My experience with Stephenie Meyer and the other international winners was more than amazing, it was priceless. Meeting people from around the world that love the Twilight Saga as much as I do has been an eye-opening experience. I have made life long friends with the other winners. We will always be able to discuss Twilight on a different level because of this fabulous opportunity afforded to us. Coming together and experiencing the amazing Stephenie Meyer is something that we experienced as a group. I will never forget the ten other winners and their guests. I have made life long friends with all of them. Many of these memories were shared with the one person that made all of this possible, Stephenie Meyer! I do not have enough words to describe how much of a wonderful, warmhearted person Stephenie is, plus she is the author of some of my favorite books!
But I bet you are wondering how all of this was possible. Well, on Wednesday, March 2nd, my grandma received a call from Ames from Little, Brown. Through the course of the call, Ames explained that I was the potential winner of the Twilight International Fan Event for the U.S., and that we should expect an overnight envelope with paperwork that needed to be notarized and signed. (So it could be returned to Ames by the following Monday.) We were under a confidentiality agreement from the very beginning, everything had to be completely secret. Have you ever had to keep a really exciting event a secret? Well, this was a first for me and all I wanted to do was tell my best friend that I was meeting Stephenie Meyer. I wanted to tell my teachers that I was going to Vancouver, British Columbia, the cultural capital of Canada! Not that we knew where we were going until two weeks before we left, when I found out we were going to Vancouver it was actually kind of funny. We had just been discussing the native American art of the west coast in my Humanities class. I was actually kind of glad that everything happened so fast, I do not know how long I would have been able to keep a secret like this. I am glad that it happened during that time as well, I originally had an M.U.N. conference scheduled for the same weekend but we decided not to go and I just happened to be free for that weekend. Coincidence? I do not think so, everything happens for a reason. Not only was I excited about the culture of Vancouver but rumor had it that they were shooting "Breaking Dawn" in the mountains right outside of the city! I know some of you are itching to know if we got to meet the cast. Nope. This trip was about where the saga begin, within the author, Stephenie Meyer. Regardless, Stephenie did dish out some really exciting things about the filming, the cast, and about what she is working on! I bet you would just love to know, but sorry, I can't tell you anything. Remember that confidentiality agreement?
My grandma and I boarded our American Airlines flight in Ft
Myers, Florida on Thursday, March 24 at 6:45 am. The plane ride was
spent listening to music while rereading Twilight. We had a
slight delay in our connection at Dallas, but arrived in Vancouver
around 1:00pm. The adventure through customs was interesting, to
say the least. When the customs official asks you why you are
entering Canada and you can only divulge a certain amount of
information, they sometimes look at you suspiciously. We told him
that we were going to an event and a few other details because,
seriously, who wants to get held at the customs office because you
couldn't tell the agent that you are meeting Stephenie Meyer? We
got picked up by a car service and were able to catch our first
glimpse of Vancouver. It was more amazing than I thought. The
cherry blossoms were in bloom and it added to the exciting
atmosphere. As we arrived to the Westin Grand Hotel on Robson
Street, the Rodeo Drive of Vancouver, we were able to settle in
quite nicely. Our room was a one bedroom suite on the 20th floor,
with massive windows overlooking the Coliseum style Vancouver
Public Library. The first place we ventured to was the library. It
really did look like the Roman Coliseum, and considering I love
history, specifically the Greeks and Romans, I found the library
entertaining. After a few hours on the computers to check Facebook
and email, we headed out to walk around. Finding a place for dinner
wasn't hard, especially if you have your nose in a map. So many
people stopped to help us with directions, I have never been in a
more friendly city. Not only are the people in Vancouver friendly
but, they are gorgeous! I know it may sound creepy but I wanted to
take loads of pictures to show my friends how pretty everyone was,
including the guys! When we finally decided on a place to eat, I
had to order dinner for us. We had decided to stop at an Indian
restaurant. I love Indian food but my grandma had yet to experience
the savory spices in Indian curry. She was hesitant at first but
she finally agreed to try it!
After dinner, we headed back to our hotel, but this time it was different. As the sun began to set, street performer crawled from the shadows to serenade the people passing by.
Our internal clocks were hours ahead of the time in Vancouver,
so we headed out pretty early. We left the hotel and walked to
Canada Place, down by the convention center on the water. We caught
the Vancouver Hop on Hop off Trolley. It was a nice, educational
way to see the city while still learning interesting things about
the culture. The 2010 Winter Olympics were held in Vancouver, many
of the buildings, statues, and landscaping is a reminder of how
much the Olympics impacts a city. At stop #23, Granville Island, we
jumped off to check out this quaint tourist destination. The only
souvenir that I was interested in finding was a carving by the
First Nations People of Canada. I found an intricate carving of a
wolf, with a hidden eagle, raven, and salmon hidden in the greater
picture. I think Jacob would approve! The second most exciting
thing on Granville island was the Marketplace. Comparable to Pike's
Place in Seattle, or the Wharf in San Francisco, fresh fruits and
veggies were sold as everyone was packed like a bunch of sardines
between the different stands.
We eventually realized that we had to get back, to get ready to meet the other winners for a dinner at 6pm. So, we hopped on the trolley and headed back to the hotel. My grandma had turned off her phone to avoid the international charges and we were surprised when we went down stairs for dinner. She had missed a call and email from Ames that the room for the dinner had been switched and pre warning us that Stephenie was joining us for dinner. We figured out that we were at the wrong place, and luckily the other room was right around the corner so we weren't too confused. It was easy to get around because all of the events happened to be in our hotel, so no problem there.
The dinner was so much fun! I got to meet the other winners and
I even got to talk to the publishers about the vast world of
publishing. The other winners were so fascinating, I had been to
Europe on a group tour but I had never experienced living there.
All of these people knew what it was like to live in a foreign
country. It was interesting to talk to them about their
interpretations of the books and the movies. The winner from
Mexico, Pamela, gave us all little trinkets. They were really cute!
A traditional Mexican doll, toy, a "boyfriend catcher", and a
hand-painted bookmark. Certainly the most remember able of all of
the other winners were Stefan and Jenny. Stefan had won the contest
so his wife, Jenny, could meet Stephenie Meyer. I thought it was
the sweetest thing he could have done. I wish I had a guy like
When we actually sat down to eat dinner, Stephenie sat at the first table and switched to the next table with each course. By the time it was dessert, she was sitting at our table! It was awesome! I really enjoyed talking to her, though my grandma was the one asking a lot of the questions. We had neat little brown bags sitting in front of our place settings from Stephenie herself. The publishers told us that she had picked the items inside out herself. The bag had two bath bombs, a head scarf, and lip scrub from Lush -my favorite store for soap-, a coin purse, stickers, and mints from Roots a Canadian clothing store, a fabric flower pin, some chocolate, and a hat for cold weather. I especially loved the necklace that she gave each one of the winners, it was in the shape of a puzzle piece! Plus, she wrote us personalized notes! Every single thing was something that I would have picked out for myself, how did she know? It might just be a girl thing, all of the items were pretty practical. After dinner, she said good night and we all headed up for bed. Tomorrow was going to be a big day! It was hard for me to fall asleep that night because I was so excited to have the chance to have a discussion with Stephanie the next day.
The next day I woke up early, showered, and got dressed. We
decided to go on a little walk to wake us up a little. The weather
in Vancouver was a little chilly, considering I live in Florida but
we walked up Robson St. to this little cream puff place called
Bearded Papa's. Their cream puffs are delicious, so I decided to
get a whole bunch of them for the other winners, publishers, and
Stephenie. We walked back to put the cream puffs in our hotel room,
we did not want to give them out yet because it was too early in
the morning for sweets, and we then made our way down stairs to the
luncheon that had been prepared for the winners and their guests.
The food was delicious but we decided to talk more than eat, as we
were all really nervous! I learned even more about the other
winners and what it is like to live in another country. While
exchanging information, we decided to also include which team we
are on, Edward or Jacob. It turns out, of the winners and their
guests that I exchanged email addresses with, eight were on team
Edward, three were on team Jacob, and one was on Team Alice. We can
share these types of memories forever and we had an interesting
discussion when we found out which team each of us supported. I,
personally, was one of the ones on Team Jacob.
Then, it was almost like a dream, they called us into the adjacent room. As we walked in I noticed that there were chairs lining the walls, for the guests to sit in, and there was a large circular table in the middle of the room. We each had assigned seats, our names and the country we came from were on slips of paper in front of where we were supposed to sit. I would have been happy sitting anywhere at the table but it was truly an honor to find out that my seat was right next to Stephenie's! I actually got to sit next to Stephenie Meyer! She entered the room after we were all situated and we took turns asking her questions. It was an amazing experience. We asked her everything from hypothetical theories to how she came up with the names for characters. She was very creative, as she explained possibilities for new books, and charming, as she answered the questions on a relatable level. It made me feel as if I was talking to an old friend that I had known for ages, or maybe a distant relative that I had not seen since I was young.
We took a break from the questions so all of the winners and their guests could go and grab their books. I grabbed the cream puffs and these bloodstones that we had picked up on Granville Island. I thought that giving the other winners a bloodstone would be fitting and who doesn't like food!
When we all got back to the room and were settled, Stephenie came back for another round of questioning. Again, we threw ourselves into these conversations and as she was explaining one thing we may have had a dozen more questions spring up in our minds but it was certainly fun!
I was upset when the publishers told us that we had to wrap up the questions, but I got to ask the last one! It was very exciting! After the last question, we all got together for a group photo of all of the winners, the guests, the publishers, and Stephenie. I'd actually never gotten any of my books signed, regardless of the author and to have my first every book signing with Stephenie Meyer was probably more than I could have ever asked for. I went last, but it felt like the time flew by. After a few marks of the sharpie (well, maybe not a few, I did get some books signed for my best friends) and a few pictures we were done and it was time to say goodbye to Stephenie. I thanked her over and over for the experience but also the inspiration that she had given me in that short amount of time.
After we all said our tearful goodbyes to Stephenie and she disappeared, we had one last meeting with all of the winners. Most of us decided that we did not want this weekend to end quite yet, so we organized to meet in a half of an hour to go out to eat at this family style Chinese restaurant. Some of the winners had to get up early so they couldn't join us but a lot of us went anyway. We all walked in a giant cluster to the restaurant, and squeezed our way through the door. They led us to a large section of the restaurant that was empty, except for us, and we decided to strike a deal. We would order an assortment of dishes and each pay twenty dollars, the restaurant readily agreed. One of the noodle chef's even came out to show us how to make noodles! The food was delicious, all of the flavors were crisp and yummy! But I think the best part was that I was sharing this meal with people who actually got to share the same amazing experience with me.
Sadly, all good things must come to an end. After many pictures and promises to stay in touch, we all grabbed our coats, paid the bill, and walked back to the hotel as a group. After arriving at the hotel and exchanging heart-felt goodbyes, we all decided to go back to our rooms because we were exhausted from all of the excitement!