Saturday, 24 October 2009

Meeting Mariana Gheorghe

“What have I done to deserve her kindness?”

That was the first thing that popped in my mind when I saw a very pretty young mother in red sweater approaching me with a bud of red rose and a Canadian Moose plush doll (with her baby moose)… and hugging me like she’d known me for half of her life.

Of course I cried then, weeping and laughing at the same time as I admired her red rose and the moose… God, I didn’t even bring her anything from Australia! I thought of bringing her something from down unduh, but nothing seemed to fit for her in the midst of my preparation for the Quebec conference last week.

But there she was, Mariana Gheorghe, a lady I met online in Becoming Jane Fansite in 2007, and even though I was often late in replying to her emails etc, she was still here with us, an avid Jane Austen fan, a total Jane/Tom supporter… and a drop-dead member of the Richard Armitage Army (like moi! But that’s another forum altogether, haha!). And there she was, in Toronto Airport, welcoming me into her giant city, taking me to a great lunch on CN Tower, taking my pictures amidst the pumpkins… introducing me to her lovely husband and son… And for many a time that day, I found myself choked with tears… for again, God, what have I done to deserve her kindness?

Apparently, blogging is an amazing thing. I know so many hostile people during my frequent visits in other forums (not necessarily JA-related themes), and I know I don’t ever want to meet those people (nor frequenting those forums again, for that matter). But here in BJF, I not only met my Team Jane (Rachel, Linda, Michelle…), but I also met people like Mariana from Canada, Maria of Sweden, Kari of USA, Bilbo of… (sorry Bilbo, I forgot where you’re from), Edward Lefroy from England, and other nice people. We don’t necessarily agree with each other, but the great thing is that we are able to stay civil and friendly towards each other.

And it’s a sweet extra ganache when that online friendship can take you to another level. (I also met another gorgeous, lovely friend of mine, Rhonda, of a totally different online channel in TO). Driving across the big TO with your online friend is something that I can still recall with a fond smile on my face and in my heart now… and I can only hope that one day I can repay their kindness by welcoming them in my own town, my own home, in time.

Until then, stay friendly, give everyone your smiles, even if you don’t always agree with them. Many of us fail to appreciate the preciousness of a friendship, and I don’t want to see it in BJF. Right, Rachel, Linda, Michelle? Who’s next? Rachel? Let me check if I have a conference/workshop/meeting in UK in 1-2 years’ time…

Pic. Victor and Mariana Gheorghe, Jane Austen, and Tom Lefroy, and myself (this also is my first official attempt to show how I look like in this blog!)


Michelle said...


Well, Icha - from seperate corners of the globe we just posted at the EXACT SAME MINUTE - and I wanted to let you know that this post brought a big smile to my face and joy to my heart.


Icha said...

Eh, I really wanna visit you in NZ, mate! But I have a bit limited funding issue, so if you can jump to Sydney again or Brisbane, I will try to catch you by the plane. How's that!

bilbo said...

Dear Icha,

It's Albuquerque. If any of you will ever be out this way, please drop me a line. I'm afraid I'm unlikely to ever get to Australia, NZ, or Sweden, but I was in lovely Toronto 9 years ago for a meeting. I'd like to visit Jane's England some day; maybe I'll win a contest to attend the London Olympics.
Mariana's home looks beautiful (not to mention everyone in the picture), especially the 'Becoming Jane' image in the really huge digital picture frame by the bookcase. I really admire people with extensive collections of books AND DVDs. I wonder how many are JA-related.

Mariana said...

"What have I done to deserve her kindness"

Now I’m the one choked with tears... I don’t know if I can ever be able to thank you enough for creating such a wonderful website Icha dearest, always being here for me -as you are for other Jane/Tom supporters with a friendly embrace, taking the time to read my loooooong analyses (enduring my rambling and poor English ;) and kindly post so many of them on your blog.

I look at our pictures with a big smile in my heart and cannot stop thinking how magic all this has been, how our love for Jane brought us together. Hope we’ll meet again soon, maybe this time my plan to visit London/Chawton and meet dearest Rachel will only need to be altered to match your conference/ workshop...

Infinity of Jane Love
&Hugs --from a cold and rainy RH

Ps: Looks like my love for books and movies it's hard to capture in one picture. Austen won my heart and most of my shelves ;) I have all her novels in different editions, few biographies (Claire Tomalin’s my favourite) and various adaptations -waiting impatiently to add new BBC Emma to my collection.

Btw, Emma and Cranford 2 will be aired on PBS in January 2010 YAY!!!!! I know Linda will be interested in this link:

Icha said...

Bilbo, if ever I am near Albuquerque, I will definitely come to visit you!

Mariana's DVD and book collections is a source of jealousy really :-D She has all JA DVDs, Elizabeth Gaskell (particularly North and South!!!) and JA and other 18-19c English novels! It's a delight on its own to see her DVD/book shelves!

Oh, for those who want to see Emma ep 2 and 3, find them here:

I watched Emma ep 2 last nite, what a delight! Now am off to watch ep 3, so I will cu later! Perhaps if I have time, I will jot a bit of review... perhaps...

Rachel said...

I am so so happy you guys got to meet, I had no idea! The pic is lovely and wow wow to your collection Mariana. One day we will all meet in London....I am counting on it.

mamma jakeline said...

Anyone coming to Sweden soon? :P Perhaps it's more likely that I go to England than any of you coming here...

hugs and kisses

Linda Fern said...

I must have my share in the conversation, so here is my two pence!

Thanks so much for the picture, because it is so nice to meet you all. Your décor is lovely and of course, Tom and Jane are the ultimate touch. Bravo!

Bilbo, we are almost neighbors since I am only 10 miles from Graceland.

Mariana, I have thoroughly enjoyed your analysis and I wish I had time to join you as I dearly love to analyze things. I am afraid my shelves are almost as bad (good) as yours and I will be looking forward to Emma on PBS in January. If I get half a chance I will see the parts posted here on YouTube.

Rachel, I think you have a wonderful idea for a London meeting for us, since we are scattered across the world. London is the perfect central location. Until then, we shall have to keep meeting here on the BJF blog!

Linda the Librarian