Walking away from the Wizarding World…

Tomorrow will mark two weeks since I typed my resignation letter. At the time, I couldn’t figure out what to do or what to say. I had to google my way to writing my “magical ending.” As I was writing, I could feel an empty void starting to overtake the earlier excitement of my new adventure. I didn’t let it win though. I finished my letter and mentally processed that leaving was the right thing to do. It was the opportunity I had been searching for.

I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling that way though. After all, I’d completed over a hundred job applications and when I received a phone call with an offer, I was literally jumping as high as I could, in the middle of the street, with tears in the corner of my eyes, feeling incredibly grateful, and smiling from ear to ear. So why was I sad?

Well, in a couple of minutes, my path had changed. The two years I had spent in a world filled with magic and wonder was coming to an end. It was the nostalgia of knowing I had the opportunity to become part of two families, so uniquely different, but amazing all the same.

To give you a bit of background, I started out as seasonal in May 2013. At the time, I was trying to finish school. I initially applied because I wanted to work somewhere where I actually felt happy. I was tired of feeling sad and like I didn’t belong, after all, my previous job was in the food and beverage industry and it was nowhere close to my dream. I mean (to be honest), I don’t even like food that much! And sitting people to eat doesn’t give you that many opportunities towards learning about other perspectives.

In the midst of all my front-line position search, I saw an opening for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Hogsmeade), so I applied. And then, I waited. Scared of what to expect.

A couple of minutes later passed by, and I was happily alarmed by my computer that I received an email. It requested me to set up a time to go in and interview! I was so excited. I scheduled it for the next day. I thanked God. I told my fiancé. And had an insanely hard time trying to fall asleep, while thinking of everything Potter related.

This was literally a dream come true. So when I woke up in the morning for my 10:30a.m. interview, I watched videos on Youtube to become better informed of what the WWoHP consisted of. I was even more excited. It all seemed surreal. I had been staring at posters of the Wizarding World for years yearning to be able to afford to go. I wanted to go visit, and the idea of working there was simply dreamy. I wanted to be part of it. Not just experience it.

When I went in, I interviewed with Wes. He started asking me general interview questions, and I could feel his reservation towards allowing me to work at Potter. He even asked me how I would feel about working in other areas. And I kind of just shrugged, felt sweat running across my forehead, and answered “I guess it would be okay, I mean I need a job, but I really really want to be in Potter. That’s why I applied directly for it.” (or something along those lines)

At that point, I was convinced he wasn’t going to let me through the next phase based on his body language and tone. Then he stepped out. I waited patiently in my little cubby for a couple of minutes. When suddenly, he surprised me and told me he was going to go ahead and allow me to interview with Potter management.

I was so happy. I thanked him (more than once). And continued walking towards the waiting area. I was sweating so badly. It was not my cutest moment to say the least. I was just a nervous wreck. I tried to calm myself down, watched Transformers, until suddenly they called me over with a group of people.

They walked us over to a new building and had us in a room waiting for managers to come out and meet us. I sat there watching the Goblet of Fire. Watching everyone in my group be called forward to speak with managers. I was scared. All I could think of was that there wasn’t going to be another open spot for me.

Finally, it was my turn. A friendly face came around the corner calling out my name. I followed her to a room filled with tables, sat across from her, and so the questions began. It wasn’t a stressful process per say, but my anxiety was making my brain jump everywhere. I was so nervous. I even forgot one of the four houses of Hogwarts! It was crazy. I couldn’t believe myself. I was sure I had failed. And yet somehow, I passed the interview and she told me I’d be a good fit for Honeydukes. I didn’t know what it meant other than it was a candy store. I was happy though. It became my home for the next 10 months, until it was time to transfer to Diagon Alley.

At that point, my original crew had already moved on to different roles, so there were very few individuals left for me to miss. And being seasonal, the wide gaps of time didn’t seem all that strange at all. Yes, I would try and pick up shifts between seasons but it’s not the same as the large periods of time I spent with them during the summer season.

My time at Honeydukes was fun, silly, and sweet (literally). The store smelled like all the different candy flavors mixed together. Describing earwax, sausage, vomit flavors, strawberry potions that explode in your mouth, frogs that might jump out at you, were some of some the most unique things I’ve ever had to reference to in my life. And I know without a doubt, these things will most likely never be part of me again. They will remain in my memories as I watched families laugh, squirm in disgust, or bond with me over the fun that the candy provided. And let’s not forget the amazing individuals whose faces made me smile on a daily basis or when I see them as we cross path in wardrobe.

Now, it’s been over a year of being part of a team that opened Diagon Alley, though. My home during its opening was Gringotts Money Exchange. My role included working along a goblin, watching the muggles squirm at his piercing eyes, making fun at his teeth, or appreciating his overall personality. Having to explain to wizards and witches that magical beings are real was always a challenge though. No, he is not a robot. No, there is no one under him. Sir is real. He is a goblin. Deal with it.

Yes, you have muggle plastic. You are visiting from the muggle world. The Wizarding World doesn’t use any of those magically sealed plastic rectangle things. We use Galleons, Sickles, and Knuts. Or Gringotts Bank Notes, of course, but that’s a whole different subject. Not to sound like I’ve become overly efficiency focused like Sir, but you know, spending countless of hours with a goblin has to have some sort of effect on you, no?

I’ve spent more time learning about writing utensils though as Scribbulus became my favorite place to be after I became full-time. Having the opportunity to explain the varieties of self-inking quills, dipping quills, parchment, journals, and ink options has been fun and quirky as muggles stand there confused at the many options we offer. Without forgetting, of course, the many colors my hands turned on a day to day basis as I rescued muggles whose desire to open ink containers was far too great for them to contain themselves.

Part of these muggle/goblin interactions will be what I will miss the most. After all, I’ve come to acknowledge that the power of the Wizarding World to unite individuals is unmeasurable. This magical world distorts concepts of language and cultures. It sorts people into houses allowing them to focus on what’s similar. Even the most skeptical do a double take on making fun of others as they begin to understand some of the magic the Wizarding World has to offer. This open viewpoint and understanding towards individuals as humans is the most charming idea presented by this amazing world.

And on a not so analytical side, things begin to get more mushy as we start to ponder on the relationships I’ve built with the many witches and wizards I’ve had the fortune to work with. From all the crazy, fun, and once-in-a-lifetime preparations we went through, to the memories we share, it will be extremely challenging to be part of anything remotely as special again in my lifetime.

The excitement of speaking, laughing, or even seeing the actors who took part of the films and getting to understand them as human beings was simply amazing. Being able to relate to them without thinking of them as witches or wizards from the films, but humans, became one of the most cherished memories of my life. The amount of admiration I have for these individuals is unmeasurable and the happiness I feel to have been able to speak to them without fan-girling is quite a feat.

Then again, the amount of memories I cherish with my fellow team members is unreal. Our connection went beyond our favorite quidditch team at Hogwarts or daily muggle mishaps. Instead, their distinct personalities made those small moments we generally take for granted occur.

I will forever remember sneaking behind Jess to scare her with the Monster Book of Monsters, walking in midway into random conversations (courtesy of Alex), hearing Ilya’s puns, making silly faces to Sydney, deciphering Justin’s sarcasm, rejoicing over a quiet lunch with Taylor, folding my fingers in peace sign form to say hi to Chris, watching Danny’s dance performance along to Celestina, bonding with Rafael over our appreciation of old school music, receiving Bre’s cute stickers on my recognition items, listening to Michele fan-girl over One Direction, rejoicing at Morgan’s eagerness to learn, talking to Jessica about her favorite time lord, reminiscing over Bryan’s comforting hug, watching Vangeli fist-bump MBM (R.I.P),  finger-locking with Krystal, hugging Jenna at random periods of time, hearing Meghan’s “oh Jesus,” being reminded of my luscious hair by Harry, helping Barbarah embrace her house loyalty, seeing Cindy’s and Rodney’s face every time I brought back overstock, gaining sisters (Deanna and Megan), and simply being accepted as part of the family. The work family. ❤

So as my journey ends, I have nothing more to say to Universal but: thank you. Thank you for the amazing opportunity you gave me to fulfill my dream and meet individuals who made my heart rejoice.

These are not my only memories, but simply some of the countless of times where I couldn’t help but giggle and smile. I learned to cherish these individuals for their honesty, silliness, and happiness (or lack there of).

So as a wise and lovely wizard once said, “it is not goodbye, it’s farewell.”

You shall forever be part of my heart.

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