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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I Asked 5 Europeans What They Think of Americans, And Oooh Boy

I asked 5 people in Europe what they thought of Americans and it was pretty funny.

Sometimes, I feel Americans don't think too much about how we are viewed by others. It is hard to name off bad traits about one's own country because in reality, who wants to do that?

I asked ten Europeans what they thought about Americans, to see if everyone really thought the stereotypes that are made about American people were true.

So in asking, "what do you think of Americans," these are the responses I got...

1. "Well, I was just curious, how many credit cards do you have...?" - Germany

A lot of European people think that our view of money and its importance is odd. I have noticed since being here, people do not work nearly the hours most people do in the U.S., money is not their only motive.

People here are not as concerned with what seems to be the American ideal of working harder, having more money and financial security and being able to purchase more materialistic goods.

2. "You guys have bigger appetizers than some of our meals." - Belgium

It's true, since being in Europe, I have not seen a to-go box, or have ever left a meal feeling so full that I need a nap. We could truly learn a thing or two from the portion control in Europe.

3. "Americans are way too loud." - Spain

I never thought about how loud Americans are, mainly because it is so normal to me. After getting used to speaking with my roommates who are all from Europe, and then meeting up with a group of Americans, I see how loud we all talk together and how many glares we get from across a restaurant.

4. "You all have the worst vocabulary I have ever heard." - Italy

I don't even have an argument for this one, people who speak English as their 3rd language truly have better vocab than most of us.

5. "You all smile way too much and get hurt when people don't reciprocate it." - Spain

It took me a few weeks to not get butthurt when people here don't smile upon eye contact but it isn't rude, but in America, a smile is almost just a polite gesture that means virtually nothing.

To sum it up, yes. People think these stereotypes are true.

They really do live under the assumption of so many stereotypes about us. It's not that they dislike Americans at all; they think we are all friendly and funny (not always in a good way, but hey I'll take it).

Cover Image Credit: leaflanguages / Flickr

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10 Must-See Spring Break Destinations For The True Adventurer

For the True Adventurer

1. Catalina Islands, U.S.A.

This is the perfect spot for those looking to be surrounded by nature. From deep water diving to surfing, and hiking, Catalina has it all plus its right off the coast of Southern California so once you are done exploring you can go and explore L.A.

P.S. It’s where I’ll be spending some of my time this break.

2. Eugene, Oregon

You’ve probably never heard of this place, but it is such a beautiful town. If you’re not looking for the full out nature adventure that is Catalina I would consider going to Eugene. It’s a small town surrounded by beautiful landscapes that will have your Instagram popping for weeks.

3. Estes Park, Colorado

This is definitely for those who enjoy skiing and snowboarding. Those of you who like to be out on the slopes will find joy in Estes, and it isn’t as popular as some other areas in Colorado, so there will be fewer people. Lastly, who doesn’t love cuddling by the fireplace in a quaint little town

4. South Padre Island, Texas

There is a good mix of exploring nature and the party atmosphere of spring break on South Padre Island. Everything's bigger in Texas including spring break. The parties are wild and the sea around the island is even wilder.

5. Daytona Beach, Florida

For the ultimate partier who is still on a budget, Daytona Beach is the way to go. You are still getting to experience the spring break party lifestyle without the expenses of Miami.

6. Havana, Cuba

There is no telling how much longer we will be allowed into Cuba. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit such a colorful place. With its old-timey cars and streets filled with music, you feel almost transported back to a simpler time.

7. Montreal, Canada

Foodies this is the place to be. Montreal is home to some of the best restaurants in the world and also has a great food truck scene. With its mixture of French and Canadian culture, it gives you the experience of being in Europe without leaving the continent.

8. Bali, Indonesia

It isn’t the cheapest place to visit, but if you rent a small villa on the water and a motorbike you're good to go. College is stressful enjoy the chill vibes of the islands while lounging in your pool.

9. Ecuador

This is the place to be in South America, not only do they use the dollar but there is so much to do there. It has the Andes mountains, the Galapagos Islands, the Amazon rainforests, and lots of beaches for surfing.

10. Krakow, Poland

Visiting anywhere in Europe is not cheap, but the further east you go the cheaper it is. One of the best cities in eastern Europe is Krakow. It is filled with rich architecture and great food. The weather there is also very nice this time of year. If you're looking to be unique and go somewhere new and different I would highly recommend Krakow.

If you have a favorite destination for spring break please comment it down below. I’d also love to hear where everyone is going this year!

Cover Image Credit: Alexey Topolyanskiy

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