I Had The Time Of My Life With My Best Friend At Anime Weekend Atlanta

I Had The Time Of My Life With My Best Friend At Anime Weekend Atlanta

We ate Pocky, met new people and wore really weird costumes among other activities.

When most people think of conventions, they picture huge events with all sorts of people in strange anime costumes running around. Or maybe they think of VidCon or ComicCon, way over in California. While those ideas are all good summaries of cons, very few think of a somewhat smaller convention many call "Anime Weekend Atlanta," or AWA for short. (On a side note: "AWA" kind of looks like a strange anime emoticon.)

I was a lucky attender, since my best friend Katy invited me to go this year with her magical four-day passes. Katy was dressed as Sapphire from "Steven Universe," having spent over six months making her own dress. I, on the other hand, simply threw on an old color guard costume and called myself Turquoise, a character that did not technically exist on the show. Finally, we were ready to go!

While we couldn't attend on that Thursday and Friday – being good students and all – we both got up at 4:30 a.m. to make the drive the next day and be the first ones in line. Even though we had to wait a few hours, this strategy worked well because we ended up sixteenth in the line. Many people have the misconception that this convention is strictly about anime, but there are all kinds of fandoms there – from "Harry Potter" to "Gravity Falls," shows and movies of all types were everywhere.

After wandering and making a few friends (including a rather amazing Omega Flowey cosplayer from "Undertale"), we were finally able to get into the trading room. The trading room was a fancy name for the place where people sold different items. Because this was most of the vendors' one chance to sell, everything was expensive. This was bad news for me since I only had $22. Katy, the responsible mom friend, had $67 plus her debit card. At least she took pity on me and got me a lovely watercolor painting of Lapis Lazuli from "Steven Universe".

We even became friends with a vendor! She was selling some beaded jewelry and pixel art, and after a discussion on "Undertale," she offered to sell me Napstablook for a cut price. I had two dollars, so even this kind offer was out of my cheap price range. But in the end, it was still nice to meet her.

Lunch was an adventure; because there weren't many restaurants at the galleria where we were, we went across the street to the mall to find food. This was rather brave for two introverts since we were in full cosplay, and this mall wasn't affiliated with AWA. We got quite a few stares, and one guy even asked if we could go on his Snapchat.

Overall, we didn't go to many panels, but the ones we did go to were quite interesting. The one on creative writer was led by two Japanese manga and anime creators. Through a translator, they informed us that creating something is like running naked into a room of 100 people and screaming. Most people will hate it, but five will think it's amazing. They then apply those five people to the world.

Our last major activity was going to Nerd Church. Both of us are Christians, and though we're not particularly extremely religious, we went to see what it was. Imagine our shock when it was an actual sermon comparing "The Walking Dead" to our spiritual life, and it was led by (drumroll please) Andy Field. To put this in perspective, he's not only a psychology professor, but he's also a famous voice actor who did the voice of HandUnit, the guide in "Five Nights At Freddy's: Sister Location." Katy is a big fan of the "Five Nights At Freddy's" franchise, so she was excited to get a picture and talk to him.

We blew the rest of our money on Pocky, Japanese soft serve ice cream, bean cakes and other Japanese sweets, and we settled down to watch a horror animation and some Bill Wurtz videos. To Katy's delight, Andy Field came up to us, chatted with us a bit, thanked us for coming and then asked where we got our food, so I guess we're basically best friends with him now.

While many talk down about conventions, I love them. I don't like being around people much with it being rather stressful, but being surrounded by people who not only love the same things as you but will also discuss them with you is really therapeutic. I got to spend a weekend with my best friend, dress up and act half my age and best of all, made new friends. I really want to thank everyone I met along the way. I had the time of my life.

Cover Image Credit: Emma Buoni

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To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.

Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

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What It's Like Being A West Coaster Attending College On The East Coast

From California to New Jersey, here are changes I've encountered and how I've handled them.


Aside from better pizza and bagels, I've encountered a lot of changes since I've moved to New Jersey. I'm from the coastal side of Los Angeles where rain doesn't exist and you could wear either shorts and a tank top almost everyday of the year and be comfortable.

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Apparently leaves falling from trees is an annual thing. Southern California has a small number of deciduous trees, so I experienced a real fall last year. I picked a pumpkin from the vine instead of from a tub at the grocery store and got farm fresh donuts from an actual farm with fields and animals.

I was able to witness a first snow and how pretty the trees look when they're covered. I made a snowman in the back of campus and had a snowball fight with some friends.

I also experienced a terrible snowstorm where my umbrella turned inside out and smacked me in the face and then hit the person behind me. I then tried to go after my umbrella and slipped on some ice which the person also saw...so after that I died of embarrassment in my dorm for the rest of the weekend. There were a lot of ups and downs.

Everything in suburban New Jersey is spread out, so it's been a struggle not having access to a car. Back home in California, a CVS, Target, Office Depot, and even a Spencer's (if you're in that weird shopping mood,) was right around the corner. The other night I tried looking up the nearest Mexican restaurant and it was 15 miles away. The Uber was expensive so I canceled it and decided my basic white girl order of plain chicken tacos with a side of guac wasn't worth the trip.

I've tried remembering major cities in Jersey so that when I meet someone and they talk about where they are from I can say, "Oh, I know where that is!" I try asking about their town, how school was, or their family. The only question I've been asked when telling someone I'm from LA is, "do you know any celebrities?"

I don't really mind the question, I've actually come up with some pretty good fake stories on the spot. I just can't believe people think that the famous actors of Beverly Hills just randomly walk the streets. But just for the record, one time I met Wee-Man from "Jack-Ass" at his chronic taco shop. And yes, I got plain chicken tacos.

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