When I was a child, my father took our family to Mangalore, the lazy, tropical city on the Konkan coast of India, to meet my aunts and uncles and cousins and second cousins and third cousins and great aunts and great uncles and step-great aunts and etc. The family joke is that when I got there, I would look at every street sign, every shop sign, every person I saw whose name was some variation of mine -- D'Souza, De Souza, Da Souza, de Souza, d'Souza, etc. etc. -- and ask whether I was related to him/her/it. It seemed impossible to me, the kid who had grown up on the Canadian prairies where my name caused all sorts of confusion (and even some aggression -- when I was in grade 6 a school librarian redubbed me "Aurora" despite my objections) that in this place halfway around the world it was the equivalent of Smith or Jones.
I have been on a long break -- semester starting, deadlines, etc. This is not a *real* post -- I'll get one of those up this weekend -- but rather two recipes for my friend Joni. Joni is a Facebook friend, which is not to say an acquaintance, but rather a friend who I've met and gotten to know in that arena. I realized this morning, talking to someone very dear to me, that I've made a lot of friends that way -- through typed words on a page, lively conversation, teasing, joking, arguing. And when we've met the relationships have been no less *real* than any other. And sometimes we've never met in person, only on the electronic plane. Even then, they've been supportive, fun, and satisfying.