My Trip To Canada [Life]

If any of you follow me on Twitter, I’m sure you saw a couple of tweets from me at the beginning of the month about me being away. My blog was still running as scheduled, but I wasn’t reading or commenting on anyone else’s blogs. I wasn’t answering comments on this blog and I was barely on social media.

I was in Canada for EGLX – Enthusiast Gaming Live Expo – for my other blog, Double Jump, and also for myself.

My sister Kris and I have been wanting to go to a gaming convention or expo for a really long time now. Pretty much all of the YouTube gamers we watch was going to be there. They ran a couple of panels and put on a show. This was an opportunity we knew we couldn’t pass up.

I don’t do anything spontaneous. I’m an organized person, I have slight OCD, and I need to have a plan for the day, the week, the future, everything. I know plans change and things come up and I’m a pretty flexible person, but I’ll admit there have been a few situations where I’ve been agitated or upset because something didn’t go as I planned.

Being spontaneous is a good thing, shaking things up is a good thing. But sometimes my brain doesn’t think so.

I haven’t been on an airplane since I was 3. I don’t remember it and just tell people I’ve never flown before. So many things have changed since then anyway. I also have never been out of the country. I’ve never taken a trip without my parents. Yes, I’m 24, but I still need my mom and dad.

So you can imagine my reaction when Kris burst into our office one day and said, “By the way, we’re going to Canada!”

I should also mention I’ve never really planned a vacation either. I mean, I have, but with my parent’s help or my aunt and uncle’s help from the times we’ve gone to Disney with them.

Kris and I had to figure out how to book a flight, get our passports, figure out money and currency exchange, find our way around the airport, decide how to get from the airport to the hotel, the hotel to the convention center, and back again. It’s a lot. I knew it was going to be a lot but it’s one of those things you don’t realize how much work it is until you actually do it yourself.

But I did it. Kris and I did it.

Canada EGLX | Video Games | Gaming | Travel | RachelPoli.com

Why am I explaining all of this even though this trip was mainly for my video game blog? Well, I wanted to explain that we’re capable of doing much more than we think. This trip was a huge eye-opener for me.

I have generalized anxiety disorder. I won’t go into too much detail about it. Maybe someday I will, but for now, I’ll leave you with this: some days I do well, other days it kills me.

Being on an airplane, for example, flares up my anxiety. I know a lot of people get like this with flying, so it’s pretty common.

I’m going to Disney in April where I will have to go on an airplane. The last few times I’ve gone, we’ve driven down there. I’ve been panicking and sometimes dreading going to Disney, the happiest place on earth because I need to go on an airplane.

What if the plane crashes? What if we, for some reason, can’t get home? What if I get claustrophobic? What if I have an anxiety attack in the middle of the flight? What if I have to go to the bathroom or start to feel sick? What if someone else on the plane gets sick?

There’s always that “what if” for everything in life, but now I know what to expect. Now I’m actually excited to go.

I had a great time on the plane. The flight was only an hour and a half and it went by so fast. Yes, I did have an anxiety pill, but I honestly don’t know if I really needed it. I got cookies and apple juice on the flight which was really good. I watched the map and followed where the plane was and where it was going on the way there. On the way back I watched Mrs. Doubtfire and had pretzels and apple juice.

On the way to Canada, I sat in the aisle because I was nervous the window would make me sick. I didn’t want to stare into the abyss to remind me of how high we were. On the way back, I sat by the window and loved watching the plane ascend and descend. I loved seeing the buildings from above. We were also sitting right next to the plane’s wing both ways so that was certainly cool to see as well. I’ve never seen a plane up close before.

I was also nervous about the expo itself. Kris and I were going to be in an unfamiliar place, a large room filled with, what seemed to be, a thousand people. It was crowded. It was loud. There was a lot going on. I don’t do well in those situations.

But I did it. I was fine and I had a good time. Sure, there were some moments I felt claustrophobic, but there were so many things to do and games to play, I was able to keep my mind off it and just focus on the good.

And I did this for three days in a row.

EGLX in Canada | Gaming | Travel | RachelPoli.com

I’ve realized something important about myself while going on that trip. I knew my anxiety was all in my mind, but this proved that it really is just in my mind.

I’ve always wanted to travel but never have because I was afraid to leave my house. I was afraid I’d die on the plane.

It was amazing to see all the art and talent of various people who share a love of video games. It was fantastic to see the YouTubers who have inspired me to do what I do today. (Our hotel room was right next door and across the hall from a couple of them!)

It may seem kind of silly, but even though I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was in elementary school, these YouTubers have changed my life.

A few of them have anxiety and/or depression and talk openly about it which has helped me a lot. Their videos are funny and entertaining that I’ve watched them in the middle of the night a few times when I had too much anxiety and couldn’t sleep. They’re very open, kind, and welcoming to anyone and everyone no matter their race, sexuality, mental health, or anything.

They’re just a group of friends who do what they love for a living and that’s exactly what I’m trying to do – what I am doing.

I can relate to them on so many levels: working from home, doing what I love for a living, my mental health issues, my overall goals for why I do what I do, and more.

I want to inspire people the way they have inspired me. I want to make people laugh. I want to make people feel loved and welcome in this community I’ve been building with my blog (and beyond). I want people to feel safe and comfortable when they read my work or watch my videos (when I get the channel up and running).

I want people to look at me say, “If she can do that, I can do that” just like I’ve done with these YouTubers.

I want to explore the world and before going to Canada I didn’t realize that was a thing I could do. I did it because I wanted to see those YouTubers in person. (And also because Kris was able to pay for me… Thank you, Kris!)

I want to teach myself new things and I have been. I’ve been teaching myself filmmaking and video editing so I can start a YouTube channel for this blog (and also for Double Jump down the road). I’ve been drawing more. I’m not very good, but maybe I’ll get there in time. I want to publish books. I want to create a literary magazine or something similar. I want to create a video game.

That’s not even the half of it. There’s so much I want to do. I want to do it all. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. But the possibilities are endless and my creativity can go as far as my imagination, which, I’ve come to realize, is pretty endless itself.

Canada seemed to be the first step for me. It opened a new world for me and I came to realize I can do more than what I think I can do.

Maybe someday Double Jump will have its own panel at a convention. No, I don’t want to be rich or famous, but I’d like to make an impact on people’s lives. (As well as make a living off it because… bills.)

Maybe someday my creative works – no matter what form, video, blog, writing, etc. – will inspire and help others.

Of course, I can’t give all the credit to those YouTubers and to the fact I went to Canada. I went to Canada and I do what I do because of the choices I’ve made and the way I’ve decided to spend my time.

I do what I do because there are so many people who visit my blog on a daily basis and actually care about what I have to say.

Canada's EGLX | Gaming | Travel | RachelPoli.com

This is a long post, probably the longest I’ve ever written on this blog. If you’ve read this far and you’re still reading, I applaud you. Thank you for reading this through.

I didn’t mean for this to be so long and corny, but it’s the truth and I felt it needed to be said. I had this realization through my trip and breaking out of my comfort zone, but there was also something else that happened to make me realize this.

The other thing that made me realize all this isn’t a happy story like Canada. It’s gotten me down for quite a while now. Though that’s a story for another day.

I’ll say this though: I’m happy where I am in life. I’m happy with the things I’m doing and the things I’m trying to do. My anxiety holds me back sometimes, but I figure it out. I have a good head on my shoulders (I think so, anyway). I have a good support system with friends and family who love and encourage me to do what I do. I’m a pretty lucky person.

But I guess I’ve rambled enough. Thank you for reading. Thanks for listening. Thanks for being here and taking this journey with me.

Have you ever taken a risk in life? Done something you didn’t think you could? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Guy In Real Life by Steve Brezenoff

guy-irl

Title: Guy In Real Life
Author: Steve Brezenoff
Published: 
Balzer & Bray, May 2014
Genre: Young adult
How I got the book: I got it as a gift

Summary:

“Boy and girl collide on a dark street in Saint Paul, Minnesota, at two thirty in the morning: Lesh, who wears black, listens to metal, and plays MMOs; Svetlana, who embroiders her skirts, listens to Bjork and Berlioz, and dungeon masters her own RPG. They should pick themselves up, continue on their way, and never talk to each other again.

But they don’t.

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

I got this book as a Christmas gift and I was surprised when I first opened it. It’s rare that I receive a book that something thinks I might like. I was excited to try something new and, after reading the blurb, I found it especially interesting because it’s centered around video games, one of my favorite things.

rp-characters

Lesh and Svetlana are the two protagonists. They both had dull personalities and boring home lives. Each one of them kept to themselves most of the time, Lesh really only having one good best friend, Greg, and Svetlana having a small group of friends she role-played with.

I felt as though they were a good choice of protagonists because even though they were “different” from one another and their lives intertwined, they really weren’t different from each other at all. It was interesting to see each of their lives, how they dealt with certain situations, and how they kept one another standing.

rp-plot

This is where my confusion comes in. From the summary, the protagonists bump into each other and end up friends. Cute romance story, right? Well, yes, they bump into each other one night when Lesh is drunk, but that’s about it. They end up sitting together at lunch the next day at school because Svetlana is trying to get away from someone. This is the extent of their friendship/relationship for more than half of the book. They didn’t start really hanging out with one another until there was about 100 pages left or so in the book. They took things very slowly.

In the meanwhile, Lesh creates Svetlana in his MMORPG game and pretends to be her. That was out of left field for me and for a while I thought this book had a deeper meaning to it: Lesh may be struggling with wanting to be a girl. The point is, he doesn’t know what he wants.

While there was a plot, and it was good, weird, but good, I felt as though the summary was misleading. The book was not at all what I had originally thought it would be.

rp-writing-style

Steve Brezenoff has a great way with words. Each chapter alternated (for the most part) between Lesh’s POV and Svetlana’s, as well as Svvetlana’s (Lesh’s gaming character).

However, I felt as though there wasn’t too much of a difference between Lesh and Svetlana. They both had similar personalities and therefore they had the same voice sometimes. They weren’t really unique from one another. I found myself more submerged in Svvetlana’s world than the real characters. But that could just be the gamer in me.

rp-overall

This was a good read. I was excited to try something new and I wasn’t disappointed. The story definitely got weird at times and I think that was because it was out of left field from me. The summary was misleading and the characters could be bland at times. But, if you’re interesting in a boy-meets-girl type of a novel mixed with a little gaming here and there, this is one to try.

Guy In Real Life by Steve Brezenoff gets…
4-stars4 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“I can’t quite look at her directly, after a quick nod of acknowledgment, because it’s like staring at the sun.” –Steve Brezenoff, Guy In Real Life

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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A Video Game Day

Is today Saturday?

Oh. I guess it is.

Well, I caved yesterday and decided to download PokemonGo.

So after I got home from my friend’s house, Kris and I played PokemonGo for the first time.

Then we decided to play more video games after.

It wasn’t until about ten-o’clock last night that I realized I never finished reading the book I’m currently on.

So. Oops?

Stay tuned for the review on Tuesday! And I hope everyone has a wonderful day.

If you play PokemonGo, which team are you on?

Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva

Professor Layton Movie Review Rachel Poli
via IMDB
Title: Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva
Starring: Yo Oizumi, Maki Horikita

Summary (from IMDB):

Layton and Luke are caught up in an adventure, when a masked figure steals an entire opera house and forces those in attendance to play a high-stakes game. The winner will receive eternal life, but it could mean death for the losers.

My Review:

Okay, I’m kind of cheating this month with my movie review. No, this movie is not about writing. Yes, this movie is based upon a video game series.

However, being a mystery writer I felt as though this movie would be fairly appropriate.

Professor Layton and his assistant, Luke, find themselves in trouble when a masked man takes over an opera house not allowing anyone to leave until they solve his riddles and he gets what he wants. Of course, no one knows his true motive and if you fail his riddles… Well, that could mean death.

Some of the riddles were easy to guess, some not so much. There was one that I was sure I was right and then Layton had to ahead and be smart and prove me wrong. It reminds me of when I’m writing my mystery series and I wonder if any readers will guess what’s going on or not.

The end of the movie is a complete twist, one that I had not seen coming. Yet when I knew the truth, everything else the movie made perfect sense. It really was a great mystery.

It’s a cartoon, it’s silly, but it was well worth the watch for me.

Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva gets  4 out of 5 stars.

Would I recommend? Yes.

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Double Jump: New Blog

Double Jump Video Game Blog

Happy Thursday everyone!

Today’s post is going to be a shameless self-promotion. I don’t do this often, so I hope you’ll bare with me.

I started a new blog!

If you know me, you know I love blogging. The more blogs, the better.

This blog has been in the works for a few months now. My sister, Kris, and I have been collaborating on it. Hence the name:

Double Jump.

Get it? Double? Also, Double Jump is a term for video games?

Do you see where I’m going with this?

My main blog here is all about reading and writing, my journey to becoming published someday, to help you guys with your writing, as well as you help me with my writing.

Naturally, the majority of my following (Probably about 95% of you guys) all have blogs that have to do with writing, reading, or blogging. And the majority of the blogs I follow are about writing and reading.

But I have other interests too, just like we all do.

Again, if you know me at all, you know I love video games.

Kris and I started a brand new blog all about video games called Double Jump!

We’ll be posting five days a week–Kris will post on Mondays and Fridays, I will post on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and we’ll both publish a collaborative post on Wednesdays.

We’ll both write game reviews, write general articles about video games, have top lists, debates, etc.

We both love to play video games in our spare time. We play a decently wide range of game genres and we’re always willing to try new ones as well as step out of our comfort zone a little bit.

The blog is a baby as it’s only been open for about a week, but there’s plenty more content where that came from!

So, if you enjoy video games like we do, feel free to hop on over to Double Jump and check it out.

Kris and I hope you’ll join us! Video games are always more fun with other people to play with.