I won't use Gmail. I use mutt. But for my sister it may be quite a useful interface. Her /home/jutta/.forward looks like:
Here is the email I wrote: People send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
It goes to my server in Finland. My server accepts it. It keeps one copy of the mail. It sends another copy to email@example.com
If my server goes down then my server can't accept mail. If this happens do not panic. You could give firstname.lastname@example.org as an interim address. This is very bad scenario. If you notice your friends writing mails to email@example.com rather than firstname.lastname@example.org when my server is working, correct them!
I do not trust gmail. But I have set this account up for you as it is better than Ilohamail, and it sort of forms a backup if my server goes down. Gmail can't pickup mail as it wants you to use the service exclusively, hence the sending another copy part.
If gmail sucks or you are concerned about your privacy then you can always goto mail.dabase.com. All your incoming mail will go to both.
Use whatever you prefer.