One Purrfect Neko Family
Here’s the story… of a lovely lady
Who was bartending at Laguna Bar one night…
When a man fell… upon her counter,
“Do I know you?” “Well yes, you might!”
With all due apologies for having bastardized The Brady Bunch(tm) theme, the story is strangely familiar: two people meet in Second Life, then later hook up in real life, and become such good friends that they adopt a virtual daughter and start living together in happy Neko family-hood. Sound too strange to believe? Read on…
How did it all begin?
Elora and Imso first met when Elora was bartending at a Second Life club. Imso (who is a fantastic DJ) was celebrating not having to work that night with such a dancing frenzy that he fell off the club’s balcony and landed right in front of Elora. Chats ensued, and it wasn’t long before they discovered that they not only lived in the same small country, but had quite a bit in common, including some real life friends. They had even met in person once, over a decade ago. And all of this came full circle because of Second Life…
What inspired Neko?
“It was all Imso’s idea,” says Elora, “he’s a wild cat, that one.” In honor of his (RL) birthday, Imso and Elora sent out birthday party invitations complete with Neko tails and ears to all their friends, in order to celebrate the event by “playing Neko” for a night. But after the party, the furry parts just… somehow… stayed put. Elora shrugged, “it kinda gets to you.”
For Imso, it was an accurate reflection of his personality. “I like to be stray. I’m a compulsive role-player in RL (he said with a twitch of his dice-bedecked tail), so being Neko here made me feel accordingly to what I really am, or at least try to be, in Second Life — free, stray, strolling along as I like.”
So how in the world did Sonya manage to enter the picture?
Sonya had always been a mutual friend, and technically a virtual family member, considering that Elora’s sister BlueAngel had already adopted her as a niece. But it was the strange lure of furry Neko ears and tail that got to her: “I loved seeing myself with ears and tail,” grinned Sonya.
She started joking about being adopted by Elora and Imso and “going Neko” full time. Next thing you know, Elora and Imso bought a new house suitable for a Neko family, completely redecorated it with appropriate Neko perches and furniture, and Sonya moved into the front yard in her very own Neko-ish shipping container.
What does this Neko family do for fun?
“We are online together nearly every day,” answered Elora. “Imso is the creative guy and a DJ.” But Imso “only DJs when I feel like it, as I never want SL to become WORK.” Elora is a bartender and owns a DJ Agency. Meanwhile Sonya was working in a gallery as a history consultant (yes, in Second Life) until it closed recently. They have their own private club “Paws Off,” and are actively involved in a gallery at a sim co-owned by Imso, where he and Elora set up rotating art and photography exhibits, including some rather talented photography of their own.
Apparently the whole family also shares a rather familiar addiction: “We’re a bit shopaholics,” confessed Elora. Sonya snorted in response, “A bit?! We are veryyyy shopaholics!” Their favorite stores include Sn@tch, CatNip, Deviant Kitties, Eat Rice, and Renegade for Imso… whose record of attachments is a whopping 1271 prims worn at one time. “I’m a sucker for belts and armbands,” he grinned, “some of the most beautiful acessories in SL are Neko.” (This kitteh blogger couldn’t agree more).
These family ties have become so strong, they even extend beyond the virtual world. In fact I wasn’t able to interview them right away, because all three of them were spending the weekend together in real life, along with some other friends they’d met in SL. They estimate they have around 25 people who are friends in both SL and RL… which Elora says has made these friendships much closer.
The Neko Bunch
Okay, so maybe Elora and Imso only wound up with one daughter named Sonya, not six kids. And in real life, they all hail from Portugal, not a 1960’s split level in American suburbia. Nor did anyone in The Brady Bunch(tm) ever wear furry tails or ears to my knowledge. And yet, here is a family similarly brought together by fate, in every sense of the word. Who also just happens to be Neko.
In meeting these three wonderful people, I couldn’t help but marvel at the way connections between humans (and Nekos) arise and evolve, despite how some in the ‘real world’ might dismiss our ‘virtual world’ as being separate from human connection.
Elora, wise Neko mom that she is, summed it up perfectly: “Because family is also the one you choose.”
All photos (except the top one) by Bobby Yoshikawa <3***
© Stacia Villota / Virtual Neko in Second Life – 2008