branquignole: (harry potter: ravenclaw)
[personal profile] branquignole
This update, I admit, has been long overdue, but in my defense, I was very busy brewing potions! For lo and behold, I got my Pottermore welcome email! \o/ I'd been frantically checking my inbox all the time when it finally arrived on Saturday, and then I whizzed through The Philosopher's Stone in a few hours. I wish I had relished it a bit more because Chamber of Secrets isn't due to come out until some time early next year, and that is a really long wait. D: My username, for those of you also on Pottermore, is PumpkinMagic141, so when you get your email, friend me so we can have adventures together!

But anyway, on to the exciting stuff! The coolest thing about Pottermore is definitely that you get to buy a pet and a wand, and that you are Sorted. When I finally arrived in Diagon Alley, I first bought all of my first-year supplies, then went to buy a pet. I was considering buying a toad which resulted in a lot of fretting about the choice of my pet, and then I finally went with a Tawny Owl. Because owls are awesome and can carry post! Toads can... croak. I guess. Then I went to Ollivander's, which was the first time I got terribly nervous. There are a few questions you have to answer in order to determine what wand would be best for you, and I wanted to answer honestly. What I ended uo with is elm wood, with a phoenix feather core, 10 inches, hard. Mine is the shortest wand I've seen on Pottermore so far, but I love it to bits and I really really want to have it for reals. Elm wands prefer owners with presence, magical dexterity and a certain native dignity. (WHAT IS THIS, WAND, ARE YOU LIKE STUPID OR WHAT? HOW COULD YOU CHOOSE ME?) They are sophisticated wands and capable of highly advanced magic in the right hands. They are also known to produce the fewest accidents, the least foolish errors, and the most elegant charms and spells. On top of that, Phoenix feather wands are rare and picky and show the most initiative of all core types. I don't really know what I've done to deserve such a wand, but I am very happy with it. 

And after I bought my wand, ladies and gentlemen, I got Sorted. I was squeeing and flailing all over the place, and promptly answered the first question a bit too rashly, so that I had to go back and start over again. Getting Sorted is serious business, people. Don't take it lightly! I went through all of the questions with the utmost care, and when the Sorting Hat finally told me I belonged in Ravenclaw, I had a moment of denial and was all, "NO SHUT UP I'M A HUFFLEPUFF!" But then I started reading the welcome message for Ravenclaws and realised that yes, that was exactly where I was meant to be, in this ridiculous House of swots and over-achievers who think that everybody who is awesome must have been a Ravenclaw, and that everybody else is quite nice, BUT WE ARE STILL THE SMARTEST PEOPLE IN DA HOUSE. Because let's face it, I do tend to be a little smug about being good at things, and I sometimes think myself above others because of my intelligence (even though I'm clearly not the smartest person around; far from it, actually). Plus, I enjoy learning and reading a lot, which I realise is not something exclusive to Ravenclaws and does not make you a Ravenclaw by default, but I think it makes me fit in. I'm so in love with my House. Our Common Room is a place of people encouraging each other to keep brewing potions so we can win the House Cup, of potion brewing advice and of small riddles. God, this is the place I've been wanting to be all my life without knowing.

On a completely unrelated note, my aunt and uncle came to Germany for my uncle's birthday, and I got to meet them right before I departed for Manchester. My aunt is the loveliest person; she brought me delicious tea and also invited me to come stay with them again whenever, which means that I'll be going to London again after I passed my Abitur. That should be some time in March or April (but not any later probably, because I'll be doing a work placement or some such thing), whenever flights are the least expensive or whenever is most convenient for people to meet up! What say you? What month should I come to London, lovely people of the UK?

So, Manchester! We were supposed to go to Manchester August 14-19 on a schooltrip, but what with all of the riots, we didn't know whether the trip would be cancelled until the day before our departure. I'm glad we ended up going, because otherwise we would have been the only class that hadn't been on a graduation trip, and that would have sucked masses. Unfortunately, though, we had to cancel a lot of the things we were going to do in England, but it was worth it. 

We actually spent two of those days travelling, because we went to Rotterdam by coach, which took us about seven hours, and then got on a ferry that was going to take us to Hull. I love the ferry, guys. *___* I was so afraid I was going to get sea-sick (which actually happened on the return journey and was incredibly unpleasant), but there was next to no wind and sea motion, so I felt splendid. That was the first occasion on which we could speak English, and boy I didn't recognise myself. I just started talking to random people because I wanted to speak English so badly. Fortunately, the Filipino baristas at the Costa's were major flirts and indulged me a lot. :D It was awesome. 

On our first day in England, we went to Liverpool, which we'd first thought about skipping because of the riots. As a result of that, there was nothing much to do but wander around the quays and then get something to eat, but it was pretty nice nonetheless. We went to three different candy shops, I think, and in one of the displays, we saw this jellybean artwork:

We also went to the Tate Liverpool, but that was when we only had about half an hour left. We really regretted not having gone there earlier because the exhibition was amazing. I don't remember exactly what it was called, but it was something about the physical aspects of modern art, and though some of the stuff just left you wondering why the hell someone would suspend a basketball in an aquarium full of some gel-like substance, other stuff was just downright brilliant. Man, I enjoy looking at art so much. *___* There was a jerk with us though who kept going on about how he could have made something like that himself and that this wasn't art and that was stupid, and he just annoyed the shit out of me. Seriously, how can you look at something like this and not think it's awesome?

Sorry for the blurry picture. ): Also, surprise child! What you unfortunately can't see very well on this picture is that this sculpture is not affixed to the ceiling in any way and looks as though it's floating in mid-air, while it's actually supported by very slim pads that are hidden by the strings. AWESOME, RIGHT?

The next day, we spent in Manchester. We went to the Old Trafford Stadium where we got a guided tour which was actually quite interesting, in spite of the fact that I really don't know the first thing about football. Our tour guide was the very definition of British, and he also tried talking to our coach driver who doesn't speak a word of English but understands bits and pieces, and kept nodding along and saying "Stimmt, richtig, richtig" in a broad German dialect. In the afternoon, we visited the MOSI (how adorable is that? It's the abbreviation for Museum of Science and Industry.), and then, after my pleading with my teacher for a long time, he took us to the Chetham Library. There were lots of very old books! It wasn't nearly as interesting as the British Library to be honest, mostly due to the fact that all of the books were locked away on their shelves and none were on display, which was a bit unfortunate, but who cares. (:

On Wednesday, we went to Chester, which is a very gorgeous city. I think it was the nicest we visited, great for just wandering about and admiring the architecture etc. We saw masses of squirrels in the park. I've never seen so many squirrels in my life. York was kind of an anti-climax compared to Chester, and though we'd originally planned on visiting the Minster, the admission fee was about £10, which we couldn't afford. So we were left to ourselves again until we had to get back to the coach which would drive us to Hull. We spent the afternoon trying to find a place to eat, and when we finally found what we though was a snug Mexican restaurant, we decided on that one. It turned out it was a fair trade restaurant that only offered extremely weird menu choices and no single platters (apart from soup). We were a bit weirded out but since we'd already sat down and everything, we thought it would be a little rude to leave, so I ordered some seaweed fritters with vegetables and some kind of spicy sauce, which was actually pretty good. 

And then we went back to Germany and I got sea-sick and blergh, but on the whole we had a really good time even though it was kind of an uneventful week. I can't wait to go back to England. (:

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