This post is about my Real-Life Dream Date with Renee Schuls-Jacobson of RAS Jacobson’s Lessons from Teachers and Twits.
You can be jealous that I got to meet her. 😉
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“Do you actually know this person? Are you even sure she’s a woman? You better hope she’s not a psycho.”
My husband’s sentiments were bouncing around in my head as I approached the hotel. I know quite a few stories about people meeting online, and then traveling across the country to meet in person. (Well, she was actually tagging along on a business trip with her husband – not a trek JUST to meet me – but all the other criteria were the same as one of those weird internet-friendships-gone-bad stories.) I had to admit, on paper it did sound a little strange.
But I was drawn to her anyway.
Her text said she was at the corner of Canal and Camp, and that she was wearing an orange coat. As I looked down at the orange sleeves keeping me warm I thought “psychos don’t wear orange coats.” And I pulled over.
That’s when a bundle of energy named Renee Schuls-Jacobson jumped into my car.
She squeed. We giggled. We shared our thoughts that this was a little crazy. (Her husband suggested to her that I might be a psycho. Imagine that.) Then the adventure began.
For the next seven hours, hardly a breath was taken. We had so much to say. Having “met” online, we knew the cursory information about one another. But I had no idea I was meeting a kindred. Someone who – although from the other side of the country – felt as familiar as my next-door neighbor.
We traipsed through the French Quarter in search of a hat. (It was record-setting cold in New Orleans last week.)
We shopped for souvenirs in the Market. (I like this voodoo doll better than that voodoo doll.)
We sat on the banks of the Mississippi River talking about blogging and writing and social networking, and asked a stranger to take our picture. (Yes, we need you to use both cameras. We don’t actually know each other.)
We drove around the city on the ‘Tragedy Tour’ to see the Katrina damage, even hopping out of the car a couple of times to view things up close. (“Really, officer. We’re not trespassing, we were just looking. My friend’s not from here.”)
It was one of those intense bonding experiences like finding a BFF at summer camp. You just can’t squeeze enough in in the time you have together.
Hour after hour peeled away, and we still had so much to do and say. I kept thinking ‘I don’t want it to end.’ I was definitely smitten.
I wondered if our paths would ever cross again. She lived here once, many years ago. Perhaps I could convince her to move back… I mean, who wouldn’t want ME for a neighbor? Or perhaps ours was a relationship not meant to last, like a Tiger Lily that blooms only for a day.
My girl-crush was obvious.
I watched the clock and saw our time together dwindling down, and I started feeling a little anxious. But then I remembered our roots, that if the internet had brought us together, the internet could keep us together.
Relief. My girl-crush didn’t have to end that day.
By mid-afternoon I had to return to Real Life, and my new BFF had other friends to see (ones she actually knew before she got here). I had to give her back to her loved ones, and return to mine.
But the memories of our day together will always be special to me. And if our paths never cross again, if was only meant to be that once, I’ll have to come to terms with that. If there are no more memories to be made, I’ll cherish the ones I have.
Renee, we’ll always have NOLA.
Five fabulous things about Renee:
When she casts her eyes down to read a menu, she looks like Barbara Streisand. The restaurant was dimly lit, but her crystal eyes sparkled through her glasses. (I nearly swooned.)
She’s not as tall as I expected. Her online presence is BIG. I expected her to be taller. Turns out she’s a wisp-of-a-woman. And her hair is FABULOUS. (Is my crush showing?)
Her energy is contagious. When walking with her, my step had more spring than usual. My voice was a little more animated. Even strangers picked up on it.
She speaks about every one of her students like they are her favorite. Story after story unfolded about them, both past and present. I hope someday my boys have a teacher as committed to her students as she is.
Her novel is going to be fantastic. I’m hoping our bonding time here earned me a little shout-out when she’s doing the talk show circuit. Or at least a signed copy with little XOXOs under her name.
I (heart) you, Renee.
I heart this!!! A few days late (sorry) but I am grinning while I read!!!
I just heart this!!! And I adore you both!!
If only you had been here, too!
Now THAT would have been the very essence of awesomesauce!!!
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Wow, this was such a terrific and fun post! I, too, have met an awesome blogger buddy who is across the country from me-was an instant connect, and now we email personally, as well. I hope to meet her some day, and I believe so vice-versa. Thanks for sharing this experience with us, Lisha and Renee! It sounds like the best girl time ever (I vote to leave the hubbies out of it, only my 2 cents-oh, but wait, maybe that’s because I’m not married, LOL!) 😉
Make it happen! And then let us hear all about it.
So cool! My heart skipped a beat as I read that you were hanging out next to the mighty Mississippi river. It’s so funny to think that I drive back and forth over that same river regularly, yet so far from New Orleans! Great that you gals had so much fun. I will be thinking of you both the next time I see the river!
Well, Heather. One day soon, you should toss something in the river. Then I’ll sit on the banks 5 days later and wait for it to pass. It’ll be like you sent in downriver just for me! ❤
I'm curious… how wide is the Mississippi where you are? Here in NOLA it's about a half-mile wide!
Thanks for hopping over. You're such a great friend!
I fully understand your reaction to Renee. She is the daughter of my husband’s first cousin, so I remember when she was a baby and watched her grow up. Some day when I am brave enough, I may blog about her early days. Such as the time she was running around playing outisde stark naked? She was about 7 or 8, I think. But that’s enough to tell you that she’s always been a bit avant-garde. 🙂
Hi Marlene! I think everyone knows I like to run around naked. Not that much has changed. 😉
See you in June. I promise I’ll wear clothes! Probably.
Please tell me there are photos. Please…
I guess this makes me glad it was cold last week. No telling what kind of trouble we might have found if we’d been having tropical heat. 😉
Sufficiently jealous of your time with Renee and her time with you. Oh, and very, very happy for you both, too! Sounds like it was a fabulous date!
We need a group date next! I’m willing to travel!
Sounds like a fantastically fun day!! How wonderful!
It really was fun! Now I’m having my crush-fantasies about ALL of my blogger friends. I think YOU need to plan a road trip for us in that fancy RV you have!
I had the best day with you! And – just so we’re straight – I’m 5’6″. Not all of us walk the Quarter in 4 inch heels! You are a goddess!
I was crushing sloppily all over you, too.
And we will meet again.
Because we have so much more to say. And learn. You are wonderful, Leeeeeesha! And any bounce you felt in your step was because I felt that energy coming from you.
So happy our husbands were wrong. Let’s have them meet next time.
Or not. 😉
Well, spelling your name wrong makes us even for mispronouncing my name. Right?
Now, I feel the need to address this. I was going on a date with my Internet girl-crush, so I didn’t want to look short. Those boots were my desperate attempt to be closer to eye level! There are about 9 adults I know who are my height. (Is my short-girl sensitivity showing? Oops.)
And you can call me any name you want. As long as you call me! ❤
You were a real trooper hiking around in those high heels while I tromped about in my plaid Rocketdogs.
And anyway, we were the same height when we were sitting down. 😉
So happy for you both (found you through the crush-worthy Renee)!! What an amazing “date” 🙂
I’m still all a-flutter! 🙂
So fun! I am so delighted you two wonderful gals got to meet and had such a lovely time:)
It really was fun. I must figure out a way to make blog-friend-traveling tax deductible!
Seriously! Let me know when and how you do that:)
Seriously, that could be our next book! We have to blog across America and hook up with bloggers! What do you say? 😉
It could happen…
You can count me in, Renee!
I found you via Renee’s blog post — I LOVE this post, too — I am so envious that you got to meet one another! As I told Renee, I simply couldn’t pick one bloggy friend to meet, I would need a road trip. So happy you two met! Lovely post!!
Thanks, Julia! I felt like a groupie meeting her Rock Star!! We had a great time, and got to be all razzy with our husbands because neither of us turned out to be a psycho!
Lisha, if you don’t know Julia — well… you should. She is the bombiest bomb. I would love to watch her write one of her cool thank you notes. Because she writes on every day.
She’s that grateful. 😉