Okay, so I'm back and moderately rested from RWA (I recover fast, what can I say?). I decided to do my detail- and photo-intensive blog posts day by day. I may repeat myself a bit from my last blog post made from Washington on Kristie J's computer, but that was written in haste and these posts will have pictures!
Okay, so I don't have a whole lot to say for Tuesday. I got on the plane without a hitch. Everyone with Northwestern Airlines was a peach about my allergies so I had no problems flying with them other than the inevitable (boredom, no leg room). Maybe airports put something in the air, but every minute I spent in an airport (on the way back, as well) was with a big smile on my face, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
I went from my town to Minneapolis, only to find out that Minnesota rips off Canada hardcore in how their tourism board markets their state ("come look at our moose! Look at our black bears and mountains and pines!") and their airport's bookstores have NO ROMANCE SECTIONS (while still having sports and business and YA fiction sections). Then from Minnesota I was off to Baltimore where I caught the shuttle.
The shuttle took about an hour and a half, very long - but I ended up running into the first two of the many authors I met and had awesome conversations with over the conference: Nina Bangs and Gerry Bartlett. We had a great conversation and while I was very intimidated at first they were so nice and helpful. Apparently they've been friends for years and years and watching their first RITA Awards Ceremony spurred them both to become Golden Heart finalists the next year.
In the photo, Nina is in the middle, Gerry is on the right.
Also, the reaaaally long shuttle ride allowed us to get a little tour of downtown Washington which was nice. It reminded me a lot of my university - lots of new buildings standing shoulder-to-shoulder with these gorgeous old buildings.
I managed to get to the hotel in one piece and found my very own personal hotel room and found it to be the absolute perfect room for a conference - inside, it was very comfortable with a huge king-size bed and all the amenities, but it was across from the ice machine and the view from its window consisted of a blank brick wall. Essentially, this was a room that was perfect for crashing and sleeping comfortably in but it actively discouraged me from trying to spend much free time there. Essentially, God, through the Marriott Hotel Franchise, said - "AnimeJune, you are not going to cower in your room because I've ensured you're going to be bored as hell if you do!"
I was barely in my hotel room five minutes before I got a call from Kristie J! Who said she and Wendy the SuperLibrarian, Barbara and Rosie (from Nobody Asked Me, a blog I'm definitely checking out now) would be downstairs at the bar and would I like to join them?
SURE! After making myself a little presentable after seven hours on two planes, I went down to the bar. I was met by the head waiter, and I gave him a rambling and only half-remembered description of what my friends were supposed to look like.
"You don't know what they look like?" he said in disbelief.
"I met them on the internet," said I, all innocence. This was when the waiter got a deer-in-the-headlights "Oh shit I'm going to end up interviewed for an episode of Dateline: To Catch a Predator" look, but thankfully the other bloggers spotted me and I joined them for dinner. Wow! It's one thing to e-mail other bloggers and comment on their websites, it's quite another to meet them in person. Kristie J is honestly such a wonderful woman, Barbara is hilarious (and my first real-life encounter with a Brooklyn accent), Wendy knew just about everything and wasn't afraid to share some of it (I'm also thinking of getting a masters in Library Science), and Rosie was a lot of fun.
I honestly don't know what I would have done throughout the rest of the conference if I hadn't met these wonderful blogger friends first. I mean, there are thousands of opportunities to make new friends at RWA (and I took advantage of as many as I could), but it's really helpful to have a core group of people you already know from the start to keep you from getting overwhelmed or left behind by it all.