I knew the minute the prospect of a business trip to Vancouver arose that I intended to meet Davina Haisell in person. Davina has been an early, enthusiastic supporter of our efforts with this blog, and of the e-book, The Narcissist: A User’s Guide, I co-wrote. She’s a gifted writer whose work I thoroughly enjoy, and whose talents I envy. I was thrilled when she accepted my suggestion that we meet for dinner!
After a blessedly uneventful flight from Minneapolis to Vancouver and settling into my hotel room, I confirmed my rendezvous with Davina by telephone. Her voice was melodious and seemed as filled with anticipation as I was. I boarded the new Canada line close to my hotel and before I knew it, my train was at the Oakridge stop where we were to meet and go on to Queen Elizabeth Park.
We had joked a bit about how we were going to recognize each other (carnation in the lapel? carrying a rolled-up newspaper? a whispered “Rosebud?”), but we needn’t have bothered. We knew each other immediately from photos on Facebook, and just as immediately, the conversation began as if we’d resumed it after a momentary lapse instead of it being our first meeting.
Davina had recommended we preface our dinner with a walk through the Park gardens. There couldn’t have been a better idea. Vancouver’s rainy conditions on our day might have been disappointing. Instead we were treated to a vivid display of breathtaking proportions.
Queen Elizabeth Park is sited on the grounds of a former rock quarry, which was used to build Vancouver’s roadways at the turn of the 20th century. Visitors are more than 500 feet above the sea level of the main part of the city. The panoramas are exceptional.
What a delightful experience for me, starved for spring as only a Minnesotan can be, to take in these vistas. Chatting as we wandered through the Park gardens, it seemed as though we had been friends forever, often stopping to admire or breathe in the fragrant aroma of hyacinth and fresh earth. The beauty was superlative.
Davina had made our dinner reservation at Seasons in the Park for 5:30, but we arrived a little ahead of time.
Greeted by our charming server, Smador, who recommended a bubbly Prosecco when I inquired, we settled in next to a window with an impossibly perfect view of the Vancouver skyline. And there we stayed for the next three hours.
Seasons in the Park is a fine dining experience with ocean-friendly seafood choices punctuating a robust menu characterized as typical of the Pacific Northwest. I started with the Carrot Ginger Soup, anticipating correctly that it would take away the damp and chill.
Davina ordered a Mixed Seasonal Greens salad with maple vinaigrette, goat cheese, candied almonds and berries.
This was a sound Paleo diet choice which I mirrored for my next course, adding a side of Grilled Salmon to make it an entree.
Davina’s sirloin arrived at the same time as my salmon salad, served with garlic mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables. It was perfectly done.
For my dessert course, Smador recommended the Double Belgian Chocolate Truffle and Fudge Cake. Well, alrighty then! Although chocolate is solid suggestion with me any time, this was truly outstanding.
Davina chose the Vanilla Creme Brulee, which arrived perfectly presented with a fresh strawberry and biscotti.
We lingered over our desserts past the sunset. As the lights of the city below twinkled, I marveled at the connection we had forged over time spent reading each other’s blogs and encountering others with whom we’ve created a community. Out of the vast reaches of the internet, we’re part of a smaller town, and as friends, Davina and I have much in common.
I am hoping Pete and I can persuade Davina to visit Minnesota in the future. We’d love to return the enormous favor she showed me on our perfect afternoon and evening. And of course, now that I’ve briefly visited Vancouver, I’d like nothing more to return and get to know it better. As for Davina and me? We’re like this! 🙂
Photo Credits: Myself, Davina Haisell and the lovely Smador, our personable server at Seasons in the Park.
Have you ever met someone you only “knew” online? Care to share?
If you’re ever in the Vancouver area, Seasons in the Park is a wonderful experience.
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Judy Richard says
Yes. Many years ago I was active on America On Line and frequented a chat room for Minnesotans who were single and over 40. I “met” a lady on line named “Bellecurve”. She made me laugh AND she could SPELL which was rare on AOL. We chatted for months, then I found out she was practically my neighbor in Minnetonka. We met, we started riding bikes together, and became fast friends. Over the years, we shared milestones and experiences, sadness, joy, tears and MANY laughs. I was her Matron of Honor at her wedding she she was mine. That lovely woman was Betsy!!! YAY!! I love her. I count myself lucky every day to have found such a dreamy friend. xoxox
Betsy Wuebker says
Good spellers unite, Judy! Everything you said and more back at you! Some things are just meant to be. Love ya! Thanks.
What an incredible garden Davina showed you. This was great writing — you should be a food writer. I was sure you and Davina would get along great because blogging and FB don’t lie — friendships made that way are real. Perhaps we can do something similar when you get around to coming to DC. Unfortunately, I’m not much of a tour guide, nor do I have a guest room, but I love fine dining and I’m drooling over your photos!
Betsy Wuebker says
Hi Dot – Thank you! It was absolutely gorgeous! And, like you mention, I expected Davina and I would get along famously. I would love to do something similar in DC. I am sure there are many choices! Thanks.
Pete Wuebker says
Betsy Wuebker says
A road less traveled by, which has made all the difference. 🙂
Davina Haisell says
Betsy, it was a delight to have spent that time with you. Even though I was pretty nervous to step out from behind the computer, as soon as we connected I felt right at home with you.
Meeting up was a little bumpy with travel issues and hailing a cab, lol, but once we got settled in the cab I enjoyed listening to you marvel at the green grass and flowers. It reminded me to not take it for granted. Maybe next time the weather will cooperate and we can sit by the fireplace on the patio.
You’ve done an awesome job at recounting our evening and dinner. I still can’t believe we visited for over 3 hours. The food was delicious and so was the company… and the service. Our server was awesome. The conversation was natural. Just as you envy my writing, I envy your knowledge of history and world events, and how well you write about it on your blog — I think you’re a pretty smart cookie.
I would love to visit you and Pete sometime in Minnesota and taste some of his fine cooking. Thanks for the invitation. 🙂
Betsy Wuebker says
Hi Davina – Start makin’ plans! Would love to show you around our neck of the woods. Thanks again for planning the perfect meeting! 🙂
Hi Betsy and Davina .. sounds like a perfect afternoon .. and yes I’m sure you matched up so comfortably and easily .. ‘I can hear the conversation’ .. so great to read about your experience.
And fun to read the comments .. Judy and Pete! and Davina confirming the events of the afternoon/ evening.
I didn’t get a chance to see much of Vancouver when Mum and I stopped over .. but I did notice the parks and lushness .. and would love to visit one day. The pictures are lovely and to see you both looking as though you’ve been friends for ever!
That food looks delicious too .. what fun – and more meet ups in the future .. sounds very good to me .. and we’ll hear about them here ..
Cheers and happy times so pleased you got together.
I’m hoping to meet up with a fellow blogger in the Autumn – she’s coming over to see her grandparents about an hour+ west of here .. should be fun .. Sharon from Random Thoughts …
Wonderful read today – now I feel happy to see you both together .. fun!! Big hugs – Hilary
Betsy Wuebker says
Hi Hilary – We definitely had a wonderful time, and I am sure you will with Sharon as well. These are great and miraculous friendships. So glad you enjoyed this. Thanks.
Cath Lawson says
Thank you for sharing the story and pics Betsy. The park looks so beautiful and the restaurant is awesome. I knew you two would get on, because I think folk who meet online and have many mutual interests and goals, seem to get to know each other far better. I have other peeps on my fb who I only know through circumstance – eg. neighbours, school etc and the conversation tends to be far more superficial with any of them.
I want to meet all my online friends in real life at some point. I can’t wait to come and see you, but I’m still trying to figure when I can afford to be off and travel, so it may be later in the year. Trouble is the kids want me to take them somewhere in summer as they’ve decided not to go to Spain, so I’ll be saving for two trips.
When Jessica starts uni in four years, I think I’m going to work on the road and visit everyone I know. 🙂
Betsy Wuebker says
Hi Cath – You’re right about online friends having mutual interests that would lead to different levels or types of communication. I wasn’t surprised that I felt like Davina and I were old friends. And just know you are welcome to visit any time! Thanks.
Jeremy Day says
Just checking up on some people who participated in my Creating Value group writing project so long ago. Glad to see you are still blogging! Keep it up!
It seems that you had a great time.So glad to enjoy it.Thanks for your sharing
What a lovely day…and one of my goals this year is to meet an online friend – 2011 is half over, I need to get busy!
Looks like you had fun. It’s cool that you felt like you were old friends. 😀 That is the best feeling when you meet up with someone and you feel like you’ve known them all your life.