Being a member of an online photography forum like Clickin Moms has so many advantages.  At CM we have mounds of tutorials, helpful blog posts, amazing Breakout Sessions and CMU courses.  More often than not, during online chatting and courses, there are connections made and friendships formed.  This is a little story of how two CMs, who had never before made contact with each other, connected through the forum and the CMglimpse project.   Their friendship has bloomed and so have their little ones.

a tale of two friends

Melissa Gibson‘s story:

The one and only reason why I joined CM back in 2010 was for the photography tutorials, picture share and serious critique. Okay, so that’s three reasons. Never once did I imagine that I would actually make wonderfully, sweet friends. Friends that are nearly down the road from me, yet also friends that are across the globe. It never occurred to me that while I was learning about photography from CM, my children would be learning about life in another country from CM. Yet that, is exactly what has been happening.

You see? Several months back, a mom of two and fellow CMer, in Australia commented on one of my CMglimpse images of my family roasting S’mores on vacation. She mentioned that she had never had S’mores before and, in fact, didn’t even know what they were. That is when it all started. My girls and I knew that we couldn’t bear to let this sweet family go on with life not tasting that yummy goodness. A few weeks later, we mailed out a package in hopes that the ingredients, books, and letter would make it all the way to the other side of the world. And? It did!

My girls have been so excited to share our lives with the Bailey Family. We have learned about their lives in Australia, their opposite seasons, having Christmas in summer, and even words and sayings that are different from our American words.  They ask me, “What time is it in Australia now, Mommy?” and “What do you think our buddies do for fun on Fridays, Mommy?” They are learning that friends are near. And far. That writing letters and sending packages is so very exciting. And receiving them is just as irresistibly wonderful! And that Vegemite? It is an acquired taste. We can’t wait to see where this friendship is headed. To Australia, perhaps?

vegemite from pen pals in Australia

Narelle Bailey‘s story:

In the past I would never have imagined myself to be actively involved on a forum. I originally came across Clickin Moms whilst internet browsing through photography related pages. There was an amazing amount of information all conveniently located in the one place. I joined right away, but just intended to read.  For the longest time I mostly lurked, and was too chicken to post much. Then I decided I would join in on the Instagram Glimpse project for a bit of fun and creative inspiration. It was then that I really started to see CM members as real people with real families. Most of the participants were a world away from me in Australia, but seeing little snippets from their daily lives made them seem so much closer to home. I started to become more involved on the forum and found that I was part of a wonderful community and genuine friendships were beginning to form.

On Instagram, it was Melissa that really stood out to me. Anyone that knows her would agree that she brings so much sweetness and humour to our days. I absolutely fell in love with her adorable family too. I often saw things from the Americans on Instagram that I had never seen before here in Australia. Melissa became my go to person for any questions that were playing on my mind. I was especially curious about S’mores and drinking out of glass jars. You can imagine our surprise when a package arrived all the way from the United States from the Gibson family! My son was so excited that I had to calm him down so he wouldn’t tear the whole thing apart. I felt like a little kid again. The package contained everything we needed to make S’mores for ourselves, some books about America for our kids and glass drinking jars! We had so much fun making the S’mores and learning about another country.  We couldn’t wait to send our package with books, Tim Tams and of course some Vegemite.

This has turned out not only to be a valued friendship for me, but also a terrific experience for my whole family.

Pen pals for children and photographers

At CM, we spend our time reading through tutorials, chit-chatting in the Break Room, and gushing over the Picture Share forum.  We are making connections and friendships with others who share our joy of photography.  Women all over the world are posting and coming together for the art that we love.
Why not take advantage of those worldwide connections?  Let’s introduce our children, through our love of photography, to another country.  Another culture.  A new experience.  A brand new friend. Come join us in the forum and sign up for the Pen Pal Project.  It’s sure to be exciting!

Learn more about the Pen Pal Project in the forum here.

Find some tools on communicating with your Pen Pal on the CM Pinterest Board here.