We all probably have that friend we met through the monitor or computer screen. To some, it might be through adding mutual friends on Facebook or following random people on Twitter, while some fortunate enough to be able to form deep friendships with fellow bloggers, or people they’ve met through forums or fan sites.
When I go online, I talk to more people I’ve never met than people I actually know. My Skype consists of people I might not even know how they may look like, and the people I know personally on my contacts are my close friends from school, and the number doesn’t even reach twenty.
Aside from Skype, I have a QQ account which is really unlikely for a person like me to have one (a Filipino, or a foreigner, that is). QQ is somewhat like the Skype of the mainland Chinese community, so a person from somewhere outside China having one is something a lot of Chinese users find absurd and plain weird. So of course, my QQ contacts list is 100% Chinese-populated, with personal messages and status updates all written in Chinese. And, well, yes, you can say that I have never breathed the same air with any of my contacts on QQ, but ironically, I don’t feel all “alone” when I am logged-in there.
My online friendships all started in late grade school, early 2008. That was the time I first started writing to penpals online through e-mail. It was something I got to do often until high school came, where I temporarily said goodbye to that favorite hobby of mine. Although quite a lot of them are my friends on Facebook, I wasn’t able to keep in touch with majority of them. If I had mentally counted it right, more or less, I had over a hundred penpals. I had amazing friendships with each of them, with a few who I swore that I was best friends with — through the keyboard and monitor.
To cut the long story short, my online friendships now shifted to people I call my language-learning partners and buddies. I didn’t meet them on penpal and friendship sites; my friendships with them were formed through a good conversation on language-chatting sites and through fellow language-learners as well. Since I am learning Chinese, at least half of the people on my contacts list are native Chinese speakers and fellow learners. But of course, I don’t exclude people not learning the language for me to be able to chat with them. More than the sentence construction and help I get to exchange with them, it’s the friendship that I have with all of them that I value the most. Never mind the new characters I get to learn; the slang expressions I get to share with them — being able to talk about anything and everything with them is such a great feeling. Our conversations become so fun-filled or even intellectual that the thought of them being “online friends” doesn’t even cross my mind.
And of course, just like with friends I know in real life, I have fond memories with them, with a lot being shallow and weird, but whatever it is, is unforgettable and memorable enough for me to jot down. Exactly ten months ago, I had my first conversation with a person online who I absolutely had no idea I would be really, really great friends with. Although we don’t get to talk as much as we did in the past months, that person will always remain a best friend to me; someone close to my heart, which led me to write this blog entry.
And if there’s something I appreciate more than anything, it’s their thoughtfulness! It’s so infectious sometimes I want to cry tears of joy. Random acts of kindness are just too much to handle.
This has got to be the first since I remember this being one of the first pictures I ever received from my online friends this year. I loved my conversations with this person because never were they so dull or lifeless. Victor is a genuine person who you know is really interested in having a good conversation. We literally talked about anything, from uni life to nai cha! But this made me go “aww” the day he sent this picture, and even up to this day, his thoughtfulness still makes me feel so happy. He knew how much I loved milk tea… so there goes the thoughtfulness!
And I am the ultimate sucker for anything handwritten, so there goes another point for thoughtfulness. This is the closest I can get to snail mail, and don’t you just love seeing someone’s handwriting? I love that feeling!
Don’t look down on my ability of memory.
This is the same person who sent the note. There was a time that I was at Angelique’s house along with Mariah and Mika, when we had a sleepover from Pueblo. Coincidentally, I was online on QQ that time and I was chatting with Victor. I don’t know how it started but we ended up voice and video chatting with him! It was so amazing, and it was the best feeling ever — my friends getting to know my online friends. Weeks have passed since that time but he still remembered their names perfectly. So sweet!
My name stylized in Chinese. If that isn’t sweet, I don’t know what else is.
I remember talking to Kunpeng while he was using a Chinese writing brush for something school-related. It was super nice of him to paint my name! It also looks so nice and perfect, although he kept on saying his writing was ugly. I don’t care, it looks so beautiful!
If I remember it right, he was the one who actually “baptized” me with this Chinese name of mine. Although my name isn’t the best (because, clearly, my name is for a boy, not gonna lie), I still use it because, well, it’s the most accurate and nearest!
Another fond memory of mine is giving my online friends their English names. I usually ask them for their English names so that I could remember them more easily. While some of them didn’t have, I took the privilege of naming them! The names I remember are Charles, John, etc. It always feels like I’ve done them a good deed baptizing them with a name.
That smiley is the accurate drawing of the QQ smiley!
Anyway, a thoughtful person is thoughtful. I loved how jolly he always was when we would chat, with exclamation points and “haha’s” in every message sent.
This one is so corny I swear, but every time I remember what happened, I can’t help but laugh. I was at Francis’ house along with my groupmates and while we were having merienda, I was on the laptop, chatting on QQ. Although nobody knew, I was on voice chat the whole time, just to let Ciniy hear them. They were talking the whole time, and they found out when I was giggling weirdily. Francis suddenly put his mouth by the laptop and said, “Konnichiwa!” FAIL! I said, “What the hell, Francis, she’s Chinese!!!” Boisterous laugh filled the air, while my Chinese friend was on the line, silent, weirded by what was happening. It was so funny.
Maita: How come you always say “haha”?
I’ve mentioned this in one of my blog posts below. I was on voice chat with a Chinese friend, Claire, and Mika joined us just for the heck of it. We sang my favorite song and it was the greatest feeling ever! I couldn’t believe I actually agreed (well, looking back, it was actually me who offered, lol) to sing. I sang. Over the internet. What in the world?
Singing my favorite song with a native speaker, with a friend of mine knowing how it’s like… I couldn’t ask for anything more.
This was way back sophomore year. He mentioned he loved Math, and if I needed help in anything related to it, I could ask him with no hesitation. This time, I really needed it since I couldn’t ask for anybody else’s help. Never in my life did I think that someone online would be helping me with my homework! He’s so amazing, and I’m grateful even up to this day. This is just one of the many things he’s done to help me, concerning academics, languages or not. I remember I needed help in my Trigonometry homework and Josip even made a freakin’ step-by-step tutorial for it on Photoshop! I don’t get how some people can be so effortlessly kind and thoughtful. I envy how natural it is to them.
And I repeat, this is just one of the many, many things he’s done. He’s even helped Mariah in Algebra this school year, I remember!
So Chamin found Joy beautiful… hahaha. Told ya Joy, you look so pretty in this picture! I kept on laughing on my seat when I was reading his reaction. So I asked why he found Joy pretty and I mentioned she was a Korean. Chamin asked what chatting tools she used, and I told the truth since I didn’t know what to say. He was actually interested in getting to know Joy. But his “nope” meant a, well, no. Haha!
See Nahshin, I wasn’t lying!
When I told her this at the canteen, Joy said, “YEY!!!”
I hope she doesn’t kill me for this… hahaha. :p
I was talking to Alana through voice chat, and our conversation ended up on music. I asked her if she knew who Xu Song was, my favorite singer. She suddenly shouted in the background, and there was sort of a commotion in the other line.
Alana: 她也喜欢许嵩！(She also likes Xu Song!)
Alana: 她是菲律宾人！(She is Filipino!)
She probably thought that I didn’t understand what she was saying. She got too excited that she told her roommate that I liked Xu Song too! Turned out that her roommate was a big, big, big fan of him, so even I, was shocked. She was obsessed with him, and she was happy to find out that I liked him too. I was more than shocked because I have honestly never met someone who actually had the guts to say that he or she was a fan. It was so amazing, and I didn’t want the moment to ever end! Her roommate immediately added my account on QQ. Not only did I gain a friend that evening, I gained another! The feeling was indescribable. She also liked Show Luo, and wow, I couldn’t believe it. I never met anyone like her. It’s so amazing that the friend of my friend became my friend. I don’t know how their Chinese names, I don’t know how they look like, but knowing that we had something in common made everything else unnecessary. It’s so amazing how an interest immediately creates a bond between people!
I received this letter seven months ago and even up to this very moment, I have no idea what’s written in it. All I can read is the first sentence which is 你好! And after that, I barely have no clue of what is written. I can read some, but not all. There’s something that says he’s happy to meet me and he is thankful. I don’t know if that’s even right, and here I am posting it hoping that a good Chinese soul would tell me what this letter means. I told Liam to purposely not tell me what is contained in the letter so that I would be more encouraged to learn (and hopefully master) Chinese; that whatever he wrote would be a mystery. Well, being a weakling I am, I ended up asking for it anyway, but he didn’t give it. So here I am, stuck with no idea what is written here! I can’t even say if there’s anything “private” written here, but I hope posting it where anybody can see is not a bad idea… lol.
These are just some of the many and endless list of moments I had with my online friends that I would always want to remember. Although I wouldn’t deny that half of the people on my list are just there, online on my list, I itch to have a conversation with all of them. The paranoid and anxious me says that they might be too busy to chat, or that they might not be interested. Some may not even remember chatting or even know that I am part of their contacts list, but these shallow memories will always be remembered by me. Life goes on, people change, but memories remain. I don’t think they even remember writing these notes, sending these messages and singing over the internet but I truly treasure all this!