When I was 38 weeks pregnant with my third child, and my sister suddenly died, I was a mess, as you can imagine. I was having all sorts of health problems and suddenly plunged into grief and I had two young children to care for, and it was without a doubt the darkest, most oppressively difficult time in my life.
Friends rallied around, of course, and I will be forever grateful. But in that hideous period, the kindness of two near strangers stood out. One, a teacher, volunteered to bring both my kids to the school gates for the remainder of the term so that I wouldn't have to walk into the school. She knew how difficult it was for me to face people, and I will never forget her sensitivity and generosity.
The other, the class parent for my daughter's year, arranged a food roster for me. Every single night for weeks I had a hot meal on the table for my family thanks to her. I'd never met her, but that woman made a profound difference to my ability to cope.
Fast forward eighteen months, and I am sitting on the grass at a class picnic with my now toddler on my lap. I am chatting to that class parent, properly thanking her for all she did to help me. The conversation segues into a discussion of social media. I explain that I'm on Twitter (I'm feeling quite proud because I already have a couple of hundred followers) and wonder if she's ever heard of it.
"Kerri, we've been chatting on Twitter for months. I'm Sharpest Pencil."
My worlds collided.
Since then, Lana and I have spent a ridiculous time communicating, across every medium one can imagine. We talk on Twitter, in public and (far less politically correctly) in DMs. We talk on Facebook, on Instagram, in emails, and in texts. We talk on the phone and we catch up in person. I have many friends who I adore, but Lana is the only friend who lives in all of my communities - the online, the Jewish, the school, and the anxious.
Of course, being South African, Lana is as different to me as cheese is to a polar bear. Her accent is irritating and she's bossy and she doesn't like most of my clothes. She is a dog person and I am a cat person. She is also a cat person, but whatever. And we disagree on nearly everything, which is weird because we also agree on nearly everything.
But our conversations are hilarious, and often bizarre, and for fun, we thought we'd share them with you.
This is the second in our serious of #5minutes with Kerri and Lana. We are in bed. Don't ask why. Just go with it and look at those ginormous pills.