Sunday, June 07, 2009

Weekly Geeks June 7: More Summer Fun - Meeting book buddies abroad for summer

Even though the weather here in Copenhagen, Denmark, is not all that summer-ish today, there is no doubt that summer is here! Weekly Geeks this week is also about summer:

1) Make a reading list of your favorite children's (school aged) books to read over the summer.
2) Give us some fun activities to do during the summer.
3) Tell us about a favorite vacation spot. Maybe someone will want to go there too!
4) Tell us about a favorite summer memory you have of being a kid (the time you caught the big one, learning to swim, summer camp, etc).

I am going with no. 3. For many reasons. I would have liked to do no. 1, but I am afraid Danish school-age books will not hold the biggest interest here ;o) For no. 2 I feel completely blank and no. 4....well, sadly enough I can't really remember any favorite summer memories from when I was a kid. This is not exactly true, but my childhood memories seems blurred, right now I can only remember being depressed when school began again ;o) So I am going with no. 3. To keep it book-related, let me tell you a little story!

In 2002 I joined an online book-club which set up as an MSN-group. 2002 was before blogging really took off, it was before Facebook, Web 2.0, Twitter and so on. It was also before there were ANY Danish sites about books (this has changed since then, but in 2002, I could not find any Danish clubs about books), so I joined an American online book club.
And what are the odds? The founder of the club, a young woman in California, was married to a Dane! This made me feel at home immediately, and the online book club became one of the best online places to hang. Activity was huge, there was always something going on, and our community grew quite close. We did discuss books, met in chat rooms to talk about Book of the Month and so on, but we also talked about other things. It was great, great, great fun. Over the years, the club grew and became one of the most active book-club on MSN. It grew so much, that we decided to hold a "convention" during the summer of 2004. The convention was held in New Orleans. It was mega-hot and humid, but tons of fun.

Earlier that year, the founder of the club and her husband had visited me and my better half in Copenhagen as a part of a longer trip to visit his family in Denmark, and it had been great fun as well. So we decided that since I was determined to go to the convention in New Orleans, we could as well make it into a vacation and an opportunity to see more of USA. So my better half and I travelled to California where we stayed with the founder of the online club and her husband in their home. Of course we wouldn't have dared to go living with someone we didn't know, but we had hit it off when they visited us, and we felt completely at ease in their company.
Meeting some of the other members of the club in New Orleans was a great experience too. We did talk about books, but we also went on tours, played the slot machines in the casino, ate beignets at the Café du Monde and much more. I have longed to go back ever since!

But the main part of the vacation was spent on the Westcoast, in California, which neither me, nor my better half had visited before. One of the places we went was to Santa Cruz, where I have also wanted to spend more time since then. Santa Cruz is to me the essence of old time summer with the board walk, the amusement-park on the board walk, the smell of candy and hot dogs, the ocean, the kids on rollerskates etc. I really liked the ambience there. I am not usually a softy or a romantic, and to Santa Cruz natives, I may have misunderstood it all, but Santa Cruz is summer to me! I would like to go back, although the ocean was darn cold, even in the height of summer.....

I actually had the chance to go back in May 2007, where we once again held a book club convention. This time we had it in Las Vegas, and this time I also brought my sister, cousin as well as my better half. We spent 3 glorious weeks in California (staying with our friends, road tripping and having fun), Seattle and Las Vegas. On our road-trip we did stop in Santa Cruz, but only for a few hours!

Since 2007, MSN has closed their group-feature, but a core of members are still meeting online on a regular basis through Facebook etc. I am grateful for those friends, which I have met both online and in real life!

What place is the essence of summer for you?
All images are from Santa Cruz, shot in August 2004


Beth F said...

Wow! It's amazing isn't how well we can get to know people online. At BEA, I felt completely at ease will all my twitter and blogging friends. I'm so glad to hear that you got to experience some of the same.

Rikki said...

Sounds like you had fun times in the US. The convention sounds like a great idea, too. Happy Sunday!

Louise said...

Beth, yes, I think it is amazing and I've had so much fun with my friends from the online club and am happy that we are still in touch through Facebook etc.

Rikki, yes, I did have fun in US and I certainly hope to go back soon again.

Scrap girl said...

Sounds like you had a fantastic time. How lovely to spend so much time with like minded book buddies.

pussreboots said...

Santa Cruz is always cold. That's why the wet suit was invented there. Sounds like a great group of book lovers you met online.

Louise said...

Scrap Girl, it was lovely to meet the book buddies and I hope to meet them again, even though MSN closed their group-thing.

Louise said...

Pussreboots, my experience exactly! all the way on the Nortern Californian Coast....brrrr, that ocean is COLD :-) But I still adore that stretch of coast.

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

What a great story, thanks for sharing! I've never met anyone in person that I only know from online, but it's nice to know that it can happen without being awkward. I hope I can go to come book blogger things in the nearish future, when I have money and stuff :) Happy Sunday!

Louise said...

Thanks Kim - after the first 5 minutes, I haven't felt awkward meeting friends from online. But I guess it depends on the occasion. I have never dated anyone online, I guess that is a whole other ball park concerning awkwardness and such. But meeting online book buddies has so far been great fun!

Chris said...

What a great story! I'd love to meet my online book club in person.

Louise said...

We knew each other well in the online club before we met, and even though some were different from what I had thought, it really was like we knew each other very well :o)

Dreamybee said...

How great that you found a group of people that you had such a connection with and that it turned into some great summer memories for you too!