July 14, 2010

Okay, so I may not be the most computer-savvy person using the internet these days. I may not know how to plant a virus. I may not know how to search for a little piece of useless information. But I do consider myself somewhat knowledgeable on how to use the computer and the internet.

So, even though there may be thousands of programs available now, a multitude of video sites, loads of ‘friend’ sites, there are two that I am beginning to have a greater respect for: SKYPE and Facebook.

Since February 2010, Facebook has become one of my favourite sites to visit on the internet. Almost as popular a site to visit, for me, as my email. Actually, I don’t even check my email as often as I visit Facebook.

Whether it be to catch up on games, or chat with friends and family in Canada or Taiwan, there is always something I can do on Facebook. A few people have mentioned that I have too many games on the go on Facebook. That may be true, and I certainly agree! However, like my schools here in Taiwan, where each one uses a different set of books, on Facebook, my friends and family use or play the different games.

Everyone is an individual, and everyone likes something different. I’m no different myself. There are friends that play Treasure Madness. Others play Slots. FarmVille still seems to be popular, but I’ve noticed that more and more people are dropping out of it in lieu of playing of FrontierVille.

One of the things that I really do enjoy about Facebook though, is the ‘friend’ aspect. It has been amazing to me, over these past six months or so, just how many people I know. And not just that I know them, but that we are, in some (aka MOST) instances, renewing old friendships, that, for one reason or another, have been severed over time.

Take my family as an example. The last time that I actually SAW my parents, was well over 10 years ago. I would wager that it’s getting close to 13 or 14 years, since I’ve been in Taiwan and BC for that long. Nonetheless. My little brother, I haven’t seen since he was what, 13 or 14 years old! He’s now 31!

I guess, in a way, Facebook has become, what I would compare to, as winning the lottery. It is said, that when you win the lottery (yeah, right…), you suddenly find you have a lot of friends and relatives that you had never heard of before. Well, Facebook is a lot like this. I have discovered, on the ‘good hand’, that I have a lot of relatives and family that I didn’t know I had, or haven’t heard from in countless numbers of years, right Mike?!

This morning, I had another message on my Facebook. It was from a friend of mine, Gary Billard, whom I haven’t spoken to in, I can’t even begin to count the years. My life over the past [ahem] years has been (in my memory): London (ON), Granton (ON), London (ON), Ottawa (ON), Windsor (ON), New Westminster (BC), Taiwan. I’m sure there are a few other suburbs or hamlets that I haven’t included, but that’s no never mind.

Back when I was in my 20’s and 30’s (in some ways, a 100 years ago, yet in other ways, only yesterday), I lived in Ottawa, our nation’s capital city. As with any place that anyone lives, there are good and bad memories. Hopefully, the good memories outweigh the bad ones!

During some point in my life, I was introduced to Gary Billard. I don’t know why, or what happened between us, but for some reason, we instantly became good friends. Shortly after we had been introduced, it was like he and I had known each other all our lives. Over the remainder of my life in Ottawa, he and I were the best of friends… one of the best friends, to date, I have ever had.

At a point in our lives, we both worked for the same company, albeit, different locations. However, we both had the same day off. I would, in rain, sleet, snow, or sun, go over to his place on Tuesday mornings. We would have coffee, chat, and play a game called “GALAGA”. He had a Nintendo Entertainment unit, and for some ungodly reason, this was the game we both played – EVERY TUESDAY. Suddenly, it was lunch time. We’d have lunch together, have a drink or two, and back to “GALAGA”. Suddenly, dinnertime. Order out – hahahah. Around 10pm or so, I’d be heading home to get ready for my next day at work.

Today, after some 15-20 years of not knowing whether each other were still alive, I got a message from him on Facebook. OMG!! We chatted to each other for a bit over Facebook, until I got him to download SKYPE. He had a headset that he wasn’t sure still worked, but lo and beheld, it did!

At this time of the year, because of Daylight Savings Time in Canada, Gary and I are 13 hours apart. I, being in Taiwan, am 13 hours AHEAD of him in Nova Scotia. About 15 years ago, he moved back to his parent’s home on Cape Breton Island, to ‘take care of’ his parents. Apparently, they don’t need much taking care of! I think THEY take care of Gary!! Hahaha. (Oh, I’ll hear about this remark when he reads this entry!!)

Once we got connected on SKYPE, we chatted for a good 2 hours. It was like, for me, all those years had never existed. Hearing his voice, laughing with him, talking about old friends and good times, it was like I had only spoken to him yesterday!

Perhaps chatting on the phone, or SKYPE, or Facebook, may not be the most personal way of talking to someone. Sure, it would be great to be face-to-face with the person you chat with. But to get to hear someone’s voice again, or talk about the ‘good ole days’, or just chat about nothing in particular and everything in general, is wonderful.

This has turned out to be, one of the most interesting years of my life thus far. Sure, it’s been fun and memorable to move across Canada. Sure, it’s been an experience to move and work in a new culture/country/enviroment. Sure, I’ve made some very good friends over my lifetime.

However, the joy, and incredible feelings and emotions I’ve gone through, since February and up to today, talking with friends and family I haven’t seen nor heard from for a good portion of the last 25 years, is beyond words.

Mom, dad… if you are reading this (which I’m sure they are), and Gary (!!), sometime after September 13, I will be heading down to Cape Breton Island for a 2 or 3-day holiday within a holiday. I will be visiting one of the best friends I have ever had. At the same time, mom, perhaps you could give me some addresses of relatives I could visit while I’m there – time permitting of course.

Gary, whether you like it or not, I’m coming to invade your home. OH, and by the way, I have “GALAGA” on my iPhone!!



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2 responses to “July 14, 2010

  1. Great idea, thanks for this post!

  2. Great idea, thanks for this post!

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