Hi Jette, and welcome to the madhouse! You seem to have managed pretty well so far!
This part of the site is more forum than chat room .... as far as I can tell, you post a message or answer an existing one. Sometimes it jangles a nerve somewhere and sparks of a whole heap of heated discussion, other times it starts a deluge of fun and interesting comments.
We're quite a far flung and generally pretty amiable bunch and the biggest issue tends to be that our dear friends at LF often chop replies/posting for no apparent reason, or neglect to post them for 48 hours. So sometimes it all makes very little sense. (Or maybe it's just my own personal ramblings that make no sense?! lol)
The LF instant messenger is easy to use, but I've also noticed if you have firewalls or pop-up blockers on your computer it's difficult to use. Click on the right for a particular person's profile. Click on their name to initiate a personal chat. I've also discovered people can block incoming instant messages so you can say hello to someone and they never know you tried to chat with them. Good luck!