong to people, and they get rounded up once a year for branding and checking and vaccinations and whatever, but yeah – they pretty much just live out there in the forest.

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      • In the forest? Again, you just introduced a new mental picture. I picture cows in fields, or out on the open range, not in forests. Oh, I learn so much by reading blogs!

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  6. This sounds like a dream come true. If you ever make it to Canada, or if I can ever convince my husband to get on a plane (are tranquilizers frowned upon??) to see his family in England, we are MEETING EACH OTHER. Love me some clotted cream.

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    • Tranquilizers? Nooooo – only frowned upon when people KNOW you’re administering them, amiright? 😀

      It really was a dream come true. I’ve been friends with Christine for over a year through the internets, and to be able to meet FACE TO FACE with someone I’ve developed such a strong friendship with was HUGE and wonderful and awesome.

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  7. Pingback: Thankful:Kansas Edition | Achieving Clarity

  8. Love the spontaneous beach visit and that bar? Sounds fabulous! What a wonderful visit – I love the silliness and deep talks and drinks – and your tea! cramming so much into one visit.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. AWWW what an amaaaaaazing wonderful visit it looks like you had. Going to the beach is perfection and you two are utterly adorable! I love that you guys were able to meet and that it was as awesome as you’d hoped it would be. That pink stuff still looks gross to me but I’ll take Christine’s word for it that it was fab, as would most anything be in a real English Garden. Whoot! And I know what you mean about not realizing how new ‘Murica is until we go tour EU. The first time I was in London, that was my number one “ooh and ahhh” thing – the amazingly gorgeous OLD OLD OLD buildings and kickass architecture.
    It will be hard to leave when you come but it will be worth it. Truly. I almost wish I still had my “real” job so I had to come over to your side of the pond often. But it was a “real” job with “real” hours….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh ack. Real with Real Hours is no good, though….no it wouldn’t be worth it – not now, not with Tucker 🙂 He’s more important, though it’s nice to dream. And goodness me, I think I’m going to have the most ROLLERCOASTER of a visit when I come over…I shall be spending every day on a SUPERHUGEHIGH of meeting someone wonderful who I know by heart, and then in pieces when I have to leave them…

      *if* you ever come over again, you have an open invitation to stay here with me, and I will throw you a garden party and make the delicious pink stuff (once you smelled it, you’d be sold, TRUST ME) and I’d take you to the beach and talk for hours. And probably go for cocktails and architecture and gelato as well.

      In fact it was SUCH a good time, I might make it the template for any visiting ‘Mericans 😀

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  10. 52nd! I love that you got to meet Christine IRL! I know you felt the same as I did, as though you’ve known each other forever.
    The tea looks awesome! Except for cucumber sandwiches. Clotted cream DOES sound disgusting. You need to provide more details.
    Your beach shore reminds me of a lake shore. No crashing waves? (That would have made a terrific picture, as a big breaker came rolling in, unbeknownst to the two of you.)
    I really love the picture of the two of you, obviously lit, as you eat gelato.
    Glad you had a great time. Don’t be sad – it’s a beginning, not an end!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not sad – happy I had the experience, SO happy that she took time to come and see me…but also missing her and wishing we had more time and…ohhh it’s going to be how the whole of my trip will be! I’m going to spend the entire time vacillating between being SUPERSOVERYEXCITEDOVERTHETOPHAPPYTOMEETPEOPLE and in floods of tears when I leave them behind. I think I’ll need a holiday to recover from the time away…!

      No crashing waves, THANKS! It’s protected by the Isle of Wight, though there are places on the south coast where you’d get that. And the gelato was INCREDIBLE. In honour of Christine I had an M&M flavour. I can’t remember what she had.

      Clotted cream is thick and delicious and gooey and it has this weird bit on the very surface to keep it packed in the tub, and I think they boil it to separate it a bit, so the fatty crap rises up to the top and sets, and then the rest goes silky and thick.

      It felt SO ODD to be really for real there, when our hearts felt like they knew one another…very weird, but also lovely 😀 Can’t wait to meet YOU, Dyanne! Apparently you are “taller than you’d ever expect” 😀 but yeah, you told me once you ‘write short’ 😉

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  11. I love this story of friends meeting for the first time in person! Sounds like it was a wonderful visit. I know how Christine felt when she first saw the architecture in Europe. I remember when I went to France I was BLOWN AWAY by the beauty of the buildings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ohhh where did you go in France? I’ve been to Monaco and Paris before, and Paris had STUNNING architecture, and it gave damn good statue, too. Wow! Those ones on the bridges…AMAZING.

      I love that I have all this history around me to take for granted. Christine reckoned that when I come to the US, I’m gonna have my mind blown by how NEW everything is.

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  12. I love this so much I want to kiss my computer screen! Except I’ve seen what has been on there….
    So much BEAUTY! When I visited England, my aunt’s proper neighbor made us a proper tea (which I don’t like tea, but when in Rome….) no, we didn’t go to Rome. The clotted cream was amazing and she made us berries with a meringue and it was one of the best desserts I’ve ever eaten, surprising for something with no chocolate 🙂 We went to South End to look at the ocean, eat amazing fish and we could see big pink JELLYFISH in the water, so hopefully they weren’t right by you guys! Looks like you had super big fun! Wish I could have been there, or at least gotten on the vidchat earlier. Can’t wait until Friday nights are not torture to stay awake anymore! Miss your cute voice and cuter FACE!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ohhh but you make my HEART SMILE 😀

      I didn’t make it to vidchat last night – trying to discover if ANYONE did! It was a weird night, but I was snowed under with a bajillion things.

      Your visit to England sounds AMAZING. Proper tea is nice and I love it, but Christine didn’t. She did try it though (bless her boots). Your dessert sounds like a pavlova kind of affair – very scrumptious, and you KNOW I would choose that over chocolate any day!

      To my shame I don’t know where South End is, but there were no jellyfish, just seaweed, seagulls and the smell of the ocean under the sun. It was BEAUTIFUL.

      And my drink was INCREDIBLE. I recommend it to ANYONE. It was deeeeeeeee-licious. Looking forward to having you back on Fridays. I miss you ❤

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  13. “every picture tells a story, don’t it?” (R. Stewart)

    excellent photos (I was trying to find the name of the book that the bird watcher people carry around, I think it’s the Audubon Society.. but had no luck making a reference that would make any sense…anyway)
    there will be a day when I will want to borrow the photos of you and Christine … (‘a clark and a scott, on holiday’)
    I totally enjoyed the vidchat with you and Christine and them… fun

    Liked by 1 person

    • Certainement. Steal any pics from the blog that you wish. Mi pictures es su pictures. Or something 😀

      It was FUN! And I shall be fascinated to see what your observations of us were – what happened to last night? I got a notification while I was still amidst things, and then when I went over…nada!

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      • …mostly who is scott and who is roger

        (last night was zoe and denise and myself Denise had to soak her lousy head* and zoe and I stayed on until about 8:30 ..9 was fun and a demonstration of the whole cool thing that you and Michelle are the hostesses of …sort of a hangout in the ether).

        * an old joke

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          • damn! I apologize! I did not intend to infer in anyway that you were a roger. (don’t you love the un-noticed mistakes*)
            Naturally I meant to type clarks and scotts and in the photos I was seeing some of the non-verbal stuff (especially in the one where you are both wearing red!)

            (do I have the option to edit my Comment? if not… please go ahead and make that change)

            *yeah, only clarks would make a distinction between noticed and un-noticed mistakes

            Liked by 1 person

            • *phew* And yes – you figured out how to edit…which is more than I’ve done, I think!

              Perception is everything. And of COURSE I would wear red to meet Christine. I tried to have my hair dyed by then, too, but it failed and I only got it done this week *sigh*

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  14. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!!! I just think this is beautiful, amazing and truly an incredible experience I wish I could have too!!

    I WANT TEA and all those DELICIOUS DELICACIES AT MUM AND AUNTY’S HOUSE!!! I WANT GELATO AND OH.MY.GOSH. THAT DRINK!!! (Yours- not Christine’s) I want to see cows and ponies run free! I want to sit in the garden, and the pig’s den, (ha) and put my feet in the beach’s tide! I wanna see something from the 14th century and oh yeah…

    I WANNA SEE YOU!!!

    Such a beautiful thing, this was. SO happy you and Christine had such a special time together. Those pictures are so adorable!! There. See? I grew up. Back to 46. Just had to get all that out. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Never grow up. And you are welcome here ANY TIME EVER – just let me know and we will do ALL THOSE THINGS and more, if you’re able to stay longer than the few precious hours I had with Christine. Honestly, it was INCREDIBLE – we crammed all this into just 18 hours….! Wow!

      COME AND SEE MEEEEEE. I would *love* that – I was just saying to Kerry that if it was you and I who had met up, she would have heard the explosion of noise and happiness from where she sat… 😀

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  15. I thought you were talking about blond Christine (Carter) but this Christine looks super lovely! I’m a bit behind so I’m trying to play a serious game of catch-up but I’ll get there.
    You looked like you had a great time! I mean how can you not with the day you had!?!

    Liked by 1 person

    • This Christine *is* super lovely. And if I had met Chris Carter, you would have heard the noise from here, I think. She and I together ALREADY are THEE most excitable. I think when we meet we’ll either burst into tears or shriek with laughter or fall down from shock. Or all three at once. Any which way, there will be bruises and NOISE and lots of love 😀

      Have you met anyone bloggy?

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    • Well I’m SO relieved to hear that. I think the parting will be difficult, but if it’s worth it, then GREAT! I had a lovely time, and I’m glad you’ve enjoyed meeting your most wonderful friends in person, too 🙂

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  16. There were homemade scones and strawberry jam and clotted cream (which, Christine assured me she will tell you is actually VERY yummy, in spite of sounding gross)

    It does NOT sound gross to me!

    Real-life meetups are awesome! Cimmy and I have done it a number of times– our last real life meetup with an online friend yielded us a very real bestie, someone Cimmy affectionately calls her “big sis”… would you believe I got to know her first?

    This also reminds me I need to hunker down for Bradley “Green Embers” Corbett’s “Building Rome” project as well as see about joining this blog hop, if I may… I did mention the short-form goal site 43Things, didn’t I? If I didn’t, well, you’ll see soon enough…

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    • You did, you did, and I checked it out and everything 😀 It’s a really good idea. I like it, and I’m happy you want to bend it around the edges a little so you can join it in here, too – that’s very cool.

      WHO DID YOU MEET?? That’s so awesome that you got to be so close with the blogger you met. Brilliant stuff. I love it when there’s that *click* and you realise you get on with someone very well indeed.

      And no – it’s not gross, but so far the opinion on behalf of the Americans when they heard the word ‘clotted’ was to wrinkle their collective noses in disgust.

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      • She’s known as Refiner on the ‘Net: http://www.refinersvengance.com/ but actually I met her through a clan I was a part of for Runescape. She was a homeless vet for a bit but literally lives on the road as a long-haul truck driver. She had a previous job as a database administrator and promises to help me either with getting a Minecraft server going or setting up self-hosted WordPress.

        Cimmy and I also went to Ann Arbor to meet the community of Grex (www.cyberspace.org)… that trip didn’t turn out very well in the long run of things (not in touch with ANY of them now). Understand, it was 1998, 1999 or so, well before blogs really took off. But, that shambling remains of a Bulletin Board System– the Internet communities of the 1980’s– it’s still running, albeit on FreeBSD on modern desktop hardware instead of UNIX on a VAX server. I’ve seen the old server in person but not the new one.

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        • Wow, you’re well connected allllllll the way back 🙂 I’m glad you had such a great meeting. I think I’ve heard of runescapebbut the rest is beyond me, I’m afraid 🙂

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          • The context isn’t all that important… Refiner and I connected over a love for kite flying, and it just went from there. I am pleased that we all have had a good friendship with her and her driving partner; she’s very sweet and I am especially grateful she connected with Cimmy, too.

            Liked by 1 person

            • That must be the best thing – when these friendships are made stronger and stronger, and develop beyond the realms of ‘teh internets’ and into real, genuine bonds with someone you know well. Lovely 🙂

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    • Ohhh it’s SO GOOD! You could definitely make it – it’s the easiest thing ever (provided you remember to bring your electric whisk, which I didn’t, and we had to whip the cream with an ancient hand-held whisk, and it was EFFORT! Ohhhh myyyy!)

      It was AMAZING though.

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  17. This was just plain awesome! I loved that you shared all of this with us. I know it was fun that weekend to see the glimpsed of your time with Christine via social media.That photo of the two of you in the ocean is still my fave 🙂 It’s so strange, but exciting, to think about meeting someone from the blogosphere. Vid chats are cool but to actually be able to stand next to them, hug them, all of it….very cool!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes – it was great to have you guys ‘along for the ride’ via SM, but this is such a nice story to tell – I thoroughly enjoyed writing it and reliving all those wonderful moments. Christine is such a lovely, lovely person.

      And YES I know – it was the weirdest thing, because we both felt like we knew each other really well (which we do) and that we could be quite comfortable in each others’ presence, but at the same time, the REALITY of our physical selves there was….weird.

      ANYWAY. It’s GONNA HAPPEN, so get used to the idea – you and I MUST meet. And it will be weird and wonderful and bizarre and strange and hopelessly perfect, and all the things in between ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Delicious, delightful and full of luscious joy. Meeting in the Real World is such an amazing thing AND so tricky. Remember, on you trip to America, you have at least me in California. Not sure if you will get this far, but I can dream of you and I on my favorite beach giggling and silly making with our toes in the water.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually DO plan to end up in Cali – not sure how long for, but it would be AWESOME to meet you in person, For Real. Let’s make it happen if we can (and BEACH?! YES PLEASE!) It was tricky, but amazing, and TOTALLY worth it – Christine is a delight.

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  19. I am back after a night at our local carnival with the girls and just had to stop by to read about your adventure with Christine and so happy I did. Definitely made me smile and the song definitely perfect timing and just purely perfection. Hugs and will most likely be off the circuit for this weekend and next, too (as next is the 4th of July and my great-aunt’s 90th birthday bash). But still wanted to say hi and promise will return soon 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ohhhh but a carnival with the girls sounds simply delicious! No wonder you said it was crazy chez toi – I hope you had an absolutely gorrrgeous time. I’m so glad you popped over though, and saw what fun I had with Christine. It was utterly amazing 🙂 *hugs* Sounds like you have some lovely, fun things lined up. I hope you enjoy them HUGELY.

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  20. Pingback: T. G. I. Ten Things Thankful | Not a Punk Rocker

  21. How fun that you were able to meet up with a blog friend. I would like to do that, someday, but it likely wouldn’t require a trip overseas. There’s lots of bloggers here in ‘Merica. 😀

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    • You’re lucky then. And I am HUGELY fortunate that she was coming overseas anyway on the Trip Of A Lifetime – I’m just so thrilled I got the chance to be part of it 🙂

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  22. This is so exciting and special! I can’t even believe what it must feel like to see someone – and HUG them – that you know so well, but have never actually seen in person! It’s so cool. How lovely of you to plan such sweet things for you two to do. I adore reading about this, and seeing the photos of your time together.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I only planned the afternoon tea – the rest was magically, entirely spontaneous. Which was awesome.

      And how it felt was…bizarre, actually. For a long time. I think for me more than Christine because I got all *stuck in my head* at points, and had a tendency to over-think things, as I am wont to do. But I’m pretty certain she had an amazing time, and certainly she said all the right things.

      I wonder if I’m better on paper though…

      BUT yes it was totally incredible and I love that it happened.

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  23. Thank you, thank you for the blow-by-blow! Loved reading every detail! Can’t wait for your trip to ‘Murica! Oh, how I hope I get to see you!
    And, listen, I’m not gonna be as lame as I was last week. I’m gonna make up for it! And I’ve written in a partial, kinda-sorta explanation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey chill – it’s all good 🙂 I sucked last week and didn’t even get to everyone.

      And I can’t wait either – I REALLY hope I get to meet you for real. That would be AMAZING 😀 Glad you liked all the detail – I tried my best 😀

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  24. I can’t believe you guys met. How fun! I love the beach pictures and how the sun looked while you were there. Was it sunset? How wonderful! I love hearing when people meet in person after blogging in this community for so long that it’s like they are long lost friends or something when they finally get to meet. 🙂

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    • This is true, though in the darkest recesses of my mind I did have a tendency to second-guess myself CONSTANTLY and wonder if all was as cheery and full of sunshine as it seemed, but accepting things at face value, YES we both had a gorgeous time 🙂

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