Literally the Best Day of My Life

31 Because literally. Literally okay. I’ve been itching to write this post. And I suppose you guys have been waiting for me to write this post too. Or not. I don’t know. I can’t read minds.

But, yes. Let me just say how incredibly lucky I was that I was in London when MCM Comic Con/Vidfest UK was on. And it was a mere 10 minute drive from Kenzie’s place. Again, a unicorn moment. When I came to England, I hadn’t really expected to meet any youtubers. I mean, of course I hoped I did, but there was a higher possibility of that not happening. And when I couldn’t go to the BBC Radio 1 station in London to meet Dan and Phil the two weeks they were around before they were off to Comedy Week at LA and Radio 1’s Big Weekend at Derry, I thought all my hopes were dashed for good.

Until the Friday before this day, when I saw Tomska and Dean Dobbs and several other youtubers tweeting about their presence at Vidfest. I wasn’t doing anything on that day so when I saw the tweets, my first instinct was to get up and change and walk there with the help of Google maps on my phone. But then it was raining and I hadn’t bought any tickets (you had to have tickets for Friday entrance because it was a preview day) and also I was staying at the Woolwich area aka the place an English soldier was recently killed at.

So I didn’t go out that day, and I was in central London the whole of Saturday, so at around 10.30AM in the morning on Sunday (the doors to Comic Con opened at 11AM), Kenzie drove me to London Excel at Royal Victoria Dock where Comic Con/Vidfest was. And let me tell you, the place was full of all kinds of cosplayers. Followers of my twitter would know what I’m talking about since I was tweeting the entire time I was queuing up for the tickets. And it was a long queue- like, really, really, really, REALLY long. But it was a fun queue because I was exclaiming internally whenever I saw a particularly interesting cosplay. There were people dressed as Star Wars Imperial Stormtroopers, interrogating people (humorously) before they joined the queue and one of these people so happened to be a Thor cosplayer. It was hilarious. There were people cosplaying characters from Super Mario, Adventure Time, even Wreck-It Ralph (I was fangirling so hard) and Harry Potter and it was so cool and some were holding signs saying “FREE HUGS” and strangers were high fiving each other and god bless conventions like these.

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And then I was in and I was giddy with excitement and the first place I headed for was the Vidfest section at the far left of the convention. The first people I saw were Jack Howard and Dean Dobbs aka Jack and Dean JACK AND DEAN OH MY GOD WHAT IN REAL LIFE OH MY GOD and that was literally my reaction and I was so emotional oh my god just thinking about it 😦 I 😦 am so emoTIONAL 😦 and they were THERE IN THE FLESH like REAL PEOPLE like I CAN TOUCH THEM and after calming myself a little, I decided to explore the whole Vidfest section before joining the long queue of people lining up for Jack and Dean. So I went into a tented area where the cast of the Chronicles of Syntax webseries were having a talk and I expected Chris Kendall to be there but unfortunately he couldn’t turn up and that was one of the downlights (get it? Highlights? Downlights? Okay whatever) of the event but still, I’ll get what I can get. So after that I started lining up for Jack and Dean and I was so anxious and excited at the same time and just??? Didn’t know what to say??? What if I made a fool of myself??? And then the guy in front of me started talking to me and three other girls who were behind me and we were practically fangirling over Jack and Dean and he asked if we were nerdfighters and I said “YES” really loudly and honestly, this was my favourite place to be. DSCN1357

JACK AND DEAN SIGNING MY SHIRT TOGETHER
JACK AND DEAN SIGNING MY SHIRT TOGETHER
DEAN DOBBS, YOURS TRULY AND JACK HOWARD
DEAN DOBBS, YOURS TRULY AND JACK HOWARD

Soon it was my turn and I said “HI” a little too loudly when Jack and Dean looked up and on the outside, I was a clear and calm facade, all smiles, but inside I was a RAGING HORMONAL FANGIRL WHO WAS SCREAMING TO THE HEAVENS!!! I said I was from Malaysia and today was my last day in England as I’ll be flying home tonight and Jack said, “Oh, so you decided to spend your last day here at Nerdcon?” and I said yes and then I started to choose a shirt of theirs I wanted to buy and the shirt I chose, Jack said, “We only have this left in XL size” so I was um okay let me choose another one but then he said, “Wait you know what? Actually I think we have an M sized one here” and he took it out and I was like yeah is it okay if I get that one? I’m so dumb oh my god I wonder why they haven’t laughed at my dumbness yet and they both said “Yeah sure of course” and I paid and I NOW HAVE A TEN POUND NOTE GIVEN TO ME BY JACK HOWARD AS CHANGE. And then I said “Would it be weird if you guys signed my shirt” and they said “Yeah it’s no problem” and then they both signed at the same time and Dean said, “Oh, it’s blink-182 yeah we love blink we even wrote a song for them once” and Jack laughed and said “Yeah, we write songs for blink” and I just. I knew wearing my blink-182 shirt to Vidfest was a good idea. So after they signed my shirt I requested to take a photo with them and then I hugged both of them saying “thank you so much” endlessly and when I left the booth they said, “It was nice to meet you, have a safe flight home!” and I legit thought I was going to faint after that because my legs were shaking and had turned into jelly. OMFGItsJackAndDean Video Recommendation:

ALEX DAY AND YOURS TRULY
ALEX DAY AND YOURS TRULY

After that I decided to search for Alex Day’s Lifescouts booth. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I sometimes write posts about a certain Lifescouts project. I’d made an introduction post about it but in case anyone missed it, here it is. Basically, Alex was the one who created this project and he was selling Lifescouts badges at a booth at MCM. His booth was, ironically, nowhere near the Vidfest section so I had to search for it but MCM was such a HUGE place and I had no idea where it was and I couldn’t possibly ask any random person where “Alex Day’s booth” was because most people that were there weren’t exactly there for Vidfest only like me.

So in the end, I resorted to good ol’ Twitter to see if Alex might have tweeted about his location and- he did! He tweeted that his booth was under a huge Wolverine poster and in the end I found it and Alex was just sitting there and I went up and said, “I finally found you!”, holding up my phone to show him his tweet and he laughed his ALEX DAY LAUGH and lord help me. In my nervous frenzy, I asked him, “What’s the difference between the 3 pound badge and the 5 pound badge” without looking at the words on the signs put up at his booth that clearly said the corkboard was 5 pounds and the badges were 3 pounds. So when Alex explained it to me I wanted to slap myself oh my GOD Michelle you are so intelligent A+ for making a fool out of yourself. So I said, “I’ll have the Big Ben badge” and when Alex gave it to me I said “this is my first time in England” and he said “oh did you have a good time here?” and I said “yeah I did I’m flying home tonight” and he said “oh have a safe flight home!” and then I asked him for a photo and he said sure and came out of his booth just to take a photo with me and also signed my shirt (Alex: “Sorry but this might tickle a little” [sobs into hands]) and after that people started to notice him so he was busy taking photos for a while but not after he said “it was nice to see you!” but despite that I still lurked around his booth because I wanted to have an intelligent conversation with him (cough) but as he was busy I avoided looking creepy by buying another four badges. Haha. Hahahahahaha.

(Top) Driving badge, violin badge, concert badge (Bottom) Sydney Opera House badge, Big Ben badge
(Top) Driving badge, violin badge, concert badge
(Bottom) Sydney Opera House badge, Big Ben badge

nerimon Video Recommendation:

After deciding that continuing to lurk at Alex’s booth might get me kicked out of the convention itself, I returned to the Vidfest section. The line to meet Tomska was still pretty long so I decided to leave that for last- and went to find Bing first. To my dismay, Bing looked like he was getting ready to leave his Hi, I’ma Draw Ya booth but I was determined to corner him even if I have to. I was going to be leaving in about an hour and I wasn’t going to leave without a photo with Bing, that’s for sure. So as he came out of his booth, I went up to him and asked if I could have a photo and he said, “Yes sure but I’ve got to take a photo with these guys first” and I was like “of course no problem” so I waited because there were quite a bunch of people waiting for him just like me and when it was my turn, I got him to sign my shirt and we took a photo together! Let it be known that he was bending his knees to match my height I just THAT MAN and the person who was helping me to take the photo started laughing so I suspected Bing must be doing a funny face and I was right. I said my thanks and he left for his lunch break. Unfortunately, that meant I couldn’t get him to sign any merch I might buy off him but that was alright. In the end, I just bought a postcard of his When Cyborgs Attack video aka my favourite video of his.

Bing is actually five years old and I love him
Bing is actually five years old and I love him

photo 3 (1) slomozovo Video Recommendation:

After Bing left, I decided to get some Tomska merch at last. Here was where I met Jenny Bingham, aka Bing’s sister and Tom(ska)’s girlfriend. I’ve always loved Jenny because her videos have a special originality trait to it and one time she replied to my snapchats twice and I almost fell off my couch at the time. I was also right to think that she was a really, really lovely person. She didn’t have her own booth but she was manning Tom’s really huge one and when I approached her and said, “Hi Jenny!” she said hi and asked if it’s ok that she took a photo with (she pointed at a guy who was standing next to her) him first and I said sure but there was no one to help him take the photo so I volunteered to help them out. After that, he offered to help me and Jenny take a photo with my camera so really, it’s a cycle of life. Or something. I don’t make sense but I didn’t make much sense at all at Vidfest anyway. After that she signed my shirt and I said “You were really good in Charlie’s Tea Chronicles video!” and she said “Thanks! Everyone did a really good job with that video!” and I said “I also sent you a snapchat once” in which she replied “I’m sorry I get a lot of snapchats all the time” which was fine by me because I didn’t expect her to remember me but it was something to keep the conversation going. And then I said “it was really lovely to see you!” and she said “you too!” and askjfhsdjfjksdgk she’s so lovely do you understand!!! Omg

JENNY BINGHAM aka JennyBee
JENNY BINGHAM aka JennyBee

thatjennybee Video Recommendation:

Since I’ve already gotten my Tomska merch (a shirt) (the same one Jenny was wearing in the photo she took with me) I started to line up to meet him in person. At one point in the queue, the people in front of me started to recite lines from his asdfmovies and when I was second in line to meet Tom, someone in the queue shouted, “EVERYBODY DO THE FLOP!” but of course no one fell facedown like in the asdfmovie 6 video otherwise there would be quite a commotion. It was then that I told myself that this was where I was meant to be all along, where people recite lines from their favourite videos and right then I wished I’d come with someone who was as passionate about youtubers as I was. But again, I’ll get what I can get.

WITH THOMAS "TOMSKA" RIDGEWELL
WITH THOMAS “TOMSKA” RIDGEWELL

Tom has been portrayed in a very negative light on the Internet, especially in Becoming Youtube videos but in real life he’s so much more than what he puts on the Internet for people to cruelly dissect and tear down. I was next in line but someone came up to him with a phone asking, “can you talk to my brother on the phone please?” and Tom said to me, “Hang on one moment, okay?” and I nodded and when he spoke into the phone he greeted, “HELLO BROTHER” and he’s so nice to fulfill that little request which might’ve meant so much to the person on the receiving end. Brother. And then it was my turn and when he saw me he said “HI!” and I just went forward to hug him saying “can I please have a hug?” and he said, “Of course you can!” and he enveloped me in one of those bear hugs which were tight and firm, the kind of hugs that make you not want to let go forever. And then he released me from the hug and asked “how are you?” and I said I was good and that I was from Malaysia and that I would be flying home today (the only conversation starter I could come up with) and he said “wow, that’s far, have a safe journey home!” and then we took a photo together and he signed both my blink shirt and his merch shirt that I bought and when he did he said, “I’ve got chalk all over my hands from signing shirts” and then I said “it was good to see you!” and then I left and I was so full of emotions by then I just wanted to jump around and scream with joy.

Tomska Video Recommendation:

I was pretty much already done for the day and contemplated calling Kenzie to pick me up since it was already 1.30PM and he said we had to leave East London by 2PM the very latest. But then I saw Tim and he was the remaining youtuber at Vidfest that I knew and liked. Like Jenny, he was manning Eddsworld’s booth where a small line was starting to form to purchase Tomska merch and I joined it but little did Tim know that I was only joining the line to meet him and not buy any more merch so when I got to the front I said hi (the trick to catch one’s attention quickly is to say HI in a really enthusiastic way; I mean, it’s worked for me) and asked if I could get a photo and like Alex, he said sure and came out of the booth to do so, carrying a bottle of orange juice in his hand (???). Tim??? What??? After the photos and him signing my shirt I told him I loved his new video which, coincidentally, I’d just watched the previous night and he said, “Thanks, it really means a lot to me” and before leaving I said, “See you later!” and then realised that I’d made a mistake and wouldn’t really be seeing him later so I paused and said, “Or see you again. Sometime. Soon. I hope.” and Tim said, “Yeah, see you later, I’ll be here till 3.” But I didn’t have the heart to tell him I was leaving soon because thinking about leaving was making me sad so I didn’t say anything.

With Tim Hautekiet but obviously he just goes by TimH
With Tim Hautekiet but obviously he just goes by TimH
DO YOU SEE THE ORANGE JUICE
DO YOU SEE THE ORANGE JUICE

TimH Video Recommendation:

I met two girls who were sitting on the floor in front of Bing’s booth as I was lining up to meet Tim and when they saw me they asked if I was waiting to meet Bing and I said no I was meeting Tim and then I asked, “Isn’t Bing having lunch?” and they said “Yeah, we’re just gonna wait here until he comes back. These people have taken over my life. Like Youtube is literally my life now.” and I shouted “SAME” because she literally just described what I was feeling and have been feeling for months. Vidfest: the place where you meet potential soulmates. And then I decided to leave and rang Kenzie up. Right after that, I saw Benjamin Cook (of the Becoming Youtube series) tweet that he was going to come to Vidfest and I STOPPED IN MY TRACKS and tweeted him back:

So obviously I had no chance of meeting him but ’twas okay. I comforted myself with the thought that this wasn’t my last trip to England. It was just the first of many to come.

MY MOST PRIZED POSSESSION!!! I am going to frame this up and in 50 years I will sell it on eBay and become a millionaire or really, I could just show it to my grandchildren and tell them about the day your grandma flew 6000km to meet this group of people she was in love with
MY MOST PRIZED POSSESSION!!! I am going to frame this up and in 50 years I will sell it on eBay and become a millionaire or really, I could just show it to my grandchildren and tell them about the day your grandma flew 6000km to meet this group of people she was in love with

Returning to Kenzie’s place, we packed our stuff before Kenzie drove us to central London where we walked around Harrods for a while. I wasn’t really paying much attention to my surroundings as I was still smiling about my youtuber encounters just hours ago and I was literally in such a good mood the whole day. But if you want a photo, here’s a photo:

Harrods is so huge I'm not even kidding also Jack and Dean shirt hahaHA
Harrods is so huge I’m not even kidding also Jack and Dean shirt hahaHA

At around 6PM, Kenzie drove us to Heathrow Airport and thus, this post comes to an end, as my England trip has officially done the same.

I’d been having England goggles the whole day, but my emotions from Vidfest managed to cover them up. Pair the goggles with post-Vidfest depression and you get a very emotional Michelle on the plane. Still, I reminded myself this wasn’t the end, not exactly. There’s also one cheesy saying that goes, don’t be sad because it ended, be thankful because it happened, and yeah that’s basically it. There’s also a line from the Warm Bodies movie that goes, every great thing starts out a little scary. So, so accurate. I never mentioned it, but I was actually pretty reluctant to go to England initially. I was afraid of leaving home for a month, of being alone, of airplanes, of being in a foreign country, of many, many things, but my pride forced me to ignore my fear. And for the first few weeks, I was quite homesick. But towards the end, I realised I’ve changed as a person. And perhaps it wasn’t a huge change, or to some people it might not even be a change at all, but I know myself, and I know I have, and I know it’s a good change. And I’m thankful for that. Aunty Sue also told me that I’d come to England and stayed here not only as a tourist, but I’ve also lived the English life like an English, technically, while staying with them, and that’s better than living a tourist life in a foreign country, and I agree with her. Learning to adapt has also been one of the tougher challenges here, surprise surprise. Because while I might be a strong advocate for all things British back at home, I still got a cultural shock when I was here. But everyone adapts eventually. It’s human nature to do so. I might not have been as adventurous as I’d like in my time here, but I’ll gradually foster the seed that’s been implanted in me due to this solo trip. So hyperbolic, man. But also true.

So, kids, here’s a life lesson for you from me: if you ever feel afraid of doing something huge, do it anyway, because chances are you’ll learn to enjoy yourself and love it at the same time, and it’s worth the initial fear and anxiety. Getting out of your comfort zone once in a while is a good exercise.

Note: This post is late, as usual, but I finally finished my England chronicles! Don’t know whether to be happy or sad, but there’s another post I have in mind about post-England trip Malaysian life so stay tuned for that, although that won’t be a Michelle Takes England post anymore. That project’s finished and shall be archived forever.

Only London and I

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Days 28 and 29 were skipped because I literally just spent the two whole days at Kenzie’s flat with his parents. On the Internet. No surprises there.

On Saturday, I had tickets booked for Madame Tussauds and London Eye so Kenzie and I headed for Central London. We took the DLR at Beckton to Canning Town where we switched to the Underground Jubilee Line. I was lucky because since I was going to be exploring London alone, it was easy to go to all the places I wanted to go since all of them are reachable by the same Underground line, the Jubilee line.

From Canning Town, it was about half an hour tube ride to Baker Street where we collected my tickets before heading for Green Park by tube. There, Kenzie left me to do the exploring while he went off to sort out his stuff. I was quite antsy and nervous because it was my first time exploring a whole foreign city by my own, and I’ll be commuting between places and also there were so many people in London! It was also the day of the Championship League or something so the tubes and streets were filled with people in red and yellow singing and shouting in German.

After coming out of the Green Park station, I arrived at Buckingham Palace in time to witness part of the changing of guards. Again, there were SO MANY people!

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After that, I took the tube back to Baker Street and I entered Madame Tussauds. It was so packed. And what can you say about wax figures, really? I was only really excited at One Direction’s figures and it was at a separated section so you could choose to take photos with them or not and the ones lining up to do so were ALL teenage girls. Like me. So. And they were playing 1D songs so that was nostalgic because YES, I haven’t listened to 1D in a really long time wow shocking. But I liked my photo with them so much that I bought, a photo, a magnet and a keychain of the photo for 12 pounds. I’m what Aunty Sue would say, “a sucker”.

It's the most amazing person in the world, taking a photo with Emma Watson (I'm jk) (not really though am I)
It’s the most amazing person in the world, taking a photo with Emma Watson (I’m jk) (not really though am I)
Haha
Haha

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Fifth member of One Direction.......wait
Fifth member of One Direction…….wait
that's right
that’s right

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After the walk around the wax displays by foot, there was a Spirit of London ride and then I went into the Marvel Superheroes 4D Experience theater  which was pretty cool.

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At around 3PM I left Madame Tussauds and headed for the Sherlock Holmes museum at 221B Baker Street after picking up an egg mayo sandwich (literally that’s all I eat at England, egg mayo sandwiches) at Pret A Manger. The queue wasn’t long but it was a long wait because they only allowed about 10 to 15 people into the house at a time. That was understandable, considering how rickety the building was. The floorboards creaked wherever you stepped and everything was so quaint and delicate.

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After that, it was to the Underground station again to take a tube to Waterloo for my London Eye trip. I got lost for a while after exiting the station but with the help of people at the station and phone calls to Kenzie, I finally found the London Eye. I was pretty reluctant to go up the London eye because I was antsy at great heights and also there were so many people. But I went in anyway after waiting for an hour and a half and can you believe it??? There were three Malaysians in the same pod as mine! They were a family, a mother, a father and a daughter, who were standing behind me in the queue. My interest was piqued because they were conversing in Malay so at first I thought they were Indonesian because they looked Chinese. But then I caught a bit of Mandarin too so I was pretty skeptical. In the pod I asked them to help me take my photo with my camera in Malay and they were shocked, it was quite funny. So I said I was Malaysian and they said they were too, from Sabah. They were here for 12 days, and the daughter was taking SPM this year. She was here to scout for colleges. I honestly thank god and all the heavenly powers above because their presence made me feel…calmer? to take my mind of my nerves. I call these moments unicorn moments. And I was still thinking about it on the tube all the way to Stratford to meet Kenzie and his parents.

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River Thames is quite a bit dirty innit
River Thames is quite a bit dirty innit

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STRATFORD!!!! JAMIE OLIVER'S ITALIAN RESTAURANT!!!!
STRATFORD!!!! JAMIE OLIVER’S ITALIAN RESTAURANT!!!!
some kind of vegetable ravioli. i had no idea what a ravioli was prior to this
some kind of vegetable ravioli. i had no idea what a ravioli was prior to this. this literally looks like a forest

I also saw a lot of cosplayers on the streets especially at Canning Street because of the MCM Comic Con. I saw Link (Legend of Zelda), Mario, Finn (Adventure Time) and Jack Frost. The DLR station at Canning Street was FULL of them. And also a lot of people in red and yellow because of the championship league at Wembley Stadium.

I’m not even going to deny that I was anxious the whole time I was alone. But I told myself to just keep going with the schedule and it’s ok, there’s always people to help. In the end, as I arrived at the station at Stratford, I was happy and triumphant. I managed to complete all tasks on my schedule without chickening out. It might not be very impressive to many but it was a start for me. Something Brianna Cuocco once tweeted was also my constant source of motivation: Feel the fear and DO IT ANYWAY.

ADVENTURES!!!!!!

Photos, yo

Hogwarts Is Home

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That morning, I woke up super early to finish my packing and after saying goodbye to Grandma and Sapphire, Aunty Sue, Sa Pek and I left for London where I would be going to HOGWARTS aka the Warner Brothers’ Harry Potter Studio Tours in Leavesden, London. It was a two hour drive there and not even gonna lie, I was giddy with excitement as we approached the studio.

My tour time was 12 noon but because we got there early, at around 10AM, Aunty Sue and Sa Pek dropped me off and I whiled the time away at the merchandise shop which was already so GREAT before I’d even experienced the tour itself. They had literally everything from shirts and scarves and robes of every house to wands (cough cough) and badges and diaries and coffee mugs and Firebolt broomsticks and Marauder’s Maps. In the end, I got a wand, Harry’s wand (laughs all the way to the sun), house badges and a magnet because I always get magnets from everywhere I’ve been to.

And then I started queuing for the tour and the first part was a mini introduction of the studios on screen panels on the wall and then the second part was a slightly longer introduction video by Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson themselves. Before the show began, the tour guide said, “And now enjoy all eight films back to back.” Which everyone laughed at but to be honest, wouldn’t be a bad idea at all.

And then the screen rolled up and the giant doors to the Great Hall appeared. By then I was so excited and wanted the tour guide to just open them and let us in!!! But she explained a little bit about what the doors were to people who didn’t know and asked whose birthday it was today and a girl raised her hand and she was invited to the front to open the doors together with her. (But like how did they know it was her birthday and how did they know it was anyone’s birthday today?) When we got inside, I heard her say to her boyfriend, “This is the best day of my life.” Same girl, same.

And then the doors open and HOLY SCHMOLY!!!!?????? I????? Wow?????? Literally that was all I could think of because IT WAS THE GREAT HALL and there were the long tables with the golden goblets and plates and cutleries and there were uniforms of all four houses on the side and the Hogwarts fireplace and the TEACHERS’ TABLE and it was all so magical. It was like my favourite universe coming to life??? Like a dream come true?????

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I’m blogging according to these photos so feel free to do a photo-by-blog tour if you want.

And then the tour guide said it was a self-guided tour from there and I started to explore. The place was filled with sets and costumes and props from the movie like the Boys’ Dorm, Gryffindor common room, Potions classroom, Dumbledore’s office…everything.

At one point that was a booth that allowed you to drive in the flying car and mount a broomstick in front of a green screen and get your photos taken. These (1 / 2) were my photos which cost 16 quid for both of them.

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Onto the next part of the tour, it was out in the open- and there was a Butterbeer booth! There was a long queue in front of the booth which I joined but when I was the second person from the booth, it suddenly closed. Apparently the Butterbeer machine had broken down and they didn’t know when it was going to be up and running again. How ironic right? A machine that produces a beverage from a magical world breaks down.

So I decided to continue with the tour and took photos in Hagrid’s flying motorbike and Arthur Weasley’s flying Ford Anglia. At the Hogwarts Bridge, I requested the person in charge to help me take a photo and it turned out to be three photos as she became a photographer and suggested several other poses. English people are so lovely I constantly have the :3 face whenever they do things like that.

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The tour resumed inside the building where creature masks were displayed such as the goblins, mermaids, giants etc and then I rounded a bend and I WAS AT DIAGON ALLEY!!!!! It was so cool that I got to see all the shops in the movie and also Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes and it really felt like I was actually there, which I was, right???

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The next part were the sketches and designs for the movies, as well as the cardboard models of the buildings and also concept drawings of the scenes and characters of the movies.

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The moment I walked into the next room, I was so emotional I cried a bit. IT WAS THE FULL SIZED MODEL OF THE ENTIRE HOGWARTS BUILDING!!! Full-sized in this sense was a rather big model and it was so emotional, honestly. I was at Hogwarts. This was really happening to me.

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The next room was the last room, and it was a room made to look like Ollivander’s shop which was full of wands. But instead of boxes containing wands, it bore the names of every single person who contributed to the movies. I found the names the likes of James Phelps, Tom Felton, Rupert Grint, Nat Tena, JK Rowling and even Bertie Gilbert (who is currently 16 years old and played Scorpious Malfoy and is also a youtuber)!

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And then I realised after the wand room, it was the exit and once I exited, I wouldn’t be able to head back inside but I hadn’t forgotten about Butterbeer so I went back to the booth and thank goodness it was opened again. By then, I’d already run out of money because I’d forgotten to top up my purse before leaving the house and I only had enough money to buy the cheapest Butterbeer. But that also meant I didn’t get to buy the one in a cup that says “Butterbeer” on the outside which I was able to keep. But the Butterbeer was pretty good and it tasted like root beer with caramel foam as the topping. By then my stomach was already empty and I had no money left to get anything to eat so it probably wasn’t the wisest thing for me to drink root beer on an empty stomach. Oh well, yolo right? (I had to use that horrible meme at least once on this blog right? Don’t tell me you didn’t see this coming.)

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I left the studios at around 3PM and with Aunty Sue and Sa Pek, we went to a place called Seven Sisters (I think!!!) where Sa Pek had to pick up some stock for his shop. After that, we went to Kenzie’s place where we dropped off my luggage and picked up Kenzie’s parents to go to a Chinese restaurant for dinner. Kenzie turned up a few minutes after we did from work and it was one of the best dinners I’ve had for a while. One does get sick of Western food after three weeks…unless one isn’t Asian then I guess not.

After that we were all dropped back at Kenzie’s place and I said my farewells to Aunty Sue and Sa Pek before heading back into the flat.

Note: I know I’ve already come back to Malaysia but I still owe Careful Confessions four posts (now three) so I will get to that as soon as possible.

I miss England already.

😦

Transition

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I’d put off writing this post on that day itself because I know I’d get super emotional but now it’s just overdue due to heavy procrastination on role-playing and Youtube. This is the part where all of you go, “I’m not surprised!”

Anyway, yes, it was my last day at Sa Pek and Aunty Sue’s house and you know what they say, when you feel the actual looming of something ending, you start to get goggles, and that was precisely what happened. It’s pretty confusing since I was reluctant to leave and also eager to go back home at the same time. FEELINGS. SORT YOURSELF OUT.

I spent the day packing (my luggage is currently 25kg CRISIS AVERTED but it also means two hand luggage, one which is filled with books omg) and in the evening, I went over to Jess and Tara’s house which was just next door. In one of my previous posts I mentioned that I chatted with two neighbours of Sa Pek’s who had came over, and since it was my last day in Wiltshire, they decided to invite me over for a movie and supper (English supper is the meal before dinner and not after dinner, just to clarify because at first I was like, what) and I agreed.

It was just a five minute walk to their house and there I met Jess and Tara’s parents, Gemma and John, and also their little sister Tabby. They also had a brother who was in France for a student exchange programme. We watched St Trinians and then had Mexican fajitas (so GOOD omg) and then we walked down to the mill where an old couple were rearing some horses. I had such a great time there and Jess and Tara were so lovely it made me even more reluctant to leave. But I promised I’d see them again in the near future and I wanted to keep that promise.

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Jess, yours truly and Tara
Jess and Tara's Jack Russell called Mouse (how cute is that?!)
Jess and Tara’s Jack Russell called Mouse (how cute is that?!)
The Collings rear chickens

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Aunty Sue, yours truly and Sa Pek (and Winston in the far left)
Aunty Sue, yours truly and Sa Pek (and Winston in the far left)
Richard and yours truly
Richard and yours truly

I’d like to take this moment to once again, thank Sa Pek, Aunty Sue, Richard and Sapphire and Grandma and everyone else for allowing me to stay at their place for a whole three weeks and putting up with my terrible habits. Sorry and thank you for everything!

In case you’re wondering if you’re gonna get a Harry Potter post, the answer is YES. VERY SOON.

HALLELUJAH I AM BACK

idek

If you follow me on my social networking sites, you will know that I was unable to blog for a week because I had problems with accessing my blog. It was hard to explain at first, but basically, I’d set up a two-step authentication feature for my blog for security purposes. After logging in with my email and password, a verification code would be sent as a text to my phone, and I would have to key in to access my blog. But obviously, the problem here is my mobile network had changed. Never mind that I changed to a UK number, I switched back to my old SIM card and all that but after waiting for two days, I still hadn’t gotten my verification code. That was when I started sending emails to the support team at WordPress, but apparently, it wasn’t the official email address of the support team. WordPress only lets you use an official contact form if you’re a premium (paying) member. Otherwise, it was up to you to search the many WordPress forums for the answer to your problems. Then there was the matter of not being able to post in the forums unless you were logged in. Do you understand my frustration now? I used to love WordPress dearly but now I’m just really disappointed in it. Customer service? Negative a hundred million.

Anyway, I then asked my friend Ann-Marie who had a WordPress account to post on behalf of me. Guess what? Got no response. However, after a browse through the forums, I realised I wasn’t the only one with this problem. Many people were facing the same problem and many didn’t get replies to their enquiries too. The last post before the forum was closed was a post by a WordPress staff asking everyone to send an email to the very same unofficial WordPress support team email address. By then I was so frustrated but I still sent them emails anyway because THAT WAS THE ONLY THING I COULD DO. And finally, FINALLY, by the end of the week, just hours ago, to be specific, I got a reply. Thank goodness. The first thing I did was disable the two-step authentication feature. So if there are any WordPress newbies out there who are seeking for advice, DON’T enable that feature. Unless you’re Beyonce and people keep wanting to hack your blog then maybe that’s fine.

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Anyway, with that out of the way, I shall proceed to give you a brief summary of what happened over the week as I was blog-less. As you can see on the left, I made a list of events so I don’t forget. And also because I like to make lists. It’s a very useful hobby.

Anyway, right after my previous post in which I said England was getting really hot, the next few days it just rained non-stop coupled with strong winds and it was just the worst thing ever because it made you not want to go anywhere.

The day after my previous post, last Thursday, I went to a small town in Wiltshire called Marlborough where we dined at this really cute and posh tea room called The Polly Tea Room and just walked about around the shops because apparently Marlborough was a pretty renowned shopping town. I didn’t quite feel up to it though, because I was kind of having motion sickness from the car drive there. And here I will point out an observation which is that English roads are all…curvy. Un-straight. Because while at Malaysia, you can just say “go straight along this road then make a left turn” you can’t really do the same here because literally, they are all curvy. I don’t really know how to say this I should take a photo the next time. What I’m trying to say is England doesn’t really have 90 degrees turnings. Even in London.

The next day, a Friday, I didn’t go anywhere but Sa Pek and Aunty Sue had guests over and it was nice, sitting down for a proper English dinner. It was quite weird at first because I was subtly stealing glances at everyone, watching them do something before I do it myself. For instance, I thought it would be quite rude to use hands to take the breadsticks from the plate so I used my fork. With difficulty. Until I realised everyone else used hands. It was also my first time eating pâté so I didn’t quite know how to eat it with breadsticks so I just glanced around innocently before knowing the right thing to do was to spread it on the breadsticks. And so on and so forth. It also reminded me of the scene in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets where the Masons were coming over except it was a whole lot more pleasant and nicer.

Polly Tea Room in Marlborough
Polly Tea Room in Marlborough

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On Saturday, I went to Bath city centre with Sa Pek and Aunty Sue where we visited the indoor market (equipped with astonishingly realistic cardboard cut-outs of Queen Elizabeth and Obama for tourist purposes) and also the Bath Abbey. The highlight of the day however, was visiting the Jane Austen Centre which is basically a Jane Austen museum which was established in the exact same house Jane Austen lived in when she was living in Bath. It was on Gay Street, if you’d like more specific details. I even got to dress up with a gown and bonnet and write with a real feathered quill. To experience the real magic, the photos are here. That same night, I attended a concert at St Andrews Church in Castle Combe and I was highly impressed, to be honest.

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Moving on to the next item on the list: on Sunday, I went to two carboot sales. Yes, two. Before you ask, yes I did buy things and before you ask again, yes, I bought a lot. The carboot sales were at Castle Combe and Lacock, and I got some clothes and books because what else could I get? And then we wandered around Lacock (photos) for a bit where I saw the outside of the Lacock Abbey aka THE PLACE ONE OF THE HARRY POTTER SCENES WAS FILMED. And then we went back for a while before setting off for Bristol where Sa Pek was going to have a cookery school at his Teohs restaurant. I also discovered the magic that is Primark for the first time and I BOUGHT TWO PAIRS OF SHOES AND A PAIR OF PINSTRIPE PANTS. Photos here.

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The next day I didn’t go out but I watched some TV and that night I caught the livestream of the Sony Radio Awards and Dan and Phil won the whole thing!!!

The next day, Aunty Sue brought me to Bath again where we visited the Roman Baths. Bath was one of the English cities which the Romans ruled over for a while and it was a couple of years after the English took it back that the Roman baths were discovered. And that was literally what the name suggested: baths. Big pools of water in which the higher Roman individuals bathed in. Like spas. It was a rather interesting tour and after that, we went to Tetbury for a while, aka Prince Charles’ town village. As you can see in the brackets on the list I visited charity shops there again,what’s new. What’s new? Oh, let me tell you what’s new. We went to this shop called Highgroves which is basically run by Prince Charles. Not that he mans the till or anything but all proceeds from the sales go to the Prince’s Trust Foundation or whatever it’s called. That also meant that the things they sold were really expensive…but what’s new. That night, it got so cold that Aunty Sue decided lighted a fire at the fireplace. So that was eye-opening. Photos.

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Wednesday and Thursday were lazy days during which I watched a couple of episodes of How I Met Your Mother and on Friday, I went to find Sakina in Bristol again and this time, we basically just lazed around and I WILL GIVE YOU A PHOTO THIS TIME to prove that SAKINA EXISTS:

"The best photo on the Internet atm"- Ann-Marie Khor
“The best photo on the Internet atm”- Ann-Marie Khor

Saturday was a day of helping Aunty Sue prepare for the church’s spring fair the next day and also my cousin Sapphire’s birthday that night. It was one of the most wonderful nights I had and the food was brilliant and Sapphire had a few of her friends over including Kenzie and his parents and at night while Sapph and her friends went out for an afterparty, I watched the Eurovision finale! It was my first time knowing there was even such a thing as an Eurovision and it was also my first time voting for a singing competition and I could because I had a UK number and I voted for Denmark and Ukraine and guess what? Denmark won and Ukraine came in second! UK came in 19 which wasn’t as bad as last year’s last place but it’s okay UK, nothing will beat my love for you but Denmark man, totally called it. Emmelie de Forest was the representative and she was so brilliant I’m not even kidding I was so emotional.

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The next day, which is today, a spring fair was held at the St Andrews Church at Castle Combe and I was running the booth for the White Rabbit Treasure Hunt which I’d spent yesterday preparing for. Basically, there were ten posters around the village and people had to look for stickers on the posters and complete a list of stickers they had to find and the person with the best time wins. There were also many other booths like ones selling plants, cakes, bread (Aunty Sue’s booth), Raffle tickets (lucky draw for those who don’t know aka me initially), handicrafts and others. It was a fundraising event so it was very light hearted and there were quite a lot of people who turned up, including Japanese tourists. The theme was Mad Hatter’s Tea Party so I also did the “Drink Me” and “Eat Me” labels on bottles and jars which you can see here and Sapphire and her friends turned up as well as Kenzie and his parents. It was a really great event and I enjoyed it a lot.

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I WROTE THIS YAAHHHHH
I WROTE THIS YAAHHHHH

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AND THAT IS ALL FOR NOW. Mind you, blogging is a terrible chore because my computer lags the worst and the Internet connection in my bedroom is faulty and might break at any time and uploading photos is worse and it hangs every two seconds and I need a new computer, man.

I’m Gonna Pop Some Tags…I Think

12

Don’t get me wrong. I hate that song. Except for that time I jammed to it in my car. Several times.

But really, it was more of an advertising strategy. Besides, it’s relevant to the topic I’m going to be talking about today!

Anyway, before I say anything, I never thought I’d ever say this but England is SO HOT. Like literally, I don’t even have to wear a cardigan anymore. Sitting at home is like switching on the AC. And out in town, people walked around shirtless! Well people meaning men and not women. Sorry to crush your dreams.

Now you ask, what is it about that Thrift Shop song by Macklemore again? How is it relevant to any of your adventures in England? Well, it is relevant because I’ve discovered thrift shops here…which they call charity shops which are basically shops where they sell things people donate at a cheaper price and all collections go to charity. For example, some of the charity shops I went to supported the British Red Cross, Bluecross for animals, YMCA, British Heart Disease Fund etc and while it might not sound so glamorous, hold your horses because the stuff they sell there aren’t quite bad. In fact, they’re pretty much like carboot sales, except perhaps not so cheap but hey, it’s for charity. To prove the not-so-lameness of English charity shops, I got myself a Dorothy Perkins top, a pair of Topshop shorts and a H&M dress, all under 5 pounds each. All in good condition, and you’re donating to charity! The existence of these shops makes me contemplate ever stepping into another branded clothing store again. God bless England.

I also visited this shop called Poundland where everything they sell is 1 pound each and it reminds me much of you know, RM5 shops and that kind of stuff but this kind of shops were never enticing back home because the stuff they sell were crappy and brandless and not durable BUT in Poundland, most of the stuff were branded, so I had no qualms about whether spending a pound on these things was worthwhile or not. For instance, I got a box of Maltesers for 1 pound. This is the part where you laugh at me, because I just wrote all of that so vehemently to tell you I bought a box of chocolates for 1 pound. Well, screw you if you’re laughing at me…because Maltesers mean more to me than you’ll ever fathom. Ever.

I also went to Waterstones, which is a bookstore much like Borders except they don’t have Borders in England anymore since they went bankrupt. Borders, I mean, not England. They had a “buy one get second at half price” promotion so I got Maureen Johnson’s The Name of the Star and The Madness Underneath because it was thanks to her that I knew about Waterstones in the first place anyway. I’m still not quite sure whether it’s a better buy here compared to Malaysia in terms of prices, but I know for sure it’ll be hard to find Maureen Johnson’s books in any bookstore back home so I don’t quite regret it. They also have loads of John Green’s books available there. God bless England #2.

One thing I found out about England after chatting with Aunty Sue is that recycling is compulsory here. Or you get threatened. And fined. No one really does recycling at Malaysia, and that’s a shame. Most choose to burn them (whoever I’m talking about, you know who you are) and that’s terrible and pisses me off so much. I wish I could threaten and fine them if they didn’t recycle too but alas, I am not part of the British council. Even if I am I wouldn’t have much authority over you back home anyway. Sigh, problematic neighbours. Back to the topic, they recycle everything here, even the grass you cut (so you don’t BURN them, I suppose). I know many might think that it’s just an extra chore but really, if you look at the whole picture, it helps everyone in the long run. God bless England #3.

Shop Till You Sob

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Because literally, shopping in England does make you want to sob. BUT no one should worry because these are happy tears.

Also, I’ve gotten really lazy with the “featuring” section I should’ve known it was a bad idea because obviously there’s gonna be a day when the people and places involved are gonna be more than what I can fit in that small space.

Anyway, morning of Day 10, Sa Pek, Aunty Sue, Sapphire and I went to Bicester Village, which is basically a designer village. It’s an area full of nice little houses and they are all designer shops like Dior, Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Prada, Burberry, Ralph Lauren etc which are, you know, expensive beyond belief so all I got was a Cath Kidston sling bag I got for 20 quid, which I thought might be really useful for college plus it was at a half price discount. Sa Pek also got me some L’occitane products which were on discount so, thanks!

Bicester Village
Bicester Village
Bicester Village
Bicester Village

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Even the food here is designer. This was my lunch.
Even the food here is designer. This was my lunch.

After that, we went to Oxford where I had a look around the University of Oxford campus and buildings. Oxford reminded me a lot of Amsterdam because every single building in that town was old, but that enhanced the “Old English” vibe even more and that was nice. It was also a very conducive place for studying, might I add. The few places we managed to enter and explore in the university campus was so breathtaking that that was reason enough for me to want to study there. We also made a brief visit to the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. After that, like the tourist I am, we entered a shop called Flaggs, also deemed “The Old College Store” which basically sells University of Oxford merchandise and I got myself a shirt that says “Oxford University” and a University of Oxford magnet for £3.99 and £2.50 respectively.

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The next morning, we went to a carboot sale somewhere near Bath, I think, and I got a bunch of books and clothes and ridiculously cheap prices and I have to admit that was my favourite shopping experience of all time. Shopping at carboot sales doesn’t make me feel so guilty.

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That evening, the Teohs’ neighbours’ kids, Jess and Tara who are my age, came down for a visit and I met new people! (!!!) It was awkward at first but I slowly warmed up to them and although it would be incorrect to say that we’re “good friends”, they were really nice people and I really enjoyed talking to them.

PS. If you’re thinking I’ve forgotten about the Malaysian GE13 then you’re wrong because I’m going to make a separate post about it…someday. The Internet is a dangerous place.