Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Truth comes out: I spent the past weekend in the California sunshine, hiding away from the grey NW not-quite-spring and enjoying the company of nearly 50 other homeschooling moms.
If you know very much about me at all, you are shocked and amazed that I partook in such an event. I'm not known for being especially social (who can forget my Christmas party run-in with the antler-sporting pastor?), and by the time you factor in my frugal ways and distaste for leaving my children for any real length of time ... well, let's just say I'm not a good candidate for a weekend away with 50 of my closest computer friends.
It was my husband who really pushed for me to make the trip. Convinced in February that by the time May rolled around I would be in need of some R&R, he urged me to commit to going. After doing some digging, he was able to land an unbeatable price on tickets to sunny Southern California, thanks in part to the fine folks at Alaska Airlines. Their mileage deals are pretty decent in the world of air travel; we only paid a fraction of the cost of what a ticket was worth. Add that in to the fact that I had enough money set aside from working at MOPS to cover the hotel, and I really couldn't find any other reason to balk. And, in the end, my husband was right--by the time I saw May looming in the distance, I was nearly drunk on the idea of not being a full-time mommy for a handful of days. Funny how God works those things out, isn't it?
The social aspect wasn't as easy a hurdle to jump. I admit to getting a bad case of cold feet as I stepped off of the plane. Within minutes, I'd be strapped into a car with not one but three perfect strangers. This sort of thing doesn't happen to me on a regular basis. Heck--this sort of thing has never happened to me! And yet, there I was ... standing in a sea of fellow travelers, looking for my ride as I stood on the curb at LAX. The hardest part for me was the knowledge that even once I began to feel comfortable with my driver and fellow passengers, the fun was not over. I would have to meet--and speak to--more new people. We arrived at the hotel, where I was greeted by about a dozen women ... all of whom know me by my SL username. It was surreal.
I was tempted to duck and run. I do that rather well; in a fight or flight, I'm most apt to take flight these days. But I hung in there and mixed and mingled. I definitely wasn't the most chatty or outgoing person in the group, but I think I held my own. There was so much activity and information--not to mention the other worldliness of having your imaginary friends come to life--that I found my head swimming on more than one occasion. At one point, I seized the opportunity to take a one mile walk by myself. My brain whirled the whole time, treading water in a lake of names and faces and new memories as I made my way up the beach. I made it back to the hotel with a clearer frame of reference and more stamina for the evening's festivities ahead.
I had a great time. The highlights of the trip were, not surprisingly, meeting the people I've known up til now as words on a screen. They are all very real, and very much the kind of friends I would hang out with IRL. Which I did. And even if it was only for a weekend, I'm glad I did it.