Tonight was a great night. It was one of those nights that make you realize just how blessed you really are. Gil and I were invited to attend a private meeting hosted by the once and (hopefully) future mayor of Tampa, Mr. Dick Greco. I’ll hopefully have more to write about later on this meeting but let me just say that whatever that man is selling, I’ll take ten.
It was a great meeting and I’m super excited tonight that I live in Tampa and the Tampa Bay area. This is such a wonderful place to be and I honestly can’t imagine ever living anyplace else again. One of the things I love about Tampa is how it’s this big, huge sprawling city but it has such a small town atmosphere about it. We had a couple of those small town moments tonight that just helped me to solidify my opinion.
It was so great to arrive at the meeting and immediately see a handful of people that we know and call friends. Some of the faces were expected because of the subject of the meeting but then there were other faces that were nice surprises. I just love our diverse circle of friends and acquaintances in this town.
As soon as this meeting was over Gil and I scooted out the door for part two of our evening. We had been invited to a small gathering of friends at Eats Deli in South Tampa. Our new friend Tracy was hosting a small party to thank some of her blog supporters and we had been lucky enough to get on that invitation list.
It’s a very cool story of how we met Tracy. I somehow stumbled onto her blog one day after seeing the title and I was completely intrigued. Her blog is called My Other City by the Bay and I immediately fell in love with it. Tracy is a northern California transplant to Tampa and she’s on a mission to fall in love with Florida and the Tampa Bay area. She blogs about all the wonderful things in our lovely city, although she confesses that she still loves and misses California. I just don’t get it but then again, as Gil pointed out, I came from Alabama and her perspective is quite different from mine. Fair enough.
On the day that I first discovered Tracy’s blog, there were three entries on the home page. The first story is what instantly caught my attention because there was a picture of our friends’ Julia and Kirsten’s book, Our Stimulus Package. I started reading the blog entry and kind of laughed about how Tracy (who I did not know yet) was talking about how she wanted to meet these ladies. I thought to myself that maybe I should send Facebook intros to the three of them. But then I read the next blog entry and laughed a little more. This one was about a local sauce company, Intensity Academy. Last year, Gil and I met Michelle, who owns Intensity Academy. Of course, after seeing this I had to send the blog to Gil to check out, which he promptly did. He also found the humor in the small worldliness and we both agreed we HAD to meet this Tracy chick.
We did just that this past Saturday at a book signing at Barnes and Noble. We were introduced to her by none other than our friends Julia and Kirsten, who had since met Tracy and became friends. It was after this introduction and some chatting that Tracy invited us to attend her party tonight. We were flattered and knew we had to go.
When we arrived at Eats, Tracy immediately said we had to meet her friend Leslie. Leslie is the ‘Chief of Everything’ of an online magazine about the Tampa Bay area. The magazine is called Vertical and you MUST check it out. It’s so beautiful and some of the pictures took my breath away. I’m telling you, even if you don’t live in Tampa, this magazine is so stunning that you will not be able to tear yourself away from it.
While I was being introduced to Leslie, Gil was distracted by a girl at the bar. Turns out, this girl, Kristi, was a neighbor of his some 11 or 12 years ago. What makes this part of the story really odd is that we are now planning a mini-reunion between Gil, Kristi and our current neighbor from across the street because they all three used to live in the same neighborhood about 3 miles from where we are now. Oh, and while Gil was talking to Kristi, Leslie and I were exchanging contact cards. She looked at my card and noticed the website I have listed is danaCreative.com. She pointed at Gil and said, “Is that danaCreative? I follow him on Twitter and have read some of his blogs?” I cracked up at this point. It was simply too much for me to handle. It was almost like I was in an episode of Punked or something. It was just too much coincidence to be for real. Right?!?
I guess that just because a city has three million people in it, it doesn’t mean that you can just get lost in the shuffle. Well, I suppose you could but I’ve never been one to simply blend into the background and just disappear. I wrote last week about my first real understanding of community and what it means to be a part of one. I wonder if that idea is what drives me to be social?
Just yesterday in church, our pastor talked about how God designed us to do life in community and how we desire to build these communities of relationships so we can do life together with people who are just like us or even completely different from us. I think about my various circles of friends and acquaintances and it’s pretty wide-ranging. There are the heart friends, the techie friends, the concert friends, the back home friends, the neighborhood friends, the work friends, the philanthropist friends, the church friends, and geez, this list could go on and on. Maybe my desire to build so many different communities is simply part of God’s master plan for us and for me. Maybe I just can’t help it because it’s what I was born to do.