I will admit it - at first I was not a fan of the idea of Facebook... then I got on it and realized that it's a pretty great way to share information and keep up with what is up in people's lives which is really helpful given how little time (sadly) we all have in life to make proper phone calls or visits to catch up. No Facebook will never replace real, live and in-person face to face time but it does help us stay connected... and sometimes it even leads to unexpected real, live and in-person face-to-face time. Let me explain...
Not once, not twice but 4 times now I have gotten to catch up with great friends in totally random places compliments of Facebook.
First instance we were in Scotland... had headed to the UK to do some space talks to schools with ISSET. At the beginning of it a few of us decided to make a stop in Scotland since we had never been. While we were there I noticed that our friends Vicki and Craig (who are from Australia and we had met in Fiji on our honeymoon) were posting about their travels and not only in the same country but were touring the same cities just 1 day ahead of us! Compliments of Facebook we were able to able to connect and meet up in person in London for dinner and a night out on the town. (Note that this picture is not from that meet-up but it is of us with Vicki & Craig!)
Next instance was probably the most bizarre of all. Last fall we were headed to Dublin to see the Navy vs. Notre Dame football game. Even though it was a heck of a trip for a weekend we were no kidding doing it in a weekend. I won't go into the gory details of how much United messed up on this one but since we had to connect in Frankfort we got stuck there for about 16 hours due to a strike by Lufthansa. Needless to say I was a rather unhappy camper about that so I ranted about it a bit on Facebook. Boy am I glad I did... got a message back from some of our best buds Tonto & Swani that they were in Frankfort for their connection home from Russia. We did a little sweet-talking to get ourselves into the area that they were in and sat around the United Club (whatever the equivalent there was called) and caught up for a little over an hour until they had to fly to Houston.
The third instance happened in New York City. I was in NYC with my mom - Mom had never been there so I thought I would take her there for a new adventure. We had bought tickets to see "Kinky Boots" (which I still need to get off my butt and write a blog about too!) and as we were prepping to head there I saw my dear friend Gary post on Facebook a picture he'd taken and tagged as in New York City currently. I immediately shot off a text to ask if he really was in NYC to which he replied Yep! Knowing that time was of the essence I called to see what he was up to... unfortunately he was extremely busy with some Social Media Conference he was going to and was only in town for about 24 hours so sadly he wasn't going to be able to get together with us to hang out at all. It was further crazy that he was staying at the hotel that is my "usual" Times Square Hotel but we weren't staying there because by the time I had gotten around to deciding that we were going the hotel had gotten way too expensive. We ended the call both lamenting that it was too bad we were both in the same city but that our schedules just wouldn't cross. Not to be deterred I decided that I could manage to hoof it over to the bar Gary was sitting in and would have just about 5 minutes to do a Hug and run in order to get to the show on time. Gary was quite surprised when I showed up and it was great to be able to say Hi "live and in person" even if it was just a quick visit.
The latest instance just happened and it's funny because I was going to "publish" this blog before leaving for London but just never got around to writing the last of it. One of our favorite Ensigns (recent Naval Academy Graduate) was on leave and flying Space Available around Europe. Upon my arrival in London I had a Facebook message waiting for me that he too was going to be here! We had no idea! So we managed to meet up with him at a London pub for a beer or 2! (Actually we were sad we were too busy to get to do more with him but C'est la vie!)
So while Facebook has helped me to keep up with so many people virtually perhaps what I love the most is that it's helped me connect in person with these dear friends who I might have missed seeing otherwise! Even Ken (who is seriously anti-Facebook) has to admit that it's pretty dang cool for that purpose!