Monday, February 14, 2005

Week 3

Week 3, Sunny
Good news, my conversations with Sunny (Mumbai, 25) seem to be going back to the way they were before.
As soon as I appeared online to him he sent me a smiling emoticon, just like he used to before last weeks discussion. It actually felt good, I was glad to see that the dream was not dead after all; or rather now it's reality we're living in and we're accepting it as it is so we can change it for the best as soon as we get the opportunity to do so. -Ok I know I'm sounding a little philosophical-. The fact is we chatted just like we used to.

Week 3, Update on Pablo
Pablo (Valencia,25) sure knows how to make me laugh or simply put a smile on my face, it does help that we have similar "Englishes". It might sound strange that I say it this way but he is becoming more and more human to me as if he is not just a set of characters showing up in a messenger window with occasional emoticons but a true human being with his emotions, feelings, hurts and joys, he can even be goofy. And guess what, he doesn't think I'm boring at all, quite the opposite, he comes online to chat with me when he gets bored at work, makes me feel somewhat proud and happy that I can help him fight boredom.

This week we had one of those very long conversations, what I wanted -without telling him- was to spend the whole day -8 AM to 4PM- chatting with him with only a break at lunch time (I know it's a crazy idea...). We almost did it; we talked so much it was great. I thought that if we could find enough to say to each other during all those hours than we will obviously always have something to say to each other. Just wonderful! I discovered how sensitive he actually is. He thinks I'm intelligent -how can he tell??-. It's always nice having someone say that to you.

I remember telling you how Pablo is surprising and unusual and… so on. Well, I was doing a Google vs Msn Search challenge and I thought I'd use his name and country as a search query because I had already done it with Google and I had found excellent results. Well I discovered that Pablo is also a singer, well what do you know! I thought it was a rock song but he told me it's a rap song rather -hard to believe-. I wonder which other skills he's hiding from me? -By the way, Google had more (all relevant) results than Msn-

Week 3, Ram
I want to tell you about the one contact I have been chatting with from the beginning, from one of the first times I ever went in a chat room. Ram (Andhra Pradesh,27) and I are religiously compatible! Anyway he is nice and appeared to be very curious when we first talked. It's been one year since we've been chatting. There have been times when he felt he needed to talk to new people, times when he stayed invisible to me while he went into chat rooms.- He wasn't aware of the fact that I could follow him in the room using another profile so he wouldn't recognize me.- He is a humble person. We understand each other very well. With him I've learned that you can't expect someone to always be as enthusiastic to talk to you as he was on your best chatting day. There can be days when the person might choose not to talk to you simply because he doesn't feel like it, most likely even if he started chatting in invisible mode so you wouldn't see him, he will chat with you before he leaves because he probably will miss you at some point because your friendship is unique.
One day I was spying on him, I joined him into a chat room using an ID that he does not know -I know that's soo bad-. I wanted to see what could be so interesting in a chat room so he'd rather be in there than chat with me. Well I guess that ID is so attractive -I usually get many IMs when I use it- he IMed me! Can you believe it! I just couldn't tell him that it was me. I don't know whether he realized it since I was using the same fonts. The chat was nice, rather serious, we spoke of social issues. He also chatted with the original me that day, it didn't last long but I had the time to give him a link to a page on Bandita Ramabai, he hadn't heard about her.

Week 3, Pavan
I once met someone from Andhra Pradesh (Pavan, 28) who had a picture in his profile in which he was wearing sunglasses and looked like a typical party lover. Though the image was small, it seemed his lips were dark. So we talked, asked and answered questions, I surprised him with how much I knew about Andhra Pradesh, like the fact that he was living in the capital (Hyderabad) and that he certainly spoke Telugu. He started doubting I was who I claimed to be (just a Haitian girl). He thought I was Indian -can you believe it-. I wouldn't know Hindi if I heard it, I have never even seen Indian curry. But I do chat with people from Andhra Pradesh and one of them even wanted to teach me Telugu. When I asked him whether he smoked, he just couldn't believe it. He actually does smoke once in a while but not even his parents notice that. So he was really impressed with how I could guess that! I guess I scared him -boo-. I have to say that in his picture he looked like a party dude -alcohol, smoke and....-. He's cool anyway but you can feel the European influence -he studied in Germany-.

Week 3, Crazy Paki
I met a crazy Paki who wanted to call me Julia (!)? Why he wanted to call me Julia is beyond me. He also wanted to see my picture so he could tell me he loves me? -Can you believe that guy-. The first time we chatted he told me he was 22, the last time he told me he was 24, he had grown 2 years in just one month! And he wants me to trust him. He' s got this very nice picture in his profile, the guy looks like an actor or singer, as if he scanned the picture from a magazine and he wants me to believe it's him. He even asked me to tell him about his beauty. Well, if I were sure it was him in that picture I wouldn't mind telling him about his beauty, not at all ;-) I guess you really can't trust people you meet in chat rooms. :D

Week 3, young Belge
I talked to a young (19) student from Belgium. He speaks Spanish -impressive-, was very nice. I did feel him becoming more formal when he knew my age as if he suddenly sat straight and put his shoulders back. He was funny and, well..., didn't look so bad for a teenager. But I didn't add him to my list; why you would ask(?). Well, there is the fact that he is quite young compared to me, but also I didn't feel he was that interested in talking to me again. So most likely, we will never ever chat again! Oh well, I usually avoid teenagers though he is not the type I wish to avoid, he is ok.

Week 3, He asked me for money
For the first time ever, someone I've chatted with -and who's on my contact list-, has asked me for money. I had spoken with Hamza (Pakistan,???) a few times before. He's christian and the first time all he was doing was praising the Lord -an inspiring conversation-. On another day I talked to him and he was not praising anymore, he was suffering from Hepatitis C and wondering why God hasn't cured him in spite of his prayers. I tried to comfort him and tell him that God still loves him and ask him to keep praying and even tell him that I would pray for him. On another day we talked and he appeared to be more hopeless. And the worst happened, as he was telling me how the medicine was too expensive for him to afford he asked me whether I could help with the finances. It immediately made me feel uncomfortable. Even though he told me he doesn't like to ask for money in this manner I have a hard time accepting that from him. It's as if I was talking to a whole different person than the one I chatted with the first time, all the joy that he had in the Lord, all the praises, the thanksgiving, all that was gone. He wanted to know whether I was still studying or working and he even asked me how much I earned. I'm in doubt... He asked me whether I could send US $ 100 to $ 200 to him each month for the treatment. I told him I could send only $ 100 only once. It's obviously not enough for the treatment but he said I could send it anyway. I want to believe him and help him if I can nevertheless I believe it is inappropriate to ask me money like that. I'm still thinking about it. I thought about Sunny (Mumbai,25) and how he warned me about people from India (!), Pakistan and Nigeria.

Week 3, Gloria
I talked to Gloria (Philipines,16), the girl is really nice, young and intelligent it's amazing the view she has on life.

Week 3, Avoiding Spanish chats
I'm avoiding my "sólo Español" chatters. Chatting in Spanish ask for so much attention, I usually chat as a secondary activity while I'm doing something else. There is no way I can chat in Spanish while I'm doing something else, even if that something else is chatting with another person. To me chatting in Spanish means using the Google language tools to translate from English to Spanish and vice versa, and also using a Glot translation tool in order to find my words. Needless to say that those chats can get really slow. When I'm a little busy doing other things while chatting I just can't spend the necessary time to find the correct word so I just say what goes through my head, I've left more than one wondering after doing that! So in order to avoid misunderstandings and confusion, I've been avoiding "sólo Español" chatters lately since these are busy days I'm going through.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Week 2

Sunny (25) lives in Mumbai, he is still a student, very involved in social-economical movements, he also reads a lot of philosophy and had me read some of the articles and writings he has read like those of a woman named Arundhati Roy and those of Swami Vivekananda. We would have really long conversations; he is so enthusiastic and passionate about some issues like what multinationals do to third world countries or the evil of the American policy around the world. All was going pretty well –pretty out of hand also- until it happened. I told him that the fact of not allowing people who have more than three children to compete in elections is not democratic, of course he did not agree, he told me about the overpopulation of his country etc. We discussed the matter a while and I don’t know how but we even came to talk about religion and beliefs until he finally told me, I made no point. I know that I don’t always understand all he says to me, and it’s probably the same for him but that statement just left me wondering. How can I make no point? It sounded absurd. What I did understand though was his disappointment. As if the dream were dead, killed by my lack of logic. He said that I am unable to submit my beliefs to the scrutiny of logic. Funny because I don’t remember we were discussing about religion. Since that day I was uncomfortable to even appear online to him. When I finally felt I could do it, he didn’t even send me a welcome smile as he used to, I’m the one who said hi first and we didn’t talk long because he was having problems with his computer, our chats have been pretty brief ever since.

Sunny warned me about people from Nigeria being not honest and looking to take money from you. I knew a Nigerian boy at the time, he seemed ok to me; we talked about the social and religious problems in his country. This week I met one of those Sunny was warning me about. He barely told me his asl and asked mine of course. He wanted to know things like what is my local currency and what is the exchange rate with US dollars, if my country was big or small and if it was a third world or first world country, if there were Nigerians living in Haiti. After concluding that I am beautiful –right after I refused to show him my picture- he told me he wanted to be my boyfriend –that guy’s incredible-. I had to find a way to send him away politely so I told him the simple truth, ”… I have a strict policy, “I have to know the guy in person [in order to become his girlfriend]”. He was gone after that right after he said ok.

I have about 40 contacts from four continents and still on one of these days when I absolutely needed to talk to someone –in an attempt to fight boredom- not a single one of them was online. I didn’t have many other options left. I went from chat room to chat room until I found someone I could have a sound conversation with. I met two actually, a 16-year-old Filipina (Gloria) and another Indian (Kumar, 25) living in Mumbai.

Before Claire told me about her age I thought she was an old lady. Earlier I was telling Pablo how I was afraid to meet teenagers because they are so crazy -about you know what!, especially the boys- . But Claire is a nice young woman, naïve as you would expect, I tried to warn her about the XXX guys out there, I suppose that’s the least I could do. She was doing research for a homework, she didn’t go to sleep until about 2 AM that night.

Kumar wants to improve his English –which in my opinion is not so bad even though not perfect either- and he thinks I’m nice! He is a programmer and told me he was black while asking me whether I was black also. Strange, I was not aware of the existence of black Indians. One thing is for sure he looks nothing like sub-Sahara African people, I guess being black is only a matter of skin color to him –cool!-. After seeing my picture he even concluded that we have the same skin color –are you sure about that?-!

I’ve met a few girls this week which is quite unusual for me. I guess it’s probably due to the fact that I’ve gone into chat rooms where I don’t usually go like art rooms and other randomly chosen rooms.

I realized it just now, there are a large percentage of people that I meet who are 25 year olds –or so they claim to be-. I once met an Indian who told me he was 25 because he wanted me to believe he was older than me (24), he did confess later on. But you must admit that the coincidence is almost unbelievable. Among all the people with whom I’ve talk more than once the vast majority is 25. Pablo (Valencia,Venezuela), Antonio(CT, USA), Sunny (Mumbai, India), Ravi, Kumar (Mumbai, India), Benny (Philipines), Pavan (Bangalore, India). Either many of them have lied to me or there is something about 25 year olds that just keeps me talking to them.