I just came back from a week-long trip to Los Angeles. I participated in the artist alley for Anime Expo during 4th of July weekend and it was amazing! I had a lot of fun being able to spend a little bit of time with friends I rarely get to see due to distance. Anime Expo has always treated me well but there are still so many flaws in its system. They're experiencing so many hiccups, maybe not even hiccups any more but full on projectile vomiting, and I believe a big reason is just how fast they're growing. This year's show felt even more crowded than years prior, and I thought Anime Expo had already reached its peak. I was so wrong lol. My friends who had general attendee badges (and unfortunately had to pick the badges on Saturday) had to wait in line for a grueling 4-6 hours. If you had to use the restroom, there was little to no option than to leave your spot in line and go elsewhere since they wouldn't allow you to go into the convention center without a badge anyway. That's crazy. For the sake of everyone, including Anime Expo, I hope conditions improve and they will be able to handle these massive growing pains.
Being in SoCal meant good company and good FOOD! I get so sad having to go back home because I know it'll be a while until I can try more places down there. If anyone has specific recommendations, I'd love to hear them! Some friends and I also attempted an escape room again! We went to The Basement, and we beat the room this time, which is our second attempt. Last year, we got so close. This year was a close call too -- our host told us that we only had 2 minutes left until we failed. Our room's theme included a dead maid portrayed by an actress, and even she jumped up and down at the end because of how happy the staff was to have a successful group in a while lol. It was really fun and I can't wait to attempt future escape rooms with everyone.
I was able to meet my favorite cosplayer too! She's Tomia from South Korea and I think this was her first guest appearance in the US. I drew her a chibi version of herself and she was so kind in person. When I visited her at her booth, I saw the prices for a selfie with her, and it was $80. My wallet cried out to me but I was willing to pay that. I was shaking and telling myself not to tear up (I'm a huge crybaby, I start crying even when I'm happy lolol) and then I gave her some keychains + a printed copy of the fanart. After talking for a little bit, she ended up letting me take photos with her for free and even gave me a free signed photo of herself! I could've died right then and there. She even called me cute and to hear that from the epitome of cuteness herself, I thought I would get a nosebleed.
So now I'm back home. Life continues as normal and life right now isn't the smoothest sailing. My family is experiencing financial troubles and to go with that, our landlord has decided he wants us out asap because his kid wants to live in our unit. This is out of nowhere, especially right after we experienced the house being flooded due to faulty pipes he never got checked. He didn't even offer to replace the carpet and tiles after that whole fiasco, but we were all ready to do it ourselves. We really had no choice but to endure all his indifference towards us since housing in California is very expensive and we had a "good" price for our place. But now we have no choice but to try to look for a new place before he gives us the boot. This is one of those times where I feel very stressed and frustrated because there isn't much I can do about the situation, aside from trying to support my family as much as I can. People ask me if I ever get tired of doing so many cons or always working on new things -- I do get tired but it makes me incredibly happy doing what I'm doing. Not only does my work help me focus on other things, it also helps me alleviate the financial burden on my family.
Mini soap box aside, I hope that whoever is reading this is doing well. You guys are the reason I encourage myself to get out of bed and see the brighter things in life. It's cheesy but thank you as always for visiting me at conventions, giving me little gifts, showering me in compliments, taking photos with me, and letting me have happy memories to look back on when times get rough. I love you guys and wish only the best for you <3