|It's hard to see Aoife in this one, so look down further.|
Waking up wasn't as bad as I thought it might be. We had agreed to get to the train for 8.15 (later than usual, but I wasn't being judged any more so I didn't really care). Dad woke me up just in time so I only got a few bites of cereal but whatever, MOR had given me money to buy food.
God, it's hard to remember yesterday.
We got onto the train and, to my delight, Patsy was there! It was so good to see her, she's lovely. She doesn't usually visit the Exhibition but said she did this year because she's had such good vibes with us.
I wasn't nervous on the train up, which was nice. I wasn't exactly happy either, though. I use too many commas. I bought a demibaguette and Pinballs in Centra and we got in around half nine, maybe a bit later.
The first thing I did was check if Kay was at his stand, because of the way the conversation ended the night before. He wasn't, so I took advantage of my newfound freedom to explore some of the other stands. I stayed and chatted for ages to Eve Casey at her and her friend Cathy's cane vs. beet sugar project. I recognised Eve from winning one of the big prizes last year but she looked friendly so we talked. She also gave a demonstration of her speech, which was cool. She has a funny accent. She's from Kinsale (the school that wins everything but isn't hated as much as Synge Street) so it was nice to see the human side. Some others came around too, including that guy Anna was with at Sentinus last year, whose name I can't remember. Was also talking to a guy from Kinsale who entered last year and got in even with his yellow lanyard, though I think he did insist on paying.
Anyway, they were really cool.
A while after that I went back to my stand and found Jerry. Well, spotted him out of the corner of my eye and was so excited, it'd been so long since I'd seen him. I ran over and hugged him and yay it was great. I'd missed him. He said I was the most annoying friend to get to and that he could get to London faster but whatever, shut up. He gave me my Christmas presents (I forgot to bring his, shit), a badly-needed laptop battery and a selection box. I just adore him oh my god. We chatted and wandered for a bit. He is so great.
A while later, Kate and Éle arrived and said hey and congrats and stuff. They disappeared shortly afterwards though. Kay still hadn't arrived. Then, in short succession, Ciarán, Seán, Paddy, Owen and Kevin (other Kevin) arrived. It was great, just this gang of boys. It was cool having Kate and Éle see that. I also kinda choked Paddy hugging him, though I don't think Ciarán was as choked. Seán is weird about hugs but consented. We messed around and had a fabulous time, though they had to move whenever a visitor came up to my stand and wanted to talk to me about the project. Now that I think of it, it might've been better to put them over at Brap girl's stand since she was moved.
I also talked to Aoife a bit. She's cool. Kevin was there and of course immediately started flirting with Aoife. He's an astonishingly fast operator; I think they kissed by the end of the day.
I was so happy seeing all of them. I wasn't expecting to see Paddy but it was just really great to see Seán and Ciarán. Why do both of their names have fadas? Damnit.
I didn't get my report book back for ages so I thought I might be getting a good comment, but then I got it back and had none. I was raging so went to MOR and she went looking for an explanation. Eventually a Judge came back and apologised, saying that during the category change my project was just "left between stools" so basically forgotten about. He went off and got Tony Scott to sign it, which was nice, but still so unfair that the category change ruined it.
Eventually Kay arrived and I tried to talk to him but he was avoiding me (or must have been, because he wouldn't talk). I'm not sure what I wanted to say; Moya was annoyed at him so I probably should've given out, but I just wanted to make a stand of some sort. I tried to get all the boys to intimidatingly stare at his display but they wouldn't, sadly.
He talked a little to me later and we hugged goodbye, which was nice. He's a great hugger. Plus that blazer, oomph. Pity he lives in Cork. We did get to have a wonderfully candid talk over text on the train home, though. I love moments like that. The battery Jerry gave me was excellent - I didn't have to have my laptop plugged in at all times!
Definitely got to replenish my hug tank yesterday. What a weird way to put it.
Quite a few members of the public came over. One was a paediatric oncologist, who talked about some of the kids she'd taken care of dying of brain cancer. Another man came over and said he was interested in my project because he himself had Glioblastoma Multiforme. They were both nice but it was terrifying, and not great for the imposter syndrome.
Grainne Allen came over to say hi and stayed for the rest of the day, pretty much. Paddy and Owen left pretty early, and Ariana arrived. Her and Jerry were very affectionate, which was ... interesting.
I bought four packets of crisps (2 Salt & Vinegar, 2 Cheese & Onion) again and tried to share them out, but no one really wanted them. I gave one to Sinéad Mulvihill. Oh yeah, Ms. Mulvihill, her daughter, Mr. Coone, his son, Mr. Conway and probably others from the school came and said congrats. I felt awful because the €150 I got from third in category didn't repay the €600 my principal had spent on me (plus train tickets), but she didn't bring it up thankfully.
I hugged Aoife Gregg and her mam came over saying I'd been robbed and that the project would get valued more highly somewhere else, which was nice. The Kinsale people I'd been speaking to earlier said at least I didn't let Synge Street win another whole category. Small consolation, but definitely something.
Jerry helped me take down my board as the end of the exhibition neared, and we had a group hug as Ciarán, Seán and Kevin had to leave. It was sad. MOR came over when nearly everyone had left and gave out to me for apparently not respecting my school, because my friends were scaring off people who'd paid to come look at the stands. Well, my friends paid in, so there. I talked to anyone who asked about the project, and I'd been there stuck to my stand for three days already. Hey, at least I was at my stand most of the time; most people weren't.
Órla's mam took my board and folders in her car, and I told MOR Jerry would get me to the train so that she'd let me be. Jerry and I got lost a bit on the way to Lansdowne because I was the one leading the way, but it was really nice. I'm so glad he's around. He even got the Dart with me to Pearse before hugging goodbye.
Talking to Kay kept me occupied on the train. I love DMCs. Then I was home to Dad and yeah. I was really, really upset that it was over. A year of work and then this. Gone out with a whimper, kinda.
I did make friends, and I had a wonderful time with friends on Saturday. But.
C'est la vie.