I have met many fans online and some of them have become very dear to me, because we spent many hours chatting over the years through the various Pretender forums and continued that connection through social media or good old-fashioned emails. A few handles I will mention: Cassy, crackerjacknpez/sabs, mattali, and Quibus. Some of them have been pulled away from the fandom by other responsibilities and so we may not stay in touch as often but I always remember them and they have a place in my heart forever. They have inspired me and opened my life to new and exciting possibilities. Just last year Cassy and I took an online course together and I have Quibus to thank for finding a new obsession, even if to me, The Pretender will always be my favorite.
I have also been privileged to meet Kris who introduced me to Couchsurfing.org, and that’s had a huge impact on my life as I opened my home to visitors and even met new tP fans that way.
And…I am hoping to embark on a travel adventure courtesy of Cassy who has invited me to visit her…. across the miles… and I have also promised Sabs a visit…
All these things would not have happened had I not gone searching online when I discovered The Pretender and wanted more…I definitely got incredibly more than I could have conceived.
Before I end, I must also acknowledge and thank people like Jacci, Vania, chelle, Cate Barnes, Melissa Cunningham and Debbie who have done so much to support the fandom through websites and support for petitions and other campaign efforts of which I have been part. Without their tremendous efforts, who knows what would have been the state of the fandom because they are the ones who have helped to keep hope alive when things were not so hopeful.
Mallory and Vania had been chatting for months online, thanks to the Red File Project, but we only met live in October, during Vania’s honeymoon with Pedro (yes, Pedro, the Sweeper), who had just gotten married in the 19th.
Finally meeting each other face to face was an amazing experience, and one we will never forget. Mallory, who lives in Washington, D.C., traveled about 4.5 hours to the Big Apple, and Vania, well, she traveled all the way from Lisbon, Portugal… many more hours. But meeting up was destiny!
We met near the Magnolia Bakery in Grand Central Station – what better a place to meet than one of Jarod’s spots during his first escapade into the real world, right? The station was packed but we managed to find each other and soon we were out in the busy streets of Manhattan.
Trying to find a place to eat near the 5th Avenue, we ended up in a small diner/cafe, ordered some sandwiches, and had a few laughs. It was amazingly strange how comfortable and easy the conversation kept going! When we were done, we headed for Central Park. And what an amazing walk we had. The 3 of us found some great spots at the park as we discovered it together for the first time.
We kept walking and talking, discovering the little things about each other that we never do when we just chat online. But time went by too quickly and it was time for Mallory to go back home. But this meeting, although short, was just the beginning of a wonderful friendship that we truly cherish. We check in with each other every day, to the point that it feels weird if too much time goes by between talking with one another. As Jarod said, life is a gift, and so was the opportunity to meet, which was all thanks to the Pretender. If it wasn’t for this story, this connection, and this incredible fanmily, we never would never have discovered such a beautiful friendship.
Mallory, Pedro and Vania