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Remember that time... my first trip to Wattpad



While cleaning out some stuff, I came across this gem of a post from 2014. I still smile when I read it.


About a month ago… 


It’s a very long day at work. I’ve been looking at a spreadsheet next to a map for most of the day and the numbers are starting to blur together into something incomprehensible. I blink and grab my phone, simply because it will help to look at something else for 2 minutes.


Oh look! I have a new email.


I open it up and scan the subject line: Wattpad Invites You to Toronto.


It’s a message from Wattpad team member, Caitlin asking me to attend their open house in their new

location in downtown Toronto.


I blink.


I read it again.


I blink.


I read it again.


I repeat this process at least ten times.


My heart is racing.


Does she have the right person?  Is she sure? Me? Really?  


And then it hits.


Wattpad invited me to Toronto! Me!


Ohmygod.


I email Caitlin back pretty much immediately with a slightly more professional version of this: Um, is the sky blue? YES! YES! I’d love to go! 


What is this life?


2 weeks later…


Thursday: 3:30 AM


I jolt out of a dead sleep, sure that I’ve slept through my 4:00 AM alarm. I have to be at the airport an hour before my 6:00 AM flight. I trip over my sleeping husband (waking him) in a hurried rush to get to my phone to check the time.


3:37 AM


Thank God.


No point in going back to sleep for 23 minutes so I lumber to the bathroom, plug in the flat iron and proceed to try to tame the mass of red that sits atop my head. I burn myself in the proceess. Right across my hand.


Stellar.


5:00 AM


I check my bags and go through security at the airport. There is not enough coffee in the world at this point, but adrenaline will do—plus, I purchase an extra large double double coffee with two shots of espresso.


That can’t hurt.


6:00 AM


We’ve boarded the plane and as it starts to taxi down the runway, I want to pinch myself to make sure this is actually happening.


The screen on the back of the chair doesn’t work. 


I wanted to watch Captain America.


No dice.


The guy beside me is watching Captain America and I’m incredibly jealous. His wife is sprawled across him, her screen playing something but she’s sound asleep.


What a waste of new releases.


I try to listen to an audio book but the man who narrates it is putting me to sleep only I don’t have my husband to sprawl across so I do that head bob and every time I fall asleep I startle myself awake.


Damn.


I open up my laptop and try to work on a critique I’d promised someone but the guy beside me (who was supposed to be watching Captain America) either has a lazy eye or he’s reading over my shoulder.


I shut my laptop and resign myself to a relatively unentertaining flight until I have to use the loo. I shouldn’t have had all that coffee.


My seatmates are still all cuddled up, the guy’s attention is back to the movie screen and his wife is sound asleep. Plus the airline staff is doing a drink service, wheeling that small cart down and aisle meant for one person.


I wait.


Do I bother them?


Five minutes pass.


I wait.


Maybe I should bother them.


I wait.


Ten minutes pass.


The discomfort grows.


Do I wake a sleeping woman simply so I can use the loo?


The guy with the airline cart has moved on.


I wait.


Twenty minutes pass.


I can’t wait any longer.


“Excuse me,” I say.


He pauses his movie and wakes his wife who stubmles sleepily into the aisle.


I am pretty sure they hate me.  


There is no turbulence.


Thank God.


I return to my seat and she’s awake now, using her screen.


I sit down and am assualted with a pungent aroma of garlic, and onion and I notice my seatmate is eating something she bought earlier at jugo juice. The smell is so strong, it’s nearly offensive.


I wonder if I should feel hungry.


I listen to the last part of my audio book until the pilot tells us we are descending into Toronto.

Finally! 


I’m near the end of the plane so it takes forever to deboard. There is supposed to be someone there to meet me. Toronto Pearson is big. Bigger than Calgary and I praise God I’m not in heels as I may my way to the baggage claim.


I watch the same three articles go round and round the conveyor belt for at least twenty minutes. I check the time 12:45 PM. I am starting to feel sleepy.


My bag must be lost.


Oh, no wait… there it is.


I grab my bag and go through the arrivals door. There is a man in a suit holding a sign with my name on it.


I feel important.


We go to his car and when I step outside I realize how humid Toronto is in comparison to home.


I love it here.


Bring on the heat.


Arrive at my hotel.


Check in.


Pray my credit card doesn’t self-destruct.


It doesn’t.


Thank God.


The man behind the desk asks me to wait and hands me a bag. There is an envelope inside with my name on it with an itinerary and some other stuff. He hands me my room card and tells me to have a nice stay.


My room is on the 10th floor and when I get there, it is not just a room. It’s a suite. There is a bathroom/powder room, a kitchenette, a living room and a bed.


It’s quite lovely.


Unlike my reflection at this point.


I look tired.


Scratch that.


I look dead.


The phone rings. It’s someone from Wattpad HQ welcoming me to Toronto.


I feel important.


I do my best to fix my face with make up. It doesn’t work all too well, plus with the heat, I’m confident it’s going to melt off my face anyway.


I ruin the dress I was going to wear with my iron and settle for something else after facebooking the Wattpad4 girls to ask them what I should wear. The decision is unanimous and I feel like I have my very own cheerleaders. I can’t imagine doing this without them.


I start walking to Wattpad HQ because it’s 3:30 now and I am notorious for getting myself lost.


I think I arrive at 3:35.


That was quicker than I thought.


This is the coolest office I’ve ever seen.


There’s graffiti going up the staircase on one side and leaves filled with quotes from Wattpad books on the other.  I get up the stairs and go inside. It’s got brick walls and exposed ceilings. There is a light fixture over the coffee table that is a giant cylinder. The outside of it is a display of Wattpad book covers.


I could move in.


Caitlin gives me the tour and introduces me to the Wattpad team.  It’s very strange to meet them in person because a part of me feels like we already know eachother. They are great behind a computer screen and even better in person.


I feel important.


I am welcomed by each and every face of Wattpad as we pass through. Caitlin shows me the office, the meeting rooms (named after Wattpad books), there are puzzle piece ottomans and an orange hammock. There is writing on the walls.


After the tour and introductions I sit down and wait.


Other authors arrive.


We all go upstairs to chat a bit before the open house starts.  I cannot believe I am in the same company as some of them. They are phenomenal. Their stories make me hopeful. 


Before we know it, people start to pile in for the open house and the space, which not long ago was vast, shrinks as more and more people fill it. I get the opportunity to speak with a journalist. He asks me questions about the One Direction fan fiction. He excuses himself and I continue to wander.


I speak with a publisher. She gives me her card. I give her mine.


There is a gigantic tree with those same leaves, quotes from Wattpad stories and quotes about Wattpad make up the leaves. I want this tree in my living room.


Allen Lau, one of the founders of Wattpad gives me a hug and says some very nice things to me. I try not to be all emotional and shed a tear because Wattpad has done so much for me as a writer.


We take a selfie under the Wattpad tree.


I can’t think of a better place.


There is a poutine bar.


I love it here.


The Wattpad team wastes no effort in making their authors feel welcome. They are so happy to have us here. We are so happy to be here.


The party is over but a few of the people from Wattpad, the inspiring Taran Matharu, the beautiful

Anna Todd and I head to a pub.


No one has heard of a paralyzer.


What is this?


I need to introduce them.


We order poutine and paralyzers.


The two go practically hand in hand.


Anna and I talk. I love talking writing. 


Another paralyzer is ordered from across the table.


I have started a trend.


An hour passes and we decide to head back to the hotel.


We have a full day tomorrow.


I can’t believe I am here.


What is this life?

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