My head is still spinning.
Last night I received the surprise of my life.
I thought I was co-hosting an episode of PhotoKarma, but little did I know what my G+ family had in store for me.
(trying to gather composure)
I was surprised with a gift.
But it's so much more than a gift to me.
It was the most unreal night of warmth and love from a community that came together because of my scavenger hunt.
You see, I have a very crappy computer. And I regularly fall out of hangouts or get the dreaded PC blue screen of death on a daily basis. It's been a running joke and I call it my 1974 Buick computer that is run by hamster power... and the hamsters often get upset. I knew I had to replace it sometime in my future, but it was going to take time to save up for it.
Last night I was given a 27 inch iMac thru donations done in secret from my scavenger hunters who wanted to say "thanks" for creating and running the hunt.
Owning a mac is something of a pipe dream for me. Just not realistic. But I'm going to have one. Today. squeal
I have no idea how to start to say thank you to everyone.+LaDonna Pride
, who I met during my very first hunt, and became attached to her because she entered underwater photos while on a scuba diving trip. Something that is a huge dream of mine, so it gave me a reason to get to know her a little more than I normally do. I quickly came to realize she was one of the most genuine, thoughtful, fun-loving women I had ever had the pleasure to spend time with. She is warm and beautiful and kind and now I know, quite the little sneak! I am so proud to call you my friend. I am lucky to know you. I am beyond thankful for what you started for me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You will never quite understand just how much this means to me.+Jake Johnson
... again, I met Jake during the first hunt. His photography blew me away and I stalked his profile often. But it wasn't until he showed up in my inbox after the hunt was finished with an offer of a print he wanted to send me as a thank you that I got to know the man he truly is. I received the print (an amazing landscape that proudly hangs in my house) not even a week later and we started a friendship thru emails as well as comments on G+. Jake is warm, incredibly thoughtful, a concerned friend who has supported me thru some of my hardest times. He is quick with a smile, always offers amazing advice, whether about something photography related or just basic real life things and recently has made me laugh till my sides hurt during hangouts. Jake, you are one of my favourite people in the world and you are a very dear friend. Thank you for not only being a huge part of this, but for also gifting people with prints to those who gave large donations for me. I am shocked... no... you know what? I'm not, it's just the kind of guy you are. Thank you. Truly.+Erika Thornes
... GIRL! I have been a fan of your photography for ages. When i saw you had signed up for the March scavenger hunt, I literally squealed at the thought of what you would bring to the table, and man alive did you BRING IT. Your giggle gets me every time, you are a true bright light and such an incredibly beautiful person, and I always go to such a happy place when I'm in your company. I cannot BELIEVE the amount of work you put into this handling the donations and even purchasing and shipping the computer. I cannot wait to grow our friendship even more.+Jacob Lucas
. You entered the hung with a huge bang... only 5 pictures, but 5 of my personal favourites... (mostly your night lights shot.) I have only recently gotten to know you a little better in hangouts and I am so excited to get to know you more. I am incredibly grateful to have you as a friend. I cannot believe what you did by giving prints to people who donated and by getting +Brian Matiash
involved. Thank you, truly. Huge. And with that, Brian, once again... wow. You have supported the hunt for a long time and have always been so encouraging. Thank you for once again going above and beyond what anyone expects. You're truly a wonderful guy.+Renee Vilneff
was I over the moon to see your beautiful face last night on the show. You big sneaky liar! Renee is an "in real life" friend of mine, who is hilarious and wonderful and her smile can light up a room. I was SO happy that you signed up to play in the hunt, that you're becoming a great part of my G+ life and that you are growing as a photographer a crazy amount. It's awesome to watch. Thank you for everything you did in this crazy project.+Paul Howard
I LOVE that you had a part in this! My neighbour to the south that hopefully I will soon meet IRL. Thank you so much for your help to "keep the ball rolling". You have become on of my favourite people on here.
And then +Alan Shapiro
. You are the reason the hunt became real. You became my friend, then my teacher and my mentor and I discovered what an incredible man you are. You are the most generous person I have ever known; your dedication to teaching and helping and inspiring people never ceases to amaze me. You make me laugh, you give me confidence and you often kick my arse, which is exactly what I need 99% of the time. I adore you. You really are my very best friend. And I still cannot believe
you kept this from me!!!
I know there were a lot of you involved in making this happen. To every single one of you who donated... I'll never get over your generosity
I started the hunt because I love photography... the hunt became more to me after I witnessed what an incredible group of people I had around me. I now do the hunt for so many reasons: to give people a reason to take out their camera, to push people into trying things they normally wouldn't even think about, to challenge people, to show people thru your peers just what amazing things you can do with your camera and a single idea, to give people an audience, to give people support and encouragement... and to build a safe playground where everyone is included, is respected and is encouraged to discover just what G+ is. But mostly, it's to bring you amazing people together, to give you something in common to base friendships on. Watching you all come together, watching your threads and seeing you all build relationships... it delights me. It gives me chills.
I never saw this coming. I never expected anything like this. I do it because I REALLY love it and I love you. I can't describe how this feels. I can't. I still don't think I really realize wth you all did.
Oh... and if anyone needs a pet hamster, I have some old ones up for sale.