I am so devastated sharing this post, because this means that my BEA recaps are over. And you know what? I miss it. So. Much. I miss my friends, I miss geeking out about books in a place where it's normal, I even miss New York a little (but only a little). There are things I wish I'd done differently, but overall? I'm so damn proud of myself for doing this, and I had the most amazing experience. <3
This day, man. This day sucked so freaking much. Once we checked out of the hotel with our luggage, we weren’t sure how we were going to carry it all to the bus station. The walk was only about ten minutes, but our bags were HEAVY because of the books. I don’t know how we did it; the walk was slow-going and such, but we made it to the bus station in one piece. Sore, tired, stressed. But in one piece.
Have I told you yet how awful the NY bus station is? Because it is. It’s huge and ridiculous and the signs aren’t great at telling you where to go. It took us a LONG time to find Shannon’s gate. Val and I went and got some food (I had a strawberry dessert type of food and it was the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted), and then when we got back, it was time for Shannon to go. Our goodbye was quick and rushed. Val and I still had a bit to wait, but I was so stressed out that I could barely find the energy to socialize. And honestly I had to keep myself in check because all I wanted to do was cry. It was overwhelming, my luggage was over 50 lbs so I had to pay extra (luckily I had enough cash on me), and I wasn’t even sure I had the right gate. Val and I had a quick, horrible goodbye too. After she left, I had another like hour so I just lined up for the bus anyway (because if you line up early, you get your pick of the seats AND THAT IS A SMALL COMFORT TO HAVE). Once the bus boarded, it was completely full, but at least I got to sit by someone nice. Also, I totally cried as soon as I got on it and couldn’t stop for over an hour. It was hard. I had a lot of emotions built up and I just wanted to go home.
The bus ride sucked, like always. I knew it would, but it was better this time around. I hated the layover in Cleveland because it freaked me out. Once I was back on that bus, I felt better. And when we reached Michigan, I almost started crying again. I had a transfer in Detroit, but thankfully the wait wasn’t long. After that, I had a few hours until we got to Grand Rapids, where I met my mom and older brother at the station. It was SO great seeing my mom, especially. I think she was relieved, to be honest. She was extremely worried and panicky about me doing this, and she couldn’t let me out of her sight at the station. My brother suggested a Chinese buffet, and I almost said no because I just wanted to go home and sleep. BUT I hadn’t eaten like anything in over 24 hours, so I felt that food really needed to happen. I told them a bit about New York and what we did and where we went. It was really nice. It was another hour before we got home, and our dog went CRAZY when she saw me! The cats were out too and happy (but I’m pretty sure that’s just because they wanted me to feed them).
And yeah, I ended up not sleeping until after midnight (so I’d been up for over 24 hours by then, omg). I was too wired. My aunt and cousin stopped by earlier, and we got ice cream. Apparently a bunch of family members now know about my blog and such so this is weird. But maybe cool. My aunt asked if I had to review all the books I got and I was just like: WHERE DID YOU HEAR ABOUT ME DOING THAT. Yeah, so. But she was curious about it, so maybe I should give people a chance with it. But I still feel like it’d be hard to explain what I do on here. And I don’t think they’d understand how much this means to me.
Meeting Val and Shannon was the absolute BEST and they’ve become true friends to me. Being a part of this community is amazing, and I don’t know what I’d do without it. I never would have even considered going to NY alone if it weren’t for those two and how much I wanted to go to BEA. As much as I hated the bus ride, this pushed me in so many ways and I got out of my comfort zone. I traveled ALONE. I became a lot more assertive and confident (and probably annoying, but whatever, the bus people will just have to get over my incessant questions). I didn’t even feel self-conscious! Usually I’m so worried about how I look, what I say, and what I wear. But it never bothered me, and I actually loved wearing dresses with leggings (I should do it more often). I was accepted for who I was, without judgment. You see, I had been scared people would find me lacking and they'd be like: THIS is who I've been talking to on social media? But not in a nice way. I had seriously been worrying about so much for nothing because I felt really included and that people WANTED to talk to me. And damn, I wish I’d been more social and met more people (bloggers especially), but I’m proud of myself for doing this! It was a wildly independent and amazing experience, and I'm so glad I went!
(But I’m just never going to ride a bus again).
I hope y'all liked hearing about my BEA adventures! Tomorrow I have a blog tour stop scheduled and then I'll get back to my regular program of reviews, discussions, and the like. I'm also coming up with new ideas, and I want to make some changes on the blog this summer. So we'll just have to see what happens. :D