October 24, 2011
On Friday morning, I traveled nearly 1500 miles to spend the weekend with 50 other women, only one of whom I’d ever met in real life.
Is that crazy? I think that might be crazy. But you know what?
The entire weekend was fabulous.
That first night in The Blathering ‘Living Room’, I took a moment to sit and just look around at everyone. It was my Twitter stream, come to life. I have spent the past few years- or at least months- talking with these same people daily through Twitter, blog comments, and sometimes emails. We have laughed together over stories about our kids, our husbands, our jobs, our families, and cried and offered sympathy and support during really crappy times. Some of them live 3 timezones away from me. And yet- here we all were, in the same room at the same time, all up in each other’s faces, instead of just our Twitter streams.
Surreal. (ooh. THAT is my word!)
The thing that sticks with me the most is how different we all are. Different ages, different backgrounds, different current life situations. Some of us have kids, some have no kids, some are divorced, or married, or re-married, or have stepkids, are currently pregnant with their first babies, pregnant with seconds or thirds, working, not working, shy, outgoing, hilarious, reserved… and yet. We all got along. As far as I could tell (and I’m happy if you choose to not break my Bubble of Oblivion on this), there was very little drama throughout the weekend. I mean BESIDES the cranky old neighbor who nearly had a coronary over street parking, and the suspicious lady in the hotel who we’re pretty sure was a hooker. But that was FUN DRAMA. The good kind.
When I think about all of us as Grown Ups, so so different but still so much alike, I wonder… would we all have been friends in high school? Think about THAT for a minute. heh
(I don’t have an answer, obviously. I just think it’s funny to think about sometimes.)
On the more practical side, a few people who didn’t attend (and some who had NO IDEA what I was doing in Austin!) have asked about The Blathering and what exactly it is. What do we DO there? You can find out more at the website, but really it’s just a weekend for a bunch of bloggers to get together and have fun. The social part of social networking, if you will. No sessions, no swag, no fancy invite-only parties. A few organized events if you’d like to attend them, and the rest of the time is yours to do whatever you want. Just get yourself to the city and go from there! (And for those of us with kids, we were DRUNK ON FREEDOM!!)
Friday night was the kickoff event, a BBQ party at the house where the organizers were staying. Food, drinks, sparkly cowboy hats, and cute nametags.
Saturday morning was sleeping in (kinda) for me, then coffee and visiting in the lobby for a bit. We slooooowly all made our way out for the day, and by lunchtime we were headed to the Gypsy Picnic in downtown Austin. (Some people did other things- shopping, movies, etc, and that was totally cool too!)
Which is basically food. From trucks. GOOD FOOD.
And dirty feet from the sandy dirt blowing around. But it didn’t matter.
In the afternoon we took a break for some coffee and conversation (and laughing until my FACE HURT. Is that not the best ever?) then wandered aimlessly through the vintage shops of Austin.
That night we all gathered at Z Tejas for a private dinner with queso and half of a margarita that nearly knocked me on my butt. I am SUCH A LIGHTWEIGHT.
A farewell breakfast Sunday morning back at the ‘Living Room’.
And then… it was over. It’s really hard to sum it all up. It was my first time going to a major blogging event, meeting a huge group of new people. I was nervous and anxious and honestly I wasn’t totally sure what to expect. I’m thrilled that the whole weekend went beyond what I had imagined. By like a BAJILLION.
We all said it many times throughout the weekend, but it bears repeating. You all? You are My People. You are why I keep blogging. These connections are real, and I thank you for them.
(Also, a huge gigantic thank you to the organizers. You all did an amazing job making us all feel comfortable and making it fun, and we truly appreciate it! You guys rock.)