A Breakfast, Some Presents & Lots of Hugs

Since I promised to leave town within the next two weeks, some of the Ottawa Bloggers threw me a surprise farewell breakfast this morning. I wasn’t completely surprised since it had been announced on Zoom’s blog a few weeks ago, but I pushed my face into its most surprised configuration anyway.

It’s been a long time since we all got together for breakfast, so it was really, really nice to see everyone.

Probably the very best thing about my four years in Ottawa has been the blogging community. Not that I didn’t love the Ottawa winters, or the city’s gourmet cuisine, or OC Transpo, or living this close to Stephen Harper….

But seriously, aside from a few neighbours and some people at work, the bloggers were pretty much my social network here.

I think I met Zoom first and then Hella Stella and Robin. For a while it was just the four of us who’d breakfast together every once in a while. Then Zoom and I decided we should expand the breakfast group, so the next time we invited about 10 other bloggers. That was such a success, we decided to go hog wild and invite every single Ottawa blogger we could get an email address for – and lo, the bi-monthly Ottawa Bloggers’ Breakfast event was born.

From that things snowballed into the brainchild of Lynn’s Blog Out Loud Ottawa (BOLO), which, since its first year in 2009, has been incredibly successful. Bloggers, some of whom no one has ever heard of before, come out each year to read their work, have a few drinks and network with the blogging community. (By the way, the next BOLO is July 7th at 7:00 pm at the Prescott…and I can’t be there…sniff…sniff)

All in all, I had over 100 names on our Ottawa Bloggers’ Breakfast mailing list and I’m sure Lynn has at least that many other names again on her mailing list.

There are a lot of bloggers in Ottawa.

Anyway, the brunch was great. And there was a surprise within a surprise when the gang hauled out a suitcase jam-packed full of farewell gifts for me!! The gifts were amazing – from home-baked bread and crafts to gift cards, bags, a travel mug and a hip flask, to disco shoes and a home-made 48-page booklet of every Toronto statistic imaginable. And, I got to keep the suitcase!!

Best of all, the Mindful Merchant, is very kindly going to haul Bazel and me to Hogtown the week after next so we can meet up with our belongings. So she and I will get to spent many more hours of quality time together. Mwah-ha-ha.

This morning, I didn’t really get to express my regret at leaving this great bunch of people. They tried to make me give a speech, but it was very short and very lame – mainly because I was afraid I was going to start blubbering.

However, if I’d known ahead of time that I was going to have to give a speech, I would have written something. I probably would have said that I really can’t imagine what life in Ottawa would have been like without The Bloggers.

I would have mentioned that aside from the breakfasts and BOLO and all the other times I’ve spent with many of them individually or in smaller groups – some of these people have become good friends. Friends that I hope to maintain a friendship with whether we live in the same town or not. You know who you are!!

I would really have wanted to tell them that what I find particularly interesting about The Bloggers is that we are all such different people – we come from very different places and have had a wide variety of different life experiences. We spend our days in very diverse ways. We agree on some things but disagree vehemently on others. There is a more than 30 years age range in the group. And yet, we can sit down together for hours (without booze) and thoroughly enjoy each others’ company. Everyone is supportive and generous and encouraging of each other; both in person and online.

And then I would have thanked them profusely for the wonderful send-off – particularly Zoom and Laura for organizing the whole thing.

And then I would have wrapped things up by saying:  “Thank you all for welcoming me into your community and for sharing your good times with me and for trusting me enough to share your sad times as well – thank you for making life in Ottawa special.”

And then I would have quickly looked away and pretended I had something in my eye.