Living one year in Second Life?

In my time, well… I took three 16-hour days or so just to understand how prims stuck together – and that was after a 90-minute session tweaking the appearance of my avatar (it paid off – I just did slight changes since then 🙂 ). I logged off in hidden nooks because I was afraid to what would happen to my avatar when I was offline, since I couldn’t afford a home. I was scared and furious one day that a texture failed to rez properly — it was a bug with my graphics card, but I thought that someone pulled a prank on me while I was “away”. I remember using a green carpet texture to make a jacket and couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the amazingly detailed and realistic clothes other people wore. The first item I built was a lamp post, because I thought SL followed a 24-hour cycle in PST, and I’d be in the dark most of the time anyway, since I’m in GMT (of course, I had the timezones completely mixed up – and I took half a year to understand that we have 4-hour days followed by 1-hour nights, with two half-hour twilight periods) and by mere chance I seemed to be logging in always during the “night time”. I spent all my first days in the Morris sandbox, which I had found by chance on my first online hours, and was fascinated by what people could build there. I tried desperately to get some people to help me out; I didn’t know what a “Linden” or a “Mentor” was (yes, I browsed through the notecards at Orientation Island, but I simply didn’t understand half of it). Titles, by the way, baffled me completely. All was strange and weird, and all around me, people seemed to be about the same “age” as myself, desperately exchanging bits of information and rumour here and there.

I remember the first person who sent me some freebies – that was tireless Dee McLean, who must have the largest inventory in SL filled with freebie stuff. I was incredibly grateful to her; she was some sort of goddess to me, giving away so much stuff that it hurt my eyes – her generosity seemed to be boundless. The same happened with other people I met, like Meritum Lily, and later, my eight-month-neighbour, Lily Lightcloud. Tears came to my eyes when I started to understand how golden-hearted most of the “elder” population of Second Life seemed to be – how patient they were with this utterly clueless, wide-eyed newbie, who stumbled along, tripped over doors, crashed at windows, and ended up facing the wrong place and talking to walls.

The Summer of 2004 was special in many ways. SL had just gotten animations and streaming music, and dance clubs started really to become interesting. Also, there was an overflow of new residents that time, far higher than the usual rate, and Linden Lab didn’t manage to keep up with the regular supply of new land. You had waiting lists for “new land” (a program called “Land for the Landless”, now replaced with First Land) for 6 to 8 weeks. I bought my own first 512 m2 plot in Uli for L$ 6000 using money exchanged through GOM – there really wasn’t an alternative, and I thought my plot was pretty cheap at that time of land scarcity.

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