Summer Mondocon 2021 report... or how I literally fled the country to free hug around 500 fellow weebs in the middle of a pandemic!

Hello everyone! Today I wanted to talk about summer mondocon 2021, where I had the weekend of my life last week! As I said in the introduction I absolutely LOVE the atmosphere at anime conventions, and especially the free hugs and all the crazy random cosplay fun that are always part of it. So obviously, all the corona restrictions over the course of the pandemic have been a special kind of torture for me. I desperately missed just being able to walk around a con, look at fun cosplayers, talk with everyone, take photos, and free hugging people. So when I saw last week Thursday that there was a NORMAL, aka unrestricted, con in Hungary that weekend, I just NEEDED to go no matter what. I booked a Wizz Air flight for Friday, the cheapest hostel I could find on booking.com for Budapest for three nights, and off I went! I had never flown before, so that by itself was quite an adventure. As the plane was taking off, it whobbled a bit and I was like "is this normal?! Are we dead!?", but off course it was normal. These planes are also super nice, they are new airbus A321NEO's, they're quit, less bad for the environment then older planes, the seats are comfy, and their is AC and reading lights above every 3 seats. Very nice~ The entire experience around the flight was also effortless, and look what a pretty plane, PINK!

PLANE!

The guy next to me was super nice and chatty so the flight to Budapest went by in a flash~ After I landed, I charged my phone on the airport for a bit, then went straight to my hostel. I wanted to eat Goulash - a recommendation by a friend - but the Hungarian restaurant on the street was already closing so I ended up eating at a cheap local Turkish restaurant lol. After that it was straight into the hostel, which was an absolute falling-apart trash building, but it was super cheap and the staff was nice, even though they didn't speak much English. Also, I made the mistake of leaving my money unattended for a few minutes as I was taking a shower, and almost all my new shiny Hungarian money was stolen.... I still had enough with a 50 euro bill to go to the con, but I didn't know how I was going to survive in the weeks after the con. I didn't sleep from the stress, but luckily a friend was so super sweet as to pay me almost the entire amount in the morning... awwww thank you! *hug*.

Stress thus removed, and awake from pure hype (especially after learning from the guy I was going to meet up with at the con that everyone there including him and his friends were always super free-huggy!), I made my way onto a bus... and then I needed a train. First someone had to explain how to buy a ticket, and then the train was delayed... in the end I was at the con at 12 instead of 10 lol. Even before I was in line, I already saw someone with a sign that said "Free hugs~ They/them" and I was like OMG I AM HOME! ... and hugged them off course ;3. That felt VERY good, let me tell you. Dear lord. Anyway, in line for immunity check, I showed my international QR in the coronacheck app from my Janssen vaccine, and I just marched straight in. It was super easy! Then I bought a ticket in the con for around 13 euros converted, and I was in. It was heaven, instantly. It was not like corona was over - it was as if it has never even existed! People were free hugging EVERYWHERE, everyone was laughing, smiling, having fun, chatting, hugging..., there was ZERO hesitancy or anything. Not with me either, I didnt think about this stupid virus for one second the entire weekend, and just had fun like old. I started by taking a ton of photos before my phone would die - and off course free hugging literally everyone who wanted too. Now, at Dutch cons this happens a lot, but really, here it was extreme. It was my personal heaven, since I really like huggies. Basically, take the Dutch event where it happens the most, and multiply it by at least ten, and you might get close. Maybe. So many people had cute signs, and almost everyone who didn't still did it. Tons of people were also just waiting with open arms ready on the sidewalk next to the main boulevard, and so so so many random people walking by accepted those offers. I also don't know how many of those warm, sweet, fluffy free huggies I had during the con... 200+ for sure, maybe 500. More then ever before LOL But I really really REALLY loved being allowed to just be myself again. I had missed it so much, so I totally went loose~

In addition to all the lovely, warm, soft, fluffy hugs, the entire con was just so... fun in general. All the happy people, all the fun cosplays, as if this godforsaken virus and the restrictions that turned my life into a living hell for over a year had never existed. It was sooo good: people were dancing, talking, and cosplaying everywhere. Haikyuu cosplayers were randomly playing volleyball on a patch of grass. A bunch of Venti cosplayers ( genshin impact ) were doing some sort of ritual. Some people were even dancing to the good old caramelldansen lol. The general atmosphere was just so incredibly fun, open, and friendly... it was heaven. Biblical. Indescribable. I was just chatting with random people, getting to know them, taking photos with them, etc. And feeling ALIVE again. All the loneliness, despair, loss, and doomsday thoughts if it would ever be the same again that I had constantly since the beginning of this goddamn pandemic instantly flowed out and has in the week since not once come back, not even for a second. Such a relief. I also went up to karaoke and requested to sing one of my favorite-ever anisongs, Lion from Macross Frontier . Now, this is a duet with Ranka and Sherryl, and normally I can sing it decently, but I am used with Dutch conventions to always have vocals in the music to just sing along with. Here, however, there were just the lyrics on screen, but the music itself was completely without vocals. Which meant I absolutely SUCKED singing it, but luckily a nice random guy from the audience joined in and helped by singing as one of the two characters, given me a queue to hook onto again, and it went much better after that LOL. I also played some boardgames on Sunday - and chatted a ton with some new friends I made who I now have on facebook and am still talking with one week later. All my new friends are also going to the next mondocon in Oktober, and I can't wait to see them again then. Also, some of my Dutch friends are likely going to come with me then as well~ Having a normal fun unrestricted con again really did wonders for my mental health - I am still super happy again now one week later~!

To finish off for today, look at this fun photo album I made! Google photos and this awesome, fun official video! YouTube!! You can really see how great the atmosphere at the con was, I especially loved all the awesome cosplays and all the cute free hug signs~ Next time, no matter what, I have no idea how I will fit it into my one free carry on backpack onto the plane, but I WILL bring a cute free hug sign of my own for 100% sure~ Well, that was it for today, I am gonna sleep! Have a nice weekend everyone!