Monday, November 5, 2012

Friendship Spotlight: Jimmy

Anyone who blogs knows that getting blog comments is a true joy. Writing and uploading pictures is a fun, time-consuming business and it's always nice to hear some feedback from your readers. In fact, I think of comments as little tokens of appreciation for our efforts. It's like a proverbial tip jar for our online shares. Whenever we see an alert that we've received a comment, it's a highlight in our day. Also? Those of you who gripe when we don't post and who would like to see more posts on here? Commenting will feed the habit and keep us active on here (hint, hint!). Are you reading this right now? THIS MEANS YOU.

You know who didn't need to hear that little speech? Our regular commenters. I don't want to name names and risk leaving someone out. Oh wait, there is no risk. Outside of our family (including the Folson contingency), I would say our two most faithful commenters are, hands down, my sister-in-law Emily and my friend Jimmy. So, a big shout out to them. And Jimmy? This post is for you!

Back in 2008, I noticed that someone from New Mexico was visiting our blog regularly via Emily's blog. I emailed to ask her about it to see if she had any idea who it might be to which she responded, "Yep, it's my ex-boyfriend Jimmy. He LOVES you guys!"


Emily and I emailed back and forth about it a little bit as I tried to figure out what it was about us and our blog that made someone we didn't even know think so highly of us. I even reread some of our blog posts, scratching my head trying to see it through his eyes. I'm still not sure I've figured that out and my guess is that he thinks far too highly of us, but whatever it was and whatever it is, I'm so glad he started commenting and that he and I started emailing, because we have become fast friends these past several years.

And these emails are LONG. I have word counts on the brain, being that it's NaNoWriMo month, and I can only imagine the word counts of our email exchanges! We talk about everything from politics to religion to food to relationships to sports to friends to family to kids to pets to learning to childhood to travel to thoughts, ideas, and perspectives on everything! But the best, most overarching part of our exchanges has to be the honest, intelligent, sincere, analytical, kind conversations we have. I think we both learn more about ourselves and the world around us through our back-and-forth missives.

Sometimes months go by before either of us responds to the other (because the emails are that long and we're both that busy), but when we do, it's always so good to write and/or hear back from the other. They are often multi-color-coded as we respond to different points and questions. Our exchanges remind me of how I have felt whenever I've taken a really great class in college, always feeling pumped and fueled by the discussion - your mind expands, your thoughts build, you learn, you get excited about learning, and you want to learn more. I love that feeling! I value intelligent discussion and I value kind and honest friends - I think that's at least partly why Jimmy and I have connected so well. We can even call each other out on our stuff without judgment and it's met with openness and consideration. I love that in a friendship!

Also? I love that Jimmy comments regularly on our blog posts. I always love to hear from him and I think he is so incredibly thoughtful to be so active on our family blog and our kids' blogs, too. I find that to be really supportive. We all appreciate Jimmy very much around here!

I have several online friendships with people I haven't ever met in person. Many of them have lasted years (and continue today!). I have friends through my work as a former Google Answers Researcher. I have friends through blogging. I have friends who are friends of friends. I have always greatly valued my Google colleagues more than I can say - I've learned so so so much from them and we've all helped each other through some rough times. Many of us have been friends for over a decade. Those relationships are meaningful to me, despite the fact that I've only met a couple of them in person. I rank my friendship with Jimmy right up there, too! It was just about 4 years ago (right around this political time of year!) that I received my first blog comment from Jimmy. In fact, I just checked -- 4 years and 2 days ago today. And I'm so glad we connected.

So, here's the really cool part. We got to meet in person! We had talked about doing it the past couple of years whenever he'd have business out this way (D.C.), but the timing wasn't ever right. This year, though, we made it happen! On July 12th of this year, we went down to DC and met Jimmy after his business trip and before he flew home. We had a GREAT time!!

I was SO excited for this trip. We left early that morning and got down to DC, parked, and went to the restaurant that Jimmy suggested so we could have lunch together. As soon as we met up, I immediately felt like I was with an old friend. Conversation was easy and the food was fabulous. And Jimmy is even more awesome in person than he is in emails.

It's always interesting to meet someone in person with whom you've only ever communicated online. He was everything I expected, plus some. See, I already knew he was smart, easy to talk with, kind, insightful, remarkably open, logical, and all that good stuff. What I didn't know is how he would come across in person - the phrase that came to mind over and over while meeting him and visiting with him is "gentle soul." He is so thoughtful, kind, soft-spoken, generous, considerate of others and such, such, such a gentle soul. It was a delight to meet him and I'm so very grateful for him and glad that we're friends.

Jimmy treated us to a delicious lunch at Cuba Libre in downtown DC. The ambiance was incredible and the food was delicioso! Being in there reminded me of everything I've ever pictured about Cuba thanks to Ricky Ricardo. Lots of tall, green plants; beautiful, vibrant colors everywhere; wicker/fabric-type chairs, lively music, rum and cigars (heheh, just kidding - I mean they had rum, but we didn't have any), tile floors, sugar cane, and a gorgeous presentation of all their foods!

 Oh, the empanadas! 
Just writing this post now has me craving them and looking up recipes. 

While we waited for our food, Jimmy told us that he had gifts for all of us. I'm telling you, he's SO thoughtful and have I mentioned yet that he is such a kind, gentle soul? Gentle. Soul. Anyway, see, Jimmy loves New Mexico and often talks to me about the culture, food, and natural wonders there. We'd like their family to come visit us here and they'd like us to visit them in NM -- and we always emphasize the food we'd eat! Every gift he shared with each of us (even something for Scout!) was representative of some aspect of New Mexico and also representative of how well he knows us all since each gift also was something having to do with a hobby or interest that each of us enjoys. SO thoughtful. It was fun. We had a gift bag full of Hershey goodies for him, his wife, and his girls (he has 5 beautiful daughters). So, it was neat to exchange things that represented our respective states -- totally unplanned! How cool are we?!?

After we ate, we wanted to continue talking and hanging out until he had to go to the airport, so we walked around the area and discovered some neat places - we found the NPR building, some cool, old federal buildings (including a huge library), and we even found Chinatown (I didn't even know DC had one!). I knew he was there on business, but what I didn't know was that he had stayed an extra night and gotten a rental car just for this visit with us. That really meant a lot that he would do all that just to meet us. Like I said, I'm not sure what it is he sees in us, but we benefit from a wonderful friendship because of it, so whatever it is, I'm glad. I was grateful we got to talk more and spend more time together before he had to go. It all went by way too quickly!

Our family in Chinatown

Me and Jimmy in front of the "Friendship Arch" in Chinatown!

Thing 1, Thing 2, and Jimmy

So, thank you, Jimmy, for a great visit together in DC. We're excited to do it again sometime! And most of all, thank you for your friendship. I'm so glad we could meet. And I'm so grateful for you and our friendship!


jim said...

Great blog. As one of those who reads every blog and checks the site several times a day a totally ageer with you about Jimmy. He has that unique ability to make your day better with just a few kind words.
Thanks Jimmy for your uplifing way.

Jimmy said...

How do I humbly say you guys are making me feel kind of awesome?

It was great to meet you guys in person and you're exactly right, from the moment I saw you all walking up the street, it felt familiar. "Here comes my old friends that I've never seen before." How does that work?

Thank you for blogging. I can sum up reading your blog through my eyes like this: I wish I had the courage to say some of the things you've said with your degree of optimism and I wish I could say it with as much intelligence as you and Mark do.

And thank you Jim!

Dr. Mark said...


You don't have to be humble. Just feel awesome.

Thanks for always being one of those people Stacy can count on to comment. She LOVES to get comments (well, duh, right?) and I can say that when she sees that you've commented she gets very happy.

We loved meeting you in person, although like everyone has said, it was more of a reunion than first meeting.

We'll keep trying to sound optimistic and intelligent if you keep trying to comment and feel awesome.

Great post, Stacy!

Zelia said...

Now I feel like meeting Jimmy. He sounds awesome.

Zelia said...

Now I feel like meeting Jimmy. He sounds awesome.

Boquinha said...

Wow, posting about Jimmy brought Jim and my mother out of the woodwork. Or maybe it was my little speech. Either way, welcome!

Jimmy, what's interesting is that you're seeking a way to be humble when I really should've used that word for you when I wrote the post. It's another appropriate adjective, as far as I'm concerned. You may not think so, but don't be too hard on yourself -- we all have our moments. ;)

I also forgot to mention that I feel like we share a cultural heritage, even though we come from different cultures. There are enough similarities that we get each other, I think.

Thank you for the kind words. Thank you so much.

Emily Foley said...

So Jimmy and I have been friends far longer than we dated but you're right, he's just a good, nice, fun person. Obviously I think that, as I wanted to marry him at one point in my life. :) We used to have good emails too, we only talked once a week when I was at school and we were dating, so we emailed like crazy. Super long emails. When we broke up and I was trying to "get over him" I deleted all of them, and that is something I really regret. We had good conversations but I also wrote so much to him about myself that it would have been a nice journal for myself (though I was 19 and it's probably kind of embarrassing now, so maybe it's for the best that they're gone forever).

I'm glad you guys are friends and it feels nice to have facilitated that in an infinitesimally small way. I will admit I thought it was weird for a while, but now I realize you're much better friends than Jimmy and I are, so I'm glad for you.

Boquinha said...

I hear you, Emily. I had a BUNCH of very long letters from a guy I dated briefly and, in packing up some stuff from home, Mark threw them out. (He had reason - the guy was a real jerk to him). Okay, gotta tell the story.

The guy showed up after being out of touch with me for over a year and a half and KNOWING I was home from my mission AND engaged to be married and had HEARD me talk about Mark at great lengths before he eventually made moves to date me himself -- he had told me he had feelings for me but couldn't ever act on them when he saw the way I talked about Mark . . . and then eventually, I guess he changed his mind (this was all while Mark was on his mission and before I went on mine). ANYWAY, so he shows up knowing all that and with Mark sitting RIGHT there and me with a RING ON MY FINGER, ignores Mark completely and tells me he's still in love with me. Um, hello?!? Yeah, awkward moment, to say the least. Whew, that was a weird, tangential trip down memory lane. ANYWAY.

You HAVE facilitated our friendship -- thank you for that! It's almost bizarre (in a good way) how it all came together, but I'm grateful. Crazy story. Great friendship to come out of it. It's a small world after all . . .

Dr. Mark said...

For the record, I do feel badly about the letters. At the time I just didn't see the point in keeping anything from such a clown.

Emily Foley said...

Hilarious. To both of you.