July 4th is also the anniversary for when I joined SL. I still remember that night. It was around 11pm and I could still hear the fireworks making a bonny racket outside. When I rezzed into SL for the first time I showed up in a welcome area called Ahern or Morris as some call it. It was dark and full of avatars. I felt lost and so alone.
As I walked past the last pavilion I saw an IM from a woman. It stopped me in my tracks. And then she started talking to me in local about how to get around in SL. I don't remember what she said, but I remember her patience and kindness to me. And through IMs, she gave me objects like skins and an AO. I had trouble with the AO for a bit. She even joked that one guy had the hots for me. After one week, I never heard from the guy again (he's still on my list though). He seemed to be the least guileless man I've met in a long time. He was from Brazil, that explains part of it. From my experience working with foreigners, they just seem so much more polite than most people I meet on a daily basis. It is like 'a breath of fresh air.'
Anyone that woman who helped me that first now...she has become my dearest friend in SL and perhaps in RL. She has been there for me on my journey through SL and through one year of my life. As I begin another year, I am grateful that I know her and that we can speak to each other as individuals, like-minded souls, and good friends. She has touched my life in ways that I am only now beginning to see and understand. So much can happen in a year and so much change can occur. It feels like a wave swept over me and has made its impressions on me. Good people are like that, their effect always shows wherever they make an impact.
Also, I have had so much fun exploring the virtual world. I saw Steller's beanstalk in my first or second week. I tried to climb it, but still haven't gotten high up. Perhaps someday I will? That would be a cool achievement to write about. ;-) I've been to SL Africa and went up in a hot air balloon above the whole sim once. The guy I went with unfriended me a long time ago (he was probably just a flake), but I still remember the joy of being high up and seeing and enjoying the view of the luscious land and the animals. I met him at a time when I felt sad and he cheered me up for a time.
Soon after that, I met Steve at the same welcome area where I first rezzed. And since then, Steve has become a dear friend too. He and his friends just exude this warmth that I always like to be around. We talk, we laugh, and cry on each other's shoulders. He is a great friend and the friends I meet through him are wonderful as well.
I have also joined a lot of groups in SL. Back when the group limit was 25, I soon had 25 groups. So I'd leave and join and rejoin groups frequently. I'd sit there and try to deliberate about which to leave. Lol. Actually I still do that, even though the limit is 42. LOL. Through those groups, I have made many friends as well. Some are still my friends and others have left of their own volition for the reason that I didn't IM them much. The thing is I do tend to get quite busy in SL and I hope that sometimes my friends IM me. It seems like a lot of the time, I am the one who starts an IM. There are times when I wonder if I'm the only one who wants to IM, you know? But I am usually the last person to unfriend.
I have learned a good deal from their friends too. It has been fun. Or even just talking to people in group chats...it's quite enjoyable. Most people are pretty friendly and polite.
Being a part of a SL community has been really great for me. I have a home in SL. When I feel hurt or scared, I can go there and feel peaceful.
One of the things I enjoy is the fact that you can learn so much. I'm talking about the classes you can talk. You can take building, scripting, even language classes. I've only taken building and scripting classes, but someday...I might stay for some language classes. I'm still not that good at building, but I have the notes and I know a few things about building. I can build basic things like a table or a set of small stairs. I do hope that someday, I will create something of my own like a gorgeous house or a lovely tree. I am also working on creating sculpts. For now, I just use Qavimator to try to make static poses and animations. It's challenging, but I really enjoy it.
Another thing I enjoy is the art you can see and view in SL. Since August, I have been writing about museums and art galleries. And I have made many art contacts...as I call them. I befriend artists and I like to talk to them about their art. Sadly, one of the artists I talked to passed away in March, Sabrinaa Nightfire. Her sim, Erato of Caerleon, was and has been one of my favorite art sims. It was among the first galleries that I ever wrote about for Wonderful Evenings. I left a build I made, which was designed by Hig Bing who teaches at Builder's Brewery and has her own shop. I will miss her though I didn't know her well. I did get to talk to 3 of her closest friends in SL. I hope to talk to them more. I still have so many questions and I realized that I want to design art in SL.
I make poses in SL. That is a sort of art for me, but I'd love to combine that with pictures or builds. And maybe one day I'll build my own art gallery. It's so lovely to dream...