Day 0 - Getting to Baltimore (Wed. 5th)
This was interesting, because I've never flown before, never been outside of Europe, never in the US, never BronyCon, and many more things haha. So it was quite an adventure.
It was kinda emotional seeing the Netherlands from such a high perspective for the very first time. The sensation of depth and scale and everything is way different from that high. Something that was hard to imagine and just has to be experienced. I had a window seat, so I had a good view of surroundings.
The flight time did mean I had to leave at like 5 in the morning on Wednesday, my time. With the expected arrival in Washington Dulles Airport being around 18:00, the plan was to then go with public transit to Baltimore. (Spoilers: that didn't exactly happen)
First problems began at my Transfer in Turkey, Istanbul. (Yes... I first flew away from the US, just to go back towards it) The transfer time wasn't a lot already, just over an hour, but then the landing got delayed either due to traffic or weather. Or why not both?! The landing was kinda interesting, seemed like there was a lot of wind. But yea, it ended up being late.
Didn't help I had to move over like 400 gates because the Ataturk Airport is huge... with the signs saying about 20+ minutes walking time while I had like 40 minutes left to get there!
While I made it in time myself, also being checked by security there old school manual style, I later found out my checked luggage didn't. But that wasn't until after the long flight. Which took longer than expected. Expected flight duration was about 12 hours, ended up being like 17, delay on departure and landing.
Landing later, then it was time to go through security and grab my bags. Easy enough right? Well, security was. But waiting for my bag just to never have it actually be there wasn't. That took a while... When I made the report with the Baggage handler there it was already nearing 21:00.
So I went and tried to find my way around on the airport, finding the bus station. Which I ended up not taking, for one I didn't have closely fitting bills, and two it was 22:00 by the time and the travel time is about 3-4 hours. On a route I had never done before, and alone.
Ended up taking a more expensive shared shuttle directly to the hotel. Sharing with just one other person who I had a nice talk with about the differences between US, Netherlands, Baltimore and more. Quite pleasant ride! Way shorter travel time, no worries, and monkey delivered at the Hilton doorsteps almost exactly at midnight.
Ended up doing Subway food run two hours later with DarkFlame75
before calling it a night! He arranged my accommodation in his hotel room, basically being one of the main reasons I've been able to even afford going to BronyCon!
Tirek trying to stomp on my fun!
Time bending non-chronological edit: Let me just add quickly because I forgot to mention it.
Someone showed me this piece as an actual tattoo on his arm. It caught me of guard so much. That was really awesome too see. Took me a while to recover from the shock of seeing it haha. That, was a great moment!
Day 1 - The day before Friday (Thu. 6th)
This day started a bit late, we rested until noon basically, haha. But most stuff was focused on later on anyway I guess. So not the biggest problem. Plans were to get ore-registration done, table set-up day, and just meeting up with a bunch of folks. Oh and it's when I expected my Luggage and main Package to arrive.
That didn't happen.
Luggage I was kinda like, ok. Flight time is quite long, so maybe later? I had some necessities in my carry-on and had some compensation kit from the airline as well, so I was still ok on that end.
My main print package, though...
It was released on the Monday (technically Sunday in US time) by customs. So I expected it to be there, that was kinda the late end already. But nope. Checked the tracking code, still in customs. So that was a very stressful moment and disheartening... All trucks that were to arrive for that day already did. So I'd basically be starting out Friday with just the postcards I had in my backpack! Gut wrenching moments, it felt like nothing was going smooth at all.
Thankfully it was fun seeing so many different people for the first time! Something to help balance things out. Ate at Chipotle for the first time, were I met up with some other folks. Took a bowl, but I couldn't really finish it. Maybe it was the stress cramping me up. Was tasty, though.
It was where I received these little awesome apples from Kenishra
It attached itself to my badge and never left
So that was really nice, the first gift from BronyCon I received! Got to briefly meet Celebi-Yoshi
at that point as well, who had the vendor table right behind me! Easy little shortcut opportunities through the back wall curtains.
I first had to team up with SilFoe
though who was arriving that day. I had her badge and everything, and we were sharing at able in the first place. First time actually meeting in person, hah. (I suppose like with so many folks at BronyCon
Eventually we headed to the Marketplace to set up the table, as far as I could since I didn't have a lot of my inventory. Which was kinda hard. It really hurt walking around the hall each day before it opened, seeing everyone put up their work, knowing I didn't have my stuff. Yea... those were probably some of the tougher moments...
I spend the Thursday mostly figuring out a way to salvage things. I went by tables, looking for help, people with printers and such, just in case something could be worked out. Hoping my package would arrive on Friday and hoping to get some prints to fill my table until then.
I ended up getting some amazing help from MLP-FIM-TPM
who said they'd be able to help me out with at least some prints. That was really the first moment of relief I had, knowing I'd be able to get at least some prints available. I just had to get my print files, which I had on two locations. One was my USB drive, which was in my luggage...
I was glad I did also put them on my Google Drive, so I could figure that out for printing the next day.
Since there was not a lot left to do in the hall, we ended up wandering out, while talking with Celebi-Yoshi
when I didn't even notice walking by RainbowPlasma
!!! along with Mahaugher
wasn't there yet)
Joined in on going to Five Guys for the first time!
There were some more folks, but oh gosh so many names! Sorry if I forgot to mention some of y'all. But it was fun actually meeting some of the CutieArtCrusaders
for the first time.
I also made my second attempt at eating that day, didn't finish my small burger. (Ate it the next day, though haha) I liked it, felt like US stuff either way.
Trying to remember what happened the rest of that night, aside from trying to find my luggage again. Couldn't get in touch with the airline either. So yea, stressful day before the con even started. Also had to arrange the stuff for the next day.GSphere
joined in at this day as well, ending up in the same hotel room. So it was great to see he was an awesome guy. Really helpful throughout the entire convention, and fun to hang out with.
I think the remainder of the night ended up with a group in a hotel, talking, games, and such. Then slowly getting back to rest for the next day.
This wasn't before we ended up doing some after midnight birthday stuff for DarkFlame75
I had about 16 little postcard prints of these, in both orientations. When I had the chance I scattered them all over his hotel bed, so he'd return to discover a fun little mess to clean up!
A fun little secret plan
I imagined he'd never have enough moons.
Nice note to end the day on I'd say.
Had to save what I could while everything was burning down?!
Day 2 - Actually day 1 of BronyCon (Fri. 7th)
One of the more bitter-sweet days. Awesome things were going to happen, like the art panel later that day, but it was also a day without my expected prints... nor my luggage. At least I wouldn't be alone at the table, since I was sharing with SilFoe
, no Multistream that weekend, but Multitable instead!
I was really happy to at least look forward to getting some work printed thanks to the Traveling Pony Museum.
But oh, you didn't think this went smooth now do you? Those files I put on my google drive? My two best sellers, Statim Luna
and All parts
could not be downloaded... even tested it on multiple devices, but the files just wouldn't download. So that kinda brought down the moment.
Luckily I had some other good sellers available, the Tirek and Golden Oak pieces shown above! So not all was lost. I also went for some Daybright Moontime
. They were so kindly to print 10 each, which I am extremely grateful for. It wasn't what I originally planned on having, but it was way better than having no 11x17 prints at all!!! They also looked very busy throughout the day, so I was happy they managed to spend some time helping me out. And the prints looked awesome!
The Twilight pieces went really fast, especially for a Friday I think. Although I have no previous BronyCon reference points for that, Fridays seem to be a slow start in general. Still, it wasn't slow at all when it came to meeting a bunch of folks! Even though I had to break the news of not having my shipment in time, many times.
Everyone was so caring and supportive about it. The day began really sour, but the more hours passed by, the better I got settled in into the situation. Or even simply distracted by all the new faces and talks! Even if things weren't optimal I couldn't help but smile so much throughout the day my cheeks started hurting. It was so exciting to be there.
In the end, the most important package to have arrived was me.
It barely got through in my mind that I'd be at a panel soon as well. Really crazy, nervouscited moments. I was quite looking forward to experiencing it, my first panel ever, in the mane event hall, at BronyCon... Talk about starting out big haha.
One of two frames I showed during the panel
Arriving at the mane event hall, getting to walk behind the curtains, that moment I began to realize it was happening. Seeing that table in the spotlights, chairs, microphones, all ready to go. Getting the run-down for the panel. I was number three in line to talk about my work. Hoping I'd be able to talk smoothly throughout it.
So much fun, though. Got to meet awesome artists there such as JaDeDJynX
, and BronyCon head of design Lauren. Also thanks to Hannah our panel host for putting it all together!
It was amazing to be up there with all of them... all of you. I think it went great and it was really fun to do. Definitely one of the biggest highlight for me during BronyCon. It was such an enjoyable experience.
I might get used to doing panels now... hah. I'm actually hungry for more?!?!
Also oh gosh, those awesome artists up there, after the panel was done they started flattering me with compliments and such! I wasn't sure what just happened. Is that was horsefame feels like?! I had to balance things out and not forget to mention how much I also enjoy all of their art, the different styles, balances and everything.
All panels are recorded, so you can expect this one to go up in the future. There's a lot of recordings in total so it may take a while. I'm kinda looking forward to watching it back haha. So much fun.
Panel might contained apples
After the panel was done I got to answer a couple more questions and meet some other folks! Gotta be honest, I felt quite special after that panel. All the attention, compliments, fans, like... it reminded me I have fans! The honour was all mine really. I will always cherish all of you out there, I really enjoy seeing everyone enjoying my work. So much joy I can't stop!
At this time most folks I knew were already at diner for a while and finishing up any time probably, so I stuck around with those who were around the panel. Tagging along with some to check out the Legends of Equestria panel.
Although I personally probably won't play it any time soon myself, it is always interesting to see the developments and also just the crowd's enthusiasm. I'm part game developer after all, so some interest in games should be healthy eh?
I also know some folks who have been or are still on the team, so to show some support for that as well.
The rest of the night was pretty straight forward. I stuck around with some familiar folks for a bit, while also suffering a bit from stress due to both my luggage and both print packages still being unaccounted for. I ended up trying to relax a bit earlier in the hotel room, not really joining in on some of the parties and drinking. (I ate the burger from the day before
) It was such a weird day, with absolute highs such as the panel but also lows for not getting my package nor luggage on the expected dates.
Eventually room-mates arrived for a nice distracting talk, before preparing for the next day.
One of three prints TPM managed to print for me.
Day 3 - In the middle of everything! (Sat 8th)
Getting up early again! That's the way of the vendor. Gotta set up before opening time. Free breakfast was very much welcome in this!
Before heading to the con I of course checked up for both my luggage and packages, of which neither had arrived yet. It was early, though and the UPS store mentioned I should check back later on the day, when the trucks usually arrive.
Time to get to the table! Didn't really have to bring a lot, although I brought some stuff I forgot the previous day. Which I then proceeded to not use anyway... Sometimes just winging it and keeping it simple works best. Getting ready to meet some people and more interactions. The big Saturday!!!
Setting up was fast for me, though. I was almost sold out of the 11x17 posters I had, and the little pony prints were going slow enough till then.
This left me plenty of time to just kinda... walk around. Which was maybe the most painful marketplace walks I had. Having it confirmed the previous day that nothing arrived when it was supposed to was terrible to have in mind when walking around alone surrounded by so much awesome stuff. I mostly kept to myself at this point, I admit I was choking up.
But, I tried to keep in mind the day had plenty of the good stuff to give! And that it surely did. I didn't really know what to expect, my plan was mostly focused on just sitting there as usual, talking, and checking on the UPS store later that day.
At least I knew my usual Saturday Stream was guarded by blobby AJ
One thing I didn't realise enough was the Saturday being the day after the Panel. All those folks who went to the panel now had the chance to say hi, which I completely failed to realize, so that was a nice surprise! It's awesome to hear folks having gone to the panel, having enjoyed it and also the appreciation for answering questions.
Most of you may know I often say I'm always open for questions, and I do mean that. To actually get that situation in real life? I completely overlooked that possibility haha. It was an awesome experience and another reason why the art panel was one of the biggest highlights for me.
A lot of highlights throughout the days as well, though. So many gifts!
I think I didn't even mention the orange Applejack scarf I got from sourichan
on Friday I think. I felt so fancy and warm wearing it haha. I actually never had a scarf of my own, so that was a welcome gift.
Talking about soft stuff, flutterguy317
got me this blob Applejack plushie, the one without legs, just a blob. Fits perfectly in your hand/hoof and it's so soft! With 6 little apples on her rear hahaha.
He had also brought me a print of Applejack's Mirror
which looks great. So much Applejack acquired!
If that wasn't enough, DewlShock
surprised me as well with a BELIEVE IN Y'ALLSELF.
print from BerryPAWNCH
Very fitting for the situation, and with Applejack it was super effective hah. I kept hanging in there.
It almost feels wrong not giving a separate mention to all you guys in a paragraph not sitting randomly in the middle. But that doesn't lessen the appreciation I have for all of it. It were awesome moments to have had during the con.
You know what came in from the sky?
Other than all those things, it went fairly straight forward throughout the hours. Had a burrito from Chipotle to eat for lunch. With Guacamole this time around and I actually ate it all in one go! Then suddenly it was nearing 3 PM, and I decided to check up on the packages, see if it arrived yet. SilFoe
kept an eye on the table, she was selling her own stuff anyway, so that was easy.
Once I got to the UPS store, the joy I had when I recognized a package. I actually had a package come in?! I promptly tried to arrange the pickup with UPS, luckily having the money on me to pay for receiving it. Then I had to carry it all the way back to the con. Considering it was an unwieldy box, that wasn't the easiest run, let alone the fact the box was falling apart slowly!
Thankfully I knew the prints were in their own box inside the box, so they'd be safe. Still, it went through a rough ride for sure. It was also about to send me through a bit of an interesting mental ride...
Once I got to the table and opened it, I realised it was my second package, not my first (primary) package. How many bitter-sweet moments do I need at one convention?! I wasn't entirely sure how to feel about it at first. I knew it actually contained little prints which I already had, so that was a slight bummer. It also didn't contain as many different ones as my primary, but still four new 11x17 (technically 2 of them 9.5x17) posters.
One of the posters was the Rainbow Dash house shown above. Probably the favourite amongst the four I had, throughout the remaining con. I had it as a medium at previous, but decided to go a step larger with it. Which turned out to be a great choice! I also did it because I wanted some more environmental/landscape pieces in my selection.
We shall make a stand! At this vendor table I'll survive!
The above is another one from the secondary package. One of the 9.5x17 prints. The other being Under the tree
. With both of these I didn't feel comfortable cropping off the sides, since with both it felt it contained important compositional aspects. Anyhow, I also had On Princess...
available now. So pretty awesome to have some completely new prints available! Two older artworks, two new ones.
There wasn't too long until closing time, though. I just laid out the prints on the table in the meantime. Could barely fit it all haha, but I managed. It was nice to at least have some new prints! Although it started to make me worry about what happened to the first package, if the second arrived before it which was send several days later!
Everyone was so happy to hear about my package arriving, though. That atmosphere was quite nice haha. Like finally something going slightly right
Although it was exactly the package I least expected, or I was just blinded by focusing on the others.
Trying to remember the chronological order of nights... was it on the Saturday or the Sunday night what I'm remembering right now?! Thankfully some parts I know for sure on which day it happened so I'm pretty certain about this!
Still plenty of time before bed...
I was tagging along again after the marketplace closed, this time for some plans that ended up being joining up at Hard Rock with some familiar folks. Such as those from the Shattered Kingdoms game by Alicorn Games
who also had their panel the next day, and several other folks joined in too. Amongst which NadnerbD
Always fun to finally get some time to hang out with other different artists as well. Gotta grab those moments, because there certainly weren't enough times to do so. It reminds me it's not just my face that gets revealed, but others as well.
I had a "Texan" burger at Hard Rock. Actually managed to eat this all as well. This day had been good when it came to my appetite being back. Either because I accepted the entire situation around packages and luggage and/or having at least some of my prints come in. The majority of the con was over, so no point in worrying too much any more now right? Time to just focus on the fun.
So after food, and splitting up the team a bit, I ended up with some of them in a hotel room. This is where I ended up actually playing Twilight Sparkle's Secret Shipfic Folder for the very first time! With all(?) the bonus packs included. Really fun and pretty straightforward game, made better by just going for those amusing ships. Sometimes such terrible terrible ships haha.
"Now Skyla gets two daddies" as I connected a second Shining Armour to his so called "daughter" Princess Skyla. I didn't have to play those cards, but you know... I just had to.
I also had to make sure to ship all Applejack cards with all Applejack cards for some reason.
Also, Breezies OP!
I was expecting good things of TSSSF and I wasn't disappointed. Had great folks to play with too, though. I remember hearing about secret tables at previous cons I've been too, and always kinda wondered how it played.
This was kinda the last thing we really did for that night, it was getting quite late having so much fun. Plenty of talking before it really ended, but that means everyone enjoys them self right?
T'was a great distraction from all the stressful things going on and to still be taken care off. Luggage was my main concern, since I needed that to get all those awesome gifts back safely! Thankfully that was the only thing really on my mind. The rest settled down amongst the awesome company I've had so far.
Time to prepare for the final Con day.
Then it was waiting for that final day. Print #4
Day 4 - There was a sun that day (Sun 9th)
This day was quite something, I guess just like any of the other days. Packed with so many different aspects. It was the final day, the final moments in so many ways. At least I was happy to have some more prints to sell! Accepting the fact the main package wouldn't come in at all. The only thing that still bothered me was my luggage, but there was still time to figure that out as well.
Setting up the table again for that last day of sales madness with my new batch of prints was nice. Especially when viwrastupr
offered to loan me some spare wire frame cubes! Replacing the cardboard boxes.
This was very welcome and most definitely helped display all my available prints nicely. They all fit exactly on it as well, with price list included.
Even better, it gave me shelf space to put my prints on as well. One of the biggest physical demands being a vendor for me was grabbing the prints. I got quite sore from previous cons having to store them on the ground and bend over or do a squat training all day. It also allowed me to remain at eye level which makes it easier to keep interacting.
And it's just fun grabbing those posters from the shelf, felt store like, fancy.
Next time I'll have my own fancier set-up. I've been looking at those wire frame cubes but couldn't get them (cheap) in the Netherlands. I also had no idea what their size and weight exactly were, until then. They have quite the weight to them, something to consider when transporting it. I may just stick to building up a PVC pipe display, or look for alternatives. I've been slowly saving up for those things, so next year I should be able to do that properly.
*Insert random Applejack picture*
With all that set up, we were ready once again! The final day, all that final day money spending fun. It better have been fun for everyone, because I definitely enjoyed seeing so many folks again. With the bonus of having something to show.
It was probably the best day for sales for me. Although that might be because... well I actually had some inventory again
I think everything I had sold quite well in general. I believe the best seller was actually the Rainbow Dash house throughout the day, which was a pleasant surprise.
I like being able to also sell some non-character focused pieces, and this encourages me to do that more. Either making more to sell or find some older pieces I haven't had on that size yet. Characters will still be my main focus, but it's nice to have some diversity.
The little pony cards were the first time I sold prints that size. (A6 size) They were printed on nice thick card paper (350gsm) so they felt sturdy and could've very well been actual postcards you can send to folks. I might have to do that... like with the actual postcard lining on the back.
There were so many folks passing by again. Some folks finally had some time free from other tasks to stop by. There were also some more folks who went to the art panel which is always awesome to hear! (I'm still really thinking I should do more panels of any kind. Am I a panel addict now?)
My great haul of pepooni stuff from art trading!! Apples acquired
It was a fun final day in the marketplace. Then of course there's the table breakdown time. Packing up everything, putting the prints in boxes ready to be hauled back to the hotel. Not before doing some trades, though. (Not enough trades done, but maybe next time!)
Did some trades with the two table neighbours pepooni
, who I completely forgot to mention were the perfect folks to have as a neighbour. Because we were not only table neighbours, but we're also country neighbours! BronyCon staff must've planned that hahaha
I still think that was perfect.
The trade involved a complex and sophisticated thought process of "Take it all!!! Trade it all!!!"
And the awesome batch of ponies from secret-pony !
All these ponies! I almost can't hold them all. In the process I tried to sneak some of All the little things
unto some of the neighbouring vendors hehe. Dropping them off here and there, although I missed out on some folks in that process as well. I gotta throw more ponies at the other artists next time!
I'm starting to get so many posters I need to figure out where to put them all! I still have plenty of empty space on the walls, but if this continues I'll run out in no time haha. Not a bad problem to have, though.
Leaving the marketplace, with the boxes, knowing I won't re-enter the hall again, was weird. Then walking through the lobby was even weirder. That feeling of everything emptying out, especially on the scale of BronyCon. Even though there were still a lot of people, you just know it's the beginning of the end. Still it was great seeing so many folks having a good time.
The adventure wasn't over yet, though. BronyCon might've been ending, but the folks there were not done yet! Besides that my flight wouldn't leave until Tuesday evening it was nice to know being able to relax with others a bit.
First I still had to drop the stuff off, though. I briefly checked on my luggage and main package, but neither had any progress.
At that point it didn't really get to me a lot, though. At least the package. I had a great time being there anyway, vending was in the past and I was just thinking about the great experiences from behind that table.
Thank you all again for making that awesome. Can't repeat this enough.
Next on the schedule, food!!!
Had plans to go for diner at a noodle place with sourichan
and her boyfriend before they had to leave that day. They passed by my table daily to check up on things and schedule things in (and also give the orange Applejack scarf mentioned before!) It meant some more time with new folks again! There was really not enough time to do that, but it was nice to be able to get to talk with at least some of you out there!
I can't remember the noodle place's name, though... it had noodles in the name I think. Maybe also pasta? It had food basically, and pretty nice food while they were at it. Plus it was something I didn't have during BronyCon yet. T'was fun talking with them about different things, hearing other perspectives and even sharing some ideas hah.
Just like with previous days there were so many other folks walking around with their badges, or other pony stuff. But now it was on the last day for most of them. People having some last moments together before splitting up again (and meeting up online again in later days of course
) Still, though... so many folks!!!
After food was done and time spend talking a bunch, I had to switch company again, but not after my usual awkward goodbyes of course!
Proceeding back to my hotel, trying to figure out where everyone was with my lack of technology. But I wasn't alone for long, though, quickly joining up with the GSphere
. There were always folks somewhere!
Random picture, because we were heading towards the night!
These hours were slightly dreadful in a way. Because I found some time to try and contact the airline again and see if I can figure out my luggage situation. That was my only real worry at that point. How else would I bring all those ponies back home?
Things is, I actually did manage to get in contact! So finally I was getting an idea of what exactly happened, where things went wrong. Apparently my luggage was already successfully transported and signed for at the hotel... on Friday...
Progress? I couldn't find my bag the times I checked up on the bell captain's place which I visited basically every day. So there was something going on somewhere. The airline's baggage handler went to call the hotel and get an idea what was going on.
Then my phone cut out, because I didn't have any prepaid any more because I forgot just how long that call already was...
So a slight panic, as this happened exactly when I was alone in the hotel room. Couldn't get the hotel's phone to work either by the way.GSphere
left briefly when I started calling, but thankfully came back not too long after and let me use his phone!
Several tense moments of trying to call again finally led to reaching through, both sides happy to be in contact again. He had the hotel manager on the other line. So everything was getting explained, which room, names, etc. all that info needed. Basically, my since the hotel room was not on my name, or my name on any other rooms there ended up being some complications.
Then we decided to actually go to the manager in person, which made things a bit easier now we finally made some progress to clear this mess up. Because we just got started...
First checking up with the Bell Captain again, no luck as expected. Then the manager went to check with security to see if they took it there because of the name issues. Some more waiting then... nope. Still no result on where my luggage went. So then he went to check up on the person who signed for it, with more waiting, eventually without any progress either... No-one knew where it went.
So then the plan evolved into security having to check the security footage to get an idea of what happened to it. Which is not the most reassuring thing to hear, but at least there was footage and we knew exactly which time it arrived and was signed for. This was the longest wait, though.
At this point the rest of the group had already showed up, who I briefed about the situation. My mind was so hyper focused on that luggage at that point, I admit I sadly almost completely forgot all the awesome BronyCon stuff that happened. That stressful waiting game. We ended up going to the hotel room, waiting for a call that never came that night.
I couldn't do anything but wait, but I was really happy to be in such good company, surrounded by familiar friendly faces. It really helped get my mind focused on something else again, something fun! The night was still (kinda) young!
So much happened those hours, so have a shocking explosive Applejack
The night evolved into booze and food and eventually Cards Against Humanity! This was the day where everyone could go a bit extra crazy in the night because Monday there was no 7 in the morning schedule.
I didn't drink too much, though. Plenty of talking either way. The experiences of BronyCon getting shared, plans getting made for the night. Contacting some more folks. Most of these things the others did, and I just kinda tagged along providing entertainment where I could. The battle against con-depression was starting soon, we had to prepare!
Then we went into food business. Before BronyCon I mentioned several times to the others something along the lines of "TACO TUESDAY!!!", and even though it wasn't Tuesday, we thought Sunday night was close enough. So plans were made, Taco Bell it was. I never had Taco Bell. We have Taco Mundo and other places in the Netherlands, but that's different. (Prefer the sound of "Mundo", though haha)
Boxes of tacos! Like, wait what, 12 taco box? Two 12 taco boxes? Soft and hard shell?! And some other stuff along the side, with something I forgot the name of for me. Maybe it was an enchilada? I'm not familiar enough with these names...
First I started out with a tiny soft taco. (They are so tiny!!!) Put some of that hot sauce on it, which really wasn't that hot. I actually couldn't taste hot at all... Was that just me? I didn't expect strong, but expected at least strong enough for it to burn a bit heh.
I liked it, though! I do like some good tacos, burritos, tortillas, and all those things.
I could use a box of 12 tacos right now...
Then I ate the other thing, which was bigger and closed up all around. It took a while for me to bite in, though as I first became that annoying monkey who wouldn't eat his food!!! Taunting with biting, without actually taking a bite. Put it in my mouth, took it out. But I eventually did eat it and it was quite good. Nice soft gooey cheese, bits of meat and other stuff.
It was a good night's of food for sure. I wouldn't mind a repeat of that. Or basically any of the other things I ate throughout the days. More reason to come back again next year eh?!
The rest of the night was good fun and games. It was quite a success at distracting my mind, getting it back into that positive vibe. I appreciate that happening.
Hours later this night also had to end. Slowly winding down again, but not without a quick last bite of the last left over tacos!!! (So good)
That day after the last day when everything starts to feel empty...
Day 5 - The Final Full Day (Mon 10th)
The weather really turned after BronyCon ended. Rain everywhere since the night before. Well, kinda not always, though. Still, it seemed kinda fitting. Last full day of relaxing, and trying to get things fixed...
First thing was of course the luggage. And oh was it nice to finally have that go smooth. Went to the desk manager, then went to the bell captain and there the first suitcase through the door... mine.
FINALLY, like finally. To think it's been somewhere around me all that time since Friday.
I forgot to ask where they eventually found it, but ok I was already happy to have it.
Everyone seemed relieved to just see me have my luggage back, and I guess at least in time to pack stuff in it. After it's been emptied out.
Of course this meant quickly getting the group to the hotel room, to open my suitcase and share all the goodies inside! Stroopwafels, Banana Booze (Pisang Ambon) and my Double Salt.
I decided to start out with the Stroopwafels. Probably one of the most iconic and enjoyed Dutch treats. They didn't seem to disappoint!
I had midi sized ones, individually packed, and just about everyone just had to take another one, and another, and another. Thankfully the box had 150 to begin with. Although they ran out before the end of the day...
I did also walk about the hotel to find some left over folks to share it with. It was fun finally being able to share those things. Had been waiting for days to do that. Even managed to get Dusty Katt a supply of some stroopwafels haha. I intruded showing the box and he immediately saw what they were and knew he had to grab some!
Glad I was able to supply folks with sweetness.
Talking about sweet, what about that salt? Double Salt! I only shared that with the folks in the hotel room. We were off to a good start when I began with "Everyone take one and wait for the others and put it in your mouth at the same time". That'll surely not sound suspicious right?
Then they all put it in their mouth, except Kenishra
who only gave it a lick, which was enough for her to get repulsed.
The others bravely tried to keep it in their mouth, but I think everyone eventually caved and got rid of it. At least they tried... as their was a bit of a lingering taste. Those things also last quite a while anyway.
I finished mine, though. To establish I'm indeed Dutch grown monkey crop.
Good stuff, good stuff.
"Keep your candy!" "Who calls that candy anyway?!"
After all those shenanigans we went for a last big group trip, as some had to catch a flight that day. Impending shrinking of the group, oh noes. Another run to Five Guys?! I won't mind haha, had a nice burger again, and finished it this time!
After that we went for some American candy. I gave them mine, now they wanted to get some of their own. We went to "It's Sugar". That name still gets me hahaha wow. I did not expect that, I might've been in a slight sense of disbelief regarding the name, but walking around in the store it did make some sense.
Once we got to the liquorice, I had to dive in to grab some, with my Dutch liquorice resistance. Although I didn't need much for the red ones. The black ones smelt familiar, though average strength.... for me. So many different types of things, though. Of course they also had to have super sized stuff. Jawbreakers you can't even fit, Gummy Bears the size of an actual bear (close enough) and giant boxes of other sugar explosions.
There was also an Applejack lip balm. Of course folks just knew I needed more apples. Not one but two persons separately had the plan to buy one for me hahaha. Thank you Kenishra
!! You two really know what to get me, it was pretty great. It said Applepie flavour on it, and I must say it really does smell and taste like Apple Pie!!!
Putting Applejack's Apple Pie all over my lips.
Anyhow, it was time to taste the other sweet stuff. I should've typed this out before I finished everything from the bag...
Although I still got some NERDS. They have a nice strong little flavour to them, sour sweet stuff.
Most of the other stuff was just sweet. The store living up to its name I guess.
I had rocks in my bag. They ended up being those little chocolate rocks. Eats kinda like small M&Ms or something. Quite easy to eat a bunch of. The other chocolate they made me try was Hershey's Kisses... What kind of chocolate is that?! It like... seemed really powdery or something?! It was... interesting haha. Weird American chocolate.
Also had these chocolate like balls, which were surprisingly soft and just chocolate. Expected a bit more bite to them if I could recall the name.
Of course there were also non-chocolate things. The famous Candy Corn. I've seen that stuff on tv and everywhere so many times, but never had it until then. Again, I'm not sure what I expected, but I expected something hard. Instead I had something that first turned into dust, then into a weird goo. Why does it do that?!! Then I took another one and wondered "why?!"
One I quite liked were the Boston Beans candy. It made me think of those sugar peanuts, without the nut! I could eat bowls of either. Another I could see people eating in bowls were these fake M&Ms that didn't have chocolate in them anyway. But instead peanut butter! They were Hershey's Reese's Pieces and I can kinda see why they exist. It was quite an interesting way of eating peanut butter. I'd probably not eat too many, though.
There was still more! Had a tootsie roll, although I slightly forgot how it tastes, because I wasn't sure what I was tasting
Was that chocolate inside? Also had some Starbursts, which were fairly similar to the Fruitella I know. Smarties however were the other kind of smarties. We have the chocolate ones (like Canada does), but these were the sugar coins basically. A decent sized roll of sugar! Also sugar on popcorn and peanuts in the form of caramel, Cracker Jacks!!! That coating was quite thick.
Couple other things, some I might've forgotten? Stuff like crystal sugar. Which well, tasted like crystal sugar. It was quite funny tasting all these things.
There was still some more stuff to taste, though.
The night just meant we were getting closer to the end
But thankfully I had banana booze! Well, we call it Pisang Ambon (20%) and it's made here in the Netherlands. I managed to bring a bottle for folks to taste. Unfortunately not everyone could join in, having to leave already. we were still with a group of four, in the night, with a bottle o booze, and sprites to mix it with.
Bottle was empty within an hour or so.
I guess they liked my bananas? Gotta admit... I quite really like it. And I was delighted to hear the others really really liking it as well! Although the other booze around wasn't too much of a competition to be fair. Still, it got downed easily. Oh gosh am I making people alcoholics?!?!
It was a nice final night. Ending it with Pizza, because I didn't have pizza at all. I let the others decide on where to order, waving my foreigner card around. Pizza ended up being good. Had one of those that's cheese strips things you dip. Dipping, by the way, is totally not a thing in the Netherlands. It took me slightly by surprise haha. Learning to dip with the right toppings. At least the cheese didn't fall off.
That dip added that nice twist to the meal for me.
The day had more stuff, like packing, last minute print sales/sharing. All the usual preparation to leave the next day. Leave... over, fin, the end. Almost.
I knew I had a long day ahead, with a very late flight on the Tuesday at 2320.
Nuuu, I'm not ready to fly away yet!
Day 6 - A day that's kinda full but not really (Tue 11th)
This day contained a lot of just mellow travelling, having the group shrink down further and further. So sad. Leading up to me having to spend hours on the airport, first waiting to even be able to check in, then to wait for the flight itself.
Walking around, spending that last bit of cash. I decided to get some food, checking the map and just wondering about seeing what they had. Ended up at an almost closing Aunt Anne's. Wanted to try the pretzel cheese dogs, but since they were almost closing they couldn't. So I went with a regular big pretzel. Good ol pretzel with salt! Until I saw it I actually didn't realize I should check that off as well. So there we go.
Time for that long convoluted flight route. First flying OVER the Netherlands to Turkey, just to go back to the Netherlands to actually land there. I guess fine with me, as long as everything gets there.
I landed 24 hours later my time zone...
Did I also mentioned that throughout the entire process, I got pulled out for security at almost every opportunity? (no security check on the Ataturk Airport, though)
At Dulles I got my carry-on checked extra, and at Rotterdam airport they pulled me away to check all my bags as well. That's where I found out TSA didn't just check my carry-on but also my suitcase.
It really wasn't bad. It went smooth and didn't even take that long. Everything seemed normal to me. I could always pull out my card of "first time flying!", which at some points might've been clear to them anyway haha.
With the plane descending, you could just feel the mood descending as well, though. Going down from that BronyCon high. I guess that meant the end? (Aside from all the financial paper work afterwards...)
"Back hom... that's not my home!"
So much happened, and it was such an amazing experience. Even with all the problems! Everyone who was there made it totally worth it any way you put it. The atmosphere was amazing. Just looking around, seeing everyone doing their thing, looking for fun and where to go next. People of all ages, young and old.
I will most definitely save up to go again next year. I made a bit of a loss financially. But my expenses ended up being way lower than expected. (By hundreds). So even though I didn't break even, it also didn't break my bank.
Being there, on the panel, meeting so many folks, the exposure involved in all that, and more. That, that more than makes up for that I think.
When I got back, I saw an amazing increase in my Patreon
Support. It blew me away. Like really, how much more awesome can y'all get?!?!
Within a month's time two milestones got achieved, and if we can keep that up for many more months... I can barely word my appreciation for that.
This month has been absolutely awesome, and I cannot wait for the next ones. More conventions in the future as well!
The first next ones on the top of my list are HWCon (it's a Dutch con, so I kinda have to
) and BUCK Who're going to be back next year. And then of course at least BronyCon as well, but I'm also interesting in possibly checking out some others. But financial restrictions play a role as well of course. I've been thinking of going to Brony-Fair again, but with proximity to BUCK I have to look closer at that.
But, I think I've written enough, it got darn long!!!
You can always find me in my usual places if you want to know more little things, or got questions.
As for this chapter: Greatness all around.
Thank you all for supporting, caring, and simply adding to the joy.
More BronyCon Experiences next year again...