1) Getting out of winter in mid-February is always on my list of to-do's.
2) Being with pals where everyone is easy and can just hang out and do whatever is SO great. Not everyone is vacation-compatible. It made me so happy to see them again. They flew down from Bklyn and it was a happy reunion.
3) We are all HP nerds so of course we were excited. In fact, I decree that you shouldn't be allowed to visit this place UNLESS you are a fan. Why would you even want to?? You can't have it both ways. Give in and just read them already. Otherwise there should be a lamer version of it for those people. Mine and Suzie's problem, though, was the letdown that the place wasn't actually Hogwarts. That the magic wasn't actually real. But it wasn't for lack of effort, particularly Diagon Alley side of things. So magical that when i watch the movies, it looks like HP World and I'm like, "I've been there!" But we're just too childlike in our HP wishes. But once we accepted reality, it was awesome. When we were buying the tickets and figuring out which sketchy website was real or not, there was a fear we'd made a wrong turn and had actually purchased tickets to a knock-off amusement park called Harvey Porter, a favorite joke that continued throughout the duration of the trip. Hey, that should be the name of the lame version! They'll never even know the difference.
Several other outstanding jokes were born but I'll save them for another day. But to summarize, it was totally magical. We ate at the Leaky Cauldron, drank butterbeer, slipped from Diagon Alley to creepy Knockturn, witnessed a wand/wizard-choosing, rode rides, some of which gave me the serious heaves, performed spells...
This brings us to last fall, when I broke down and started reading Harry Potter to Julian. I know. I thought I'd wait, it's probably too soon but I just couldn't help it! Fall time brings it out of me. And he just soaked up the magic like a little wizarding sponge. He began writing letters to us, delivered by his existing snowy owl (now named Hedwig). He declared himself the professor of all classes and we even had a potions lesson:
Water + rootbeer + orange slices + raisins + sprinkles + honey and I don't even know what else. Lacewings and a bazoar. We had a sorting (I think I'm Gryffindor. Sean as well. Julian, I believe, is a Slytherin. Dang, we always knew he had it in him. Though, he could be great, you know.) And we thought up a way to play Quidditch with bouncy balls that actually works pretty well. The rules are as follows:
Get four bouncy balls: a quaffle, two bludgers, and one special one to be the snitch.
1. Everyone plays all the positions. Have a space of hard floors.
2. Go to the edge, cover your eyes, and throw the balls into oblivion.
3. Open your eyes, mount your invisible brooms, and go look for the balls. They all get knocked around on the hard floor so there's constant movement.
Basically you take turns throwing the quaffle into hoops (glass jars on a chair) while scooping up the bludgers and throwing them at each other as you yell, "BLUDGER!" And every once in a while looking for the snitch, but you can't focus all your attention on it. Ours is currently lost. We still haven't found it from the last time, so that game is on-going. It's been months.
Anyway, I just wanted to share with you some letters we've received via Hedwig, often they are on the floor at my door first thing in the morning. And with all these goings-on I've realized my acceptance of "reality" was wrong all along, that the magic is, after all, very real indeed.
|"Dear Jen, You are invited to Hogwarts starting Monday"|
|"Dear Jen, By yourself for Hogwarts at Diagon Alley"|
|"Dear Jen, Wizards will be cleaning your dormitories for you."|
|"Dear Jen, now that you know the easy classes you will be switched up to level 8. (?) And go to harder(?) classes. From Professor Severus Snape."|
|"Dear Jen, There will be some cats in Hogwarts's halls."|
But one more funny thing. I was flipping through one of my notebooks and found this gem recorded a couple months ago. Just makes me laugh: