Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Random Facts About Me

I've written a couple of these posts already, but I thought I would do another one. There are always more random facts you can learn about a person! Especially when someone moves to a different country, you tend to learn a lot more about yourself.

1. I am totally fascinated with lingustics and where words come from and how they evolve with time.

2. I hate the way my clothes feel all stiff when they air dry.

3. I have such a sensitive sleep pattern. If I take a 30 minute nap during the way, it makes it so much harder to fall asleep at night.

4. I love thunderstorms. I find it so amazing that nature is about to create this sound and blinding light out of thin air. It's so impressive! Plus the torrential rain makes me weirdly happy.

5. I really love souvenir shops. I love looking at all the ridiculous knick knacks people invent for the tourists, knowing that, as hideous as one thing might be, every single one will be bought at some point. I don't usually buy anything other than postcards, but I'm allowed to window shop, right?

6. I've never been a fan of groups. If I'm hanging out with friends, I don't usually like if there's more than three people.

7. Speaking of which, I can't figure out if I'm an introvert or extrovert. People give me energy and make me happy, but only one or two at a time....

8. I'm really bad at putting makeup on. No matter what happens, I either look like a raccoon, a girl with 90s sparkly way too colourful makeup or like a two year old did my makeup. I use a lot of q-tips and makeup remover to make it look anywhere near normal. Hence why I normally don't wear makeup.

9. I'm a cover and bed hog. I will take all the blankets away from you and most likely push you off the bed in my sleep. #sorrynotsorry

10. I make lists for literally everything. I've even made a list about lists I need to make.

What are some random facts about you?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Easter in Berlin

Though I spent the majority of my weekend working, Easter in Berlin was beautiful. Usually, my entire extended family gets together for an Easter dinner, but as I was away this year, I had to make different plans, which mostly involved serving people burgers and a lot of walking.

Saturday morning, I went for my last long run before the half-marathon. It was such a beautiful day! I regretted not bringing sunglasses with me and took off my sweater within the first few minutes of the run. We ran around the Tierpark right next to the Zoo, which is a really beautiful area of the city. After this, I walked around Alexanderplatz, where there was an Easter market and festival happening. Music, beer gardens, shops, sweets and pretzels every where! Even a few rides for the kids. It was an incredibly sunny and beautiful day, that it seemed like all of Berlin had gathered there.

It was a really great 4-day weekend (for everyone else, obviously. I got one day off) and I can really feel spring coming on. It's getting warmer and warmer every day and the sun is starting to show itself a little more!

Happy Easter!

Friday, March 25, 2016

20 Things to Never Ask or Tell a Runner

For some reason, running seems to be a complete mystery to most people. Whenever I mention that I run, I always get the same questions or comments.... Have you people never run before or what?!
Anyway, for those of you who know someone who runs, here are a few tips on things to not say to us. Unless you want some dirty looks.

1. How long is this marathon gonna be?
The same length as every marathon....?
42.195 km or 26.385 miles

2. Don't you get bored?
No, don't you get bored lifting weights at the gym?

3. You're almost there!
Trust me, I know EXACTLY how far away I am, don't tell me I'm almost done!

4. You run? Oh I hate running.
Trust me, I do too sometimes.

5. Running isn't good for you. It's going to ruin your knees.
I'll take my chances.

6. Are you fast?
Compared to Usain Bolt...?

7. What if you get lost?
Well mile markers and big crowds usually help... or you know, the GPS in my cellphone.

8. Why would you pay to run a marathon?
The money usually always goes to a charity and someone has to pay for the road closures, police and permits!

9. You don't look like a runner.
What the **** does that mean?!

10. You ran a marathon? Did you win?
Of course! Me and the 10,000 other people who crossed the finish line.

11. What are you running from?
I'm running away from dumb questions.

12. How do you even train for a marathon? Do you just run it a bunch of times?
You slowly build up the milage. You can't just run a marathon every week to "practice."

13. Running is easy. Barely even a sport.
Is that why it's in the Olympics?

14. Don't you get tired?
Obviously, I do, but it's called stamina.

15. I would love to run too, but I just don't have the time.
An hour run is 4% of your day. I'm 100% sure you can manage it.

16. How do you hurt yourself running?
Oh honey, if you only knew.

17. How come you're not losing weight?

18. Your life can go back to normal, now, right?
hahahahahahaha no. I've already registered for another race. It never ends.

19. Why do you spend so much on running shoes? Can't you just get Sketchers or something?
Running shoes is our only real equipment, and it's a matter of life or death, so of course we are gonna spend whatever it takes to have the best for our feet.

20. If it rains, will the cancel the race?
Running in any weather is just what we do! A little light rain is always welcome on a hot marathon day.

There you have it! I mean, you can definitely ask all your silly questions, but you've been warned!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Extreme Wanderlust

Ever since I landed in Berlin, I've been wanting to travel even more than before. I am so close to everything, now and it seems completely normal and doable to go to a different country for the weekend. While I sit here at work, I plan all these trips I could possibly do and the majority of them wouldn't cost me more than €200 for the weekend!

Here's a brief overview of the trips I will be going on 100% this year.

Isle of Skye, Scotland

I registered for yet another half-marathon. This one will be taking place in a gorgeous area of Scotland that I didn't get to visit the first time around. The Isle of Skye, an island to the west of Loch Ness, in the Highlands. It's going to be an absolutely amazing experience to run there. On top of it all, I'll be camping instead of getting a hotel!

Oktoberfest, Germany

That one is quite obvious. I'm in Germany for the third time and this year, I will finally experience Oktoberfest. I will go for the opening weekend and get to experience the craziness of the beer-drinking festival.

Bondensee (Constance Lake), Germany/Austria/Switzerland/Liechtenstein

This year, I will be running my first FULL marathon! It's the 3-Country Marathon, that starts in Lindau, Germany, makes its way down to Austria, does a small loop in Switzerland and back up, to finish in Bregenz, Austria. It lounges the Bodensee (Constance Lake) and it's bound to be a very beautiful trek. Afterwards, I will go explore a bit of the Austrian countryside as well as spend a day or two in the teeny tiny little country of Lichtenstein.

There you have it! These trips are actually going to happen 100%! There are also all kinds of other weekend trips I would love to take, and I'm sure I'll get around to it at some point.... For example, I would love to visit Krakow, Dubrovnik, Budapest, Athens, Hamburg, the Black Forest.... etc. etc. The list never ends.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Bier Yoga

Yoga and beer... Both of these things are great separately, but what about combined? Many yogis would shutter at the idea of combining the two, but, it's actually kind of a hilarious and lovely idea! Why hasn't anyone thought of this years ago?!
Bier Yoga is a new trend here in Berlin and the title says it all: you're doing beer and drinking yoga  doing yoga and drinking beer! I decided to try it out, even though I have never been in a yoga class in my life and knew I would probably fail epically.
We gathered in this sort of bar (the location changes from time to time) and everyone socialized, grabbed a beer and sat down on their yoga mats facing the stage. Jhula, the instructor started off by asking who had never done yoga before, and a good chunk of us timidly (or proudly) raised our hands. I have to admit I was quite relieved to know I wasn't the only beginner in the room. Then she asked who had never drank beer before, and of course, we all laughed as we were all experts in that domain.

Already, you get a good feel of the atmosphere. It's relax, friendly and totally welcoming. I've always been reluctant to go to a yoga class simply because it's so serious and I would be afraid of making mistakes and giggling at my lack of flexibility. At Bier Yoga? Everyone giggles and laughs at their mistakes and at the hilarious ways we use beer bottles to help with our yoga poses.
I definitely need to work on my flexibility...  Sign me up for another class!
It was honestly such a great session! I will definitely go back. It's only 5€ plus however many beers you decide to get. It's a great environment and an awesome way of getting people curious about yoga. If you're ever in Berlin, definitely go try a session of Bier Yoga. Whether you're a pro or not, and whether you understand German or not, you're definitely going to have a great time.


Friday, March 18, 2016

Saint Patrick's Day in Berlin

The first time I went out to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day, I had a hell of a good time. I won a t-shirt, saw a great band live and even made a new friend, who then became one of my closest guy friends. Last year, I was too busy planning my trip and finishing all my homework to go out, so I made up for it this year!

Though I wasn't in Dublin to celebrate, I found myself in an Irish pub in Berlin, where you got a free hat and free whiskey for wearing green. It was incredibly crowded, but thankfully it was a beautiful night and we spent it on the patio drinking our Guinness and Jameson, and listenning to bagpipes (not Irish I know, but there definitely was a bagpipe player at the front door!)

Have I mentioned how international Berlin is? I spent the evening in an Irish pub with a German and an Indian guy, we all spoke English, and arround us? We heard Spanish, Irish, English, German, etc. All this to say that it was a great night!

Do you celebrate St. Paddy's Day? How?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Guilty Pleasures

Guilty pleasures... things we secretly enjoy but refuse to admit we do. You know exactly what I'm talking about! Mine aren't necessarily embarrassing (for the most part) but because of who I think I should be and the friends I have, they're considered embarrassing, hence being guilty pleasures.

Music: I really hate to admit it.... but Justin Bieber's new album is awesome. Taylor Swift's too. Yep, I said it.

Books: When it comes to books, I'm still a total teenager. I love reading paranormal romance (not Twilight, but in that same category), and the dystopian novels like Divergent and Hunger Games.

Movies: I'm a huge sucker for romantic comedies. The Princess Diaries, The Ugly Truth, 10 Things I Hate About You, Because I Said So... bring it!

TV Shows: I recently fell in love with Grey's Anatomy, a show I had always told myself I would never watch. Gossip Girl is high on the guilty pleasure list as well.

Food: I don't do it often (though that's already too often), but I love me a good McChicken burger. McDonald's is awful, but so good!

What else? Organizing is something I do too much of. If I get bored, I will literally take everything out of my drawers and closet and reorganize it. Though that pretty much means putting it right back where it was in the first place (while jamming out to the Biebs.)
I love buying cosmetics, toiletries and jewelry, but I rarely ever use all of it. I have tons of hair conditioners and solutions I've never used, necklaces I'll never wear, and makeup I've barely touched. Oops!

Yep.... there you have it. Some of my (not so)dirty little secrets. While it's not that embarassing, I know most people would shake their heads at reading this list.

What are some of YOUR guilty pleasures?

Monday, March 14, 2016

20 Thoughts You Have in a Hostel

When I moved to Berlin, I spent over two weeks living in hostels, trying to find an apartment. I've also slept in hostels in Thailand and the last two times I was in Germany as well. I love hostels! They are such a great, cheap way to have a roof over your head and meet people from all over the world! It can be a great experience, but not everyone is friendly and not every hostel is as clean as the last. Here are some thoughts you may have when living in a hostel.

  1. I can't believe I'm paying $15 a night!
  2. This is awesome. These people are so nice!
  3. Wait... Why doesn't the WiFi work?
  4. I have to go to the lounge for WiFi? ugh.
  5. I can't hear my Netflix over all these people talking!
  6. Okay, it's 3 am... One more message, then sleep.
  8. A hot shower! Hallelujah!
  9. Aaaaand there's hair. There's a stranger's hair on the wall.
  10. New people! Where are they from?
  11. CANADA! Yussssss. My people!
  12. I love meeting new people!
  13. I need to stay in hostels more often.
  14. Okay, now YOU there, you need a shower.
  15. This place is so perfect, it's so close to downtown!
  16. I can't figure out if the top bunk or the bottom is better...
  17. I wonder if the maids clean the walls beside the beds...
  18. Okay, please stop staring at me...
  19. I can't wait to sleep in my own bed...
  20. Damnit, why does the WiFi never work?!
  21. You get what you pay for, I guess....

Honestly, I've never really had a bad experience in hostels (other than getting robbed...). I've met quite a few amazing people that I'm still friends with years later and have even visited! It's a great alternative to an expensive hotel, especially when all you really need is a bed and a shower. I mean, why pay over $100 a night when you spend less than 10 hours there?!
To this day, my favourite hostel in the world is in Chiang Mai, and it only cost me $2-5 a night! It had this awesome little patio (see picture above) where we would all gather at night to hang out, drink and play music together. I've got some really great memories from those nights and I've definitely made some friends for life there.

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Importance of Language Preservation

As some of you may know, my first language is French, and I'm extremely proud of that. The first few years of my life were solely in French, I went to a French elementary and high school. That means every single class was in French (except English, of course). While in school, we were always reprimended for speaking English, and we all hated that. We just wanted to do whatever we wanted!
Though I learned English almost from birth alongside French, French is still the language I consider my first.
Franco-Manitoban Flag

You see, French is a minority where I'm from. To me, it never truly felt like a minority until about the age of 16, when I started spending more time with English-speakers, and working in an English-speaking environment. I never really had to struggle to find French. I lived in the French neighborhood, went to a French schools and both sides of my family speak French. There was an unlimited ressource of books, movies, TV shows, all in French, at my disposal.

Many English speakers in Canada don't see the importance of our second official language, and simply say "well, you can speak English, so why do you insist on getting French services too?" Which means many, many services offered in the French language have been cut. The latest example is the Radio-Canada (CBC) station in Winnipeg is being moved to the English headquarters of the city. Though the station still exists and will continue to function as normal, it's the idea behind the move that bothers many of us. The station has been there since 1946 and has never needed to move before, being right in the centre of its French community. Now, because of all the budget cuts, it will need to be relocated and therefore a little drowned in a sea of English-speakers. Though it's not the end of the world, I still find it a little sad...
This is just one of many cuts made throughout the country, making the French-speakers dwindle in numbers.

After my friend shared an article on Facebook about this, it sparked a lot of debates in the common section. It was really frustrating and quite frankly, completely insulting to read what some people had to say. Most of the comments were along the lines of:
"So what? It's not even closing so get over it."
"There aren't even that many French-speakers, so it's actually a waste of our tax-payers money to fund these services."
"If they can all speak English anyway, why are they being so dramatic about this? Just take the English services and move on with your lives."


Unless you speak another language, whichever language is may be, you will never truly be able to understand why we are so viciously trying to keep our language alive. You say "it's just a means of communication, and right now, English is the most common means of communication here." Maybe in your world, this is true, but it's not everyone's reality.

You are right. Language is a means of communication... like communicating our culture. Without it, our songs, literature, art, jokes, history wouldn't exist. It would all just be lost, just like ancient Greek or Latin, and we all know how important those languages ended up being! French-Canadians have been pushed around and often told they could not speak their languages... For a while it was even banned in schools, so of course we will fight to keep it alive! It's a part of who we are. Can you imagine if Latin still existed?

I think it's so important to preserve a language, no matter how "small" the population is. The more services and classes offered, the more people are willing to learn and keep it in their culture. If it's almost impossible to find, they will most likely give up and lose it. If I keep up with the Radio-Canada example, I know for a fact that if it didn't exist, a ton of us would lose our mother tongue. Many of us who now live abroad or among English-speakers wouldn't have a way of keeping up with the language or the community. Sometimes, listening to it is enough to be able to keep it.
Now that I live in Germany, where French is definitely not a popular language, especially not canadian French, I have to go out of my way to practice and find the information and news in my own language if I don't want to lose it. And trust me, I already am.
My Franco-Manitoban "flag" tattoo

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Currently I'm....

I'm slowly adapting to living in Berlin and getting a new routine in this amazing and vibrant city. Right now it's grey and a little rainy every day, and most people are going through a pretty intense seasonal depression (which is definitely more understandble here than in Winnipeg where it's cold but sunny...). So far? I'm loving every minute of it.

READING: I've been re-reading Harry Potter, but this time in German, to try and improve my language skills. I haven't read them since 2008 and it's like reading them for the first time all over again. It's wonderful and magical and I'm forever in love.

WATCHING: I recently discovered Outlander, based on the books by Diane Gabaldon. It's based in Scotland and having just been there, it's making me fall deeper and deeper in love with the beautiful Highlands. Next season takes place in France, and the costumes look absolutely amazing!

LISTENING: I've been listening to a lot of folk and indie music lately. All very chill vibes making me think of summer. I've been using 8tracks to listen to music at work and discover all sorts of new music. Here's one of my favourite playlists.

WORKING ON: Writing, mostly. I don't do a ton at work, so I've been spending a lot of time working on my blogs (scheduling up to 6 blog posts at a time!) and doing a bit of writing. Short stories and maybe even something longer. It passes the time and keeps my mind focused on something creative and productive!

EATING: Waaaaaay too many döner kebabs! I'm obsessed. In Berlin, you can find a kebab place on every street corner, or almost and it's so delicious! It's basically a heavy sandwich in a thick pita bread, with a thick garlicy tsatsiki-type sauce, typically with lamb meat or chicken, lettuce, red cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions. YUM.

DRINKING: Beer! I'm in Germany, after all! It's ridiculously cheap. Like, 80 cents for a .5L bottle at the convevience store across the street cheep). With the strict purity laws, you know it'll be great. Some of these are so smooth, it's like drinking water! Whether that's a good thing or not, I'm not quite sure yet...

WANTING: To go for a very long run. My running shoes were stolen at the hostel and I,ve been waiting impatiently to go running. My wonderful mom has sent me my "old" pair in the mail and I've been obsessively checking the mail box, hoping they'll get there soon before I go crazy.

THINKING: I should stop signing up for races... I'm signed up for a half marathon on April 3rd in Berlin, another six days later at the new Berlin airport, another half in June in Scotland and then a full in October in southern Germany. There's just too many! Someone please stop me. ...or don't.

CELEBRATING: Finally finding an apartment! So far, it's just a temporary sublet, but the location is great and I can finally relax and not live out of my suitcase.

TRYING: I've been seriously trying to get back in the workout grind. While I can't run, I might as well do something with myself to stay in some kind of shape, so a little workout here and there should help! I've been using a couple of apps to keep track (and make me feel bad when I don't work out), and it's definitely been helping! There's also a good friend of mine at home who has been making incredible progress in her fitness in the last few months and it's definitely motivating me to get my sweat on.

ENJOYING: Honestly? All of Berlin. Wandering with a friend around at 1am in Alexanderplatz on a Monday night sharing headphones, meeting new people, going to random little cafés and pubs, the weather (though everyone here would think I'm crazy for enjoying the 0-5 degree temperatures), when random musicians play on the subway, my new coworkers, feeling like a badass when I cross the street at a red light, all the little hidden gems in the city like the Chamaleon or the Anne Frank Zentrum area, and having people from home planning to make a little detour to come see me in Berlin :)

Monday, March 7, 2016

5 Things I'll Miss Most About Winnipeg

Winnipeg is one of those cities that's very easy to complain about. It's absolutely freezing cold for half of the year (hence the nickname Winterpeg), and you get maybe 2-3 months of nice, sunny weather, it's not exactly a famous touristy city, and the transit system is beyond awful.
But you see, Winnipeg is my home. I was born and raised here and I think it's a beautiful city. Maybe it's because I've travelled that I can come home and really see its beauty. The prairies may be flat and seemingly boring, but all you have to do is try a tiny bit and you'll always find something to do in Winnipeg.
Winnipeg is home. I'm definitely going to miss it while I'm gone.

Skating on the river is one of my favourite things about winter. It may be way too cold, but when the river is frozen, you forget about it all. It's the longest ice rink in the world and you can go whenever you want. I've also run on the river a few times, on the snow trail next to it. The best part? A rum & hot chocolate to warm up afterwards.

Winnipeg Folk Music Festival is my favourite festival by far. I practically grew up at this festival, going almost every year since I can remember, whether it was my dad on stage or some random band from across the globe I'd never heard of before, I owe this festival some of my best summer memories. Some years, it rained so much the week before that we would walk around barefeet in the mud (you can imagine how much fun that is as a child), or you would get the most perfect July weather, with a few sunburns. It's truly a place of happiness and music.

Festival du Voyageur is the outdoors winter festival almost every Franco-Manitoban waits for all year long. Every year, we would go with our class and learn a bit about the fur trade era and our history, all while having a ton of fun in the snow; climbing things, getting lost in the big snow maze or going down the ice slide, and don't forget the tire sur glace! As young adults, we go there to party, see some really great live bands, admire some fantastic snow sculptures and drink some caribou. It's where we get together and pretend it isn't incredibly cold outside. We all know once Festival is over, the summer isn't far away.

Camping season. Okay, so this may not exactly be a Winnipeg-specific thing, but Manitoba in general has so many beautiful places to go to during the summer, that it's definitely something I need to add here. I love going camping and spending time outside. The sunsets, the fresh pine-smelling air, the lakes... Manitoba is a lot prettier than we give it credit for.

The People. If there's one thing I'll miss more than anything, it's the people. Winnipeg has been my home for 21 years, and my roots are deep. I have made some truly great friends over the years, and I am so grateful for the people I have met. You have grown with me, inspired me, made me the person I am today.

There you have it! The 5 things I'll miss most about Winnipeg. Though I'm sure I can find all of these things in Berlin in one way or another, it just won't be the same as good ol' Winterpeg. Until next time!

Friday, March 4, 2016

When the Thieves Strike

Theft is something we never expect will happen to us. We always expect it to happen to others, or we think that we're safe because it's in our house, or you just wouldn't imagine why in the world someone would steal from you....
Until it happens to you.
And then you still wonder why the hell did they pick me, of all people?

After living in a hostel for over two weeks, the majority of that week with only one other person, who was also looking for an apartment, three guys checked into our room. We were slightly annoyed for not having the whole room to ourselves like we had gotten used to, but also because those guys smelled like a dirty gym bag (this is really not an exaggeration) and had basically flooded the bathroom after their showers at midnight. We all went to bed and the next day, the both of us went to work as usual.
Broken lock from the inside
When we came back, my "roommate's" locker had been broken into, my things had very clearly been rummaged through and we noticed right away, some of our things were missing. I was panicking. My brand new polaroid camera, my GoPro, all my charging cables, my external harddrive with all my work (school, films, writing, everything), my running shoes and my backpack were gone. They took his iPad, his sweater and t-shirt as well.

While we waited for the police to come, I was repeating "I want to go home." "I give up." "I want to go home." "When is the next flight home?" over and over in my head, trying to fight back the tears and anxiety. I couldn't believe that someone would do something like that in a hostel, a place where the majority, if not all are backpackers, who trust each other, who believe that it's safe. I couldn't believe they literally broke the locker and stole our things.

It's a blessing I had my passport and money with me that day... Otherwise I'm sure that would have been gone too.

When the police came, they took pictures of the broken locker, and took pictures of mine, which they had tried to break into but failed (thank god, otherwise my laptop would have been gone too) and wrote down as much information as they could. All that was left for us to do was go to sleep and hope they catch them. The hostel had photocopies of the thieves' passports, and alerted all the hostels in the city in case they decided to try their luck somewhere else

I'm not expecting the police to get my stuff back. It has probably already been re-sold (though I have been obsessively scouring craigslist and ebay), but I do hope they'll catch them and maybe spare another poor traveller.

The worst part of all this? They took my running shoes. I can live without the technology, it sucks, but I'll survive. But my running shoes? That's a stab directly in the heart. I'm running a half-marathon in less than 2 months and it's not really something you can do without proper shoes. Running is all I have when I'm stressed or upset, and they took that away from me. With the exchange rate, the same pair of shoes cost over double what they would cost in Canada, and it's not exactly like I can afford to buy a new pair...

After talking on the phone with my mom, we figured out that she could send me my old pair, which isn't all that old anyway, so I could at least run the half marathon in a decent pair of shoes, and then figure out the rest later, while a friend of mine calmed me down and convinced me not to give up and stay in Berlin.

In the end, I'm pretty lucky. I still have my passport, which really is the most valuable thing I own right now, I wasn't hurt and I have amazing people around me to support me no matter what happens.

Berlin may have kicked my ass once again, but I'm going to fight back and not let it defeat me. I am stronger than that.

PS: I did the whole thing, going to the precinct, talking to the police, etc. in German, so clearly, my language skills are pretty darn good. :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Harry Potter Studios

Harry Potter is a huge part of my childhood. I grew up reading the books, getting overly excited to go see the movies and even attending book launch parties. I dressed up as Hermione for Halloween, had a stuffed Hedwig, and even did a university research paper on the phenomenon!
So how could I possibly go to London and NOT see the studios where all the magic was created?! So I did, and let me tell you, it's an experience I'll never forget.

The Warner Brothers Studios in Leavesden (which is where most WB productions are filmed in London, not just Harry Potter) are just outside London (about 30 minutes by train), then another 15-20 minutes by shuttle (there's a special Harry Potter-decorated bus) that takes you straight to the front door of the studios.

From there, you enter in the Studios. They used two sound stages and a backlot to exhibit all the props, costumes, set pieces they could fit, as well as animatronic pieces, makeup techniques (masks, hair pieces, etc) and even Platform 9 3/4 and the Hogwarts Express (which used to be a real train, by the way)!

We even got to try some real Butterbeers in the Backlot café, which were absolutely delicious! We must've spent a solid 3 hours in there minimum, and if I would have gone alone, I'm sure I could have easily spent another 2 hours in there, really soaking it all in.

You can be sure I binge watched the entire series when I got home!

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