At home with @littlejoybook and family

I first met Joanna in 2017. It was at the #PixelMeetupTO event I got to host through Google Canada for the launch of the first Google phone. It was a packed day with three different sessions for the meet-up. Details from that day are a blur but I’ll never forget how I felt when I met Joanna. She truly was a “little joy book”. I could genuinely feel her excitement to be at the meet-up. She wasn’t just a fan or follower from Instagram—she was a friend. From online to offline.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see each other after that. There was always a conflict with our schedules, and it didn’t help that she didn’t live in the city. (She’s from London, Ontario.) Still, we developed a friendship. Through authentic engagements on social media, we got to be in each others’ lives.

One day Joanna randomly sent me a voice note on Instagram. It was the sweetest [voice] message I’ve ever received. I thought to myself, “How can this girl be so kind? We’ve only met once (and briefly) but she managed to feel/say all these things about me.” In that moment, I knew it was time we caught up in person. She wasn’t able to come to Toronto so I told her I’d come to London instead. “AWW you’re the sweetest! Let me check with my parents, cuz if you come to London you HAVE to come to our house for Iranian dinner.” She was ecstatic but I could tell she wasn’t sure if I was being serious. Why would I go out of my way to rent a car and drive two here from/to Toronto to see her? More importantly, why would I go all the way to London?

But the thing is, why not? I believe that if something/someone matters to you, you’ll find a way to make it work. Sometimes that means going above and beyond.

When I got to London, I was in for a surprise. Joanna and her parents welcomed me with open arms and I felt at home.

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