(Warning: Kinda long and rambly)
So my last real entry was at the beginning of the summer, right after I graduated. Now, I'll be honest, I didn't do a whole lot for much of the summer. But, what I did do was plan for Brickfair. My dad has a new job and he couldn't take time that week, but hey, I'm 23 now and I have a functional car, so that's not a problem. It is a 10 hour drive though, and I didn't want to be tired and miss out on all the fun, so I had the idea that I would go up a week in advance and stay with my aunt in Maryland. This also worked out nicely since I haven't seen her since pre-pandemic.
I started my drive up on July 21st, exactly a week before the start of the convention. This was my first time driving a long distance by myself, and I was in no rush, so I figured I would stop in a hotel for the night halfway up, along with any other stops I felt like making. The first such stop was at an outdoor mall. Normally, I don't go to a mall alone, but I've passed this one so many times over the years on my trips to and from Maryland without actually checking out, so I thought I could change that while also exploring "outside" a little. I got myself a couple new pairs of sandals there, because I had noticed mine were beginning to smell during the car ride, and I didn't want to stink up the whole convention hall with my foot odor. (There ended up being enough complaints about stinky people in the Bionicle section with me contributing...)
I stopped for dinner and a hotel, both of which kind of sucked, near the NC/VA border. I hit the road the next morning, but the 2nd half of the trip contained many more stops, enough that it really increased the length of the trip. I needed food, to use the bathroom, and to charge my phone. I somehow managed to navigate the final leg and ended up at my aunt's place that night. I was proud of myself for making that drive myself, but mostly I was just tired. I think at some point, it could be fun to just go on a road trip along that route with some friends.
I really enjoyed staying with my aunt for a few days. I think I made some healthy habits while I was there. I ate more fruit and gamed a little less. I took an enjoyable 2 mile walk each morning for the duration of my stay. I had been a bit worried I might have nothing to talk about with my aunt, but we were able to have plenty of good conversation. We also went on a few day trips together. One day we went to an art museum, and another we got me some nicer newer clothes.
On Wednesday, I packed up and drove off to Virginia. It was only a 1 hour drive instead of the 9 hour one it would have been from home. My initial plan was to have my own hotel room, but I saw Ziontyro looking for a roommate, so I decided to reach out to him. That was a good decision, it was a great experience sharing a room with a couple other Bionicle fans.
There were relatively few people there this year that I already knew. Most notably, I was the only farm animal. I did have Luroka there at least, but otherwise, I was trying to introduce myself to new people to make friends, rather than catching up with new ones. I'm a bit shy, and it took me a while to come out of my shell, but I'm satisfied that I was able to make a good impression on at least a few people. Also, there were just less people there this year in general.
There were a few Bionicle panels this year. Nothing compared to 2019, but still good fun. I think my favorite was the "Actual, Physical Violence" one, where we all cheered like mad for everything Brian said and yelled out "Pickle [name]!" to all the guests who took the microphone. I think the mask hunt was also a good idea, nice to get people out looking around at the mocs during private hours.
I think Saturday night was my favorite part of the con. ToaD came through for a while during the public hours, but afterwards, I met up with him and Unit and we went to a Korean Barbecue place near the convention center. It was a great dinner. Afterwards, I headed back to the convention center. This was my first time really staying there during the adult swim hours. Before, I had always gone back to a hotel room to hang out once adult swim started, even once I was old enough. It was also my first time drinking during the con, although I only had a couple White Claws. There was a large carpeted section of the convention full of green 2x4 bricks and that's mostly where I hung out during adult swim. This is really where I came out of my shell, messing around and having a good time with some cool people I hadn't interacted with too much up to that point in the convention. This was the type of night I feel like I haven't had in a long time, maybe years.
The public hours were pretty good to me too. I brought my Lego version of Betrayal at House on the Hill with me to display, and I actually decided to sit with it during the public hours. Most of the kids ran past me to get to the Elsa castle down a bit from me, but it made my day hearing one kid yell "Wow, Betrayal at House on the Hill!". After that, it was usually gamer types who recognized it that would talk to me, but I still loved it! I was very surprised and satisfied with the amount of people that liked my moc.
On top of that, on Sunday, one more person came up to me and asked me if I was the one who made it. I of course answered yes, thinking this was just someone else who liked my creation. Then, he hands me a Brickee, the trophies awarded at Brickfair. I was SHOCKED at this, I was thinking there was no way he had the right guy. I even checked again on the website after he left. But it was for me, and I'm so happy with this! Winning a Brickee is literally something I wrote down as a life goal when I was in 6th grade. I think I had a grin on my face the whole rest of the day.
I of course brought back a lot of Lego with me too. I picked up my lugbulk order. I won a Ford Mustang from door prizes, which led to some jokes with my friends back home. I snagged a few nice deals at the yard sale. And I got a few prints from Khing K and Ziontyro.
Overall, Brickfair was lot of fun as always. Traveling up and going on my own was a big milestone for me, and between that and socializing I feel a lot braver. I also feel older, which can be both a good and bad thing. Thank you to everyone who made Brickfair 2021 such a good experience for me! And I hope maybe I made it better for you too.