My Diary #125

Dear Tigey,

Finally this terrible year is over. Let’s stumble across the finish line together, shall we?

Entry #125 (Dec 31 2023)

Table of Contents

Wrapping up the year’s…
ට  Life
ට  Games
ට  Plushie of the Week #121
ට  Song of the Week #98
ට  Writing Prompt of the Week #41
ට  Memory Snippet of the Week #105
ට  Dreams

Life

Airline ticket news! I.. amazingly found the old ticket stubs for my Cathay Pacific flights to and from Hong Kong in July 1996, for the ACPMC event which I did a writeup for a couple of weeks ago, so I added them to that page. Hurrah.

I didn’t buy my Singapore tickets this week, although I came very close — I was on the checkout page for a flight from LA to Singapore that would have cost about $570 Canadian, through Xiamen Airlines, and could have paired that with a $180 to $210 ticket from Edmonton to LA for a flight to Singapore at under $800. I chickened out at the last minute though, and it was later sold out. I’m still getting some bad vibes from committing to this trip right now. Maybe later this year. I did see those LA to Singapore tickets go on sale for like $422 for June too, which would make it well under $700 from here in Edmonton, and that was very tempting, but that felt too far out to make a call on.

In lieu of that, my big purchase this week was a WD Easystore 18 TB external drive (local) from Best Buy, this set me back $315 or so after taxes but is usually a $550ish purchase, so that was a good Boxing Day deal. $17.50 (CAD) per TB after tax is a very good deal (local) in the current market. The deal apparently was around before Christmas, extended itself past Boxing Day, but had been intermittedly out of stock due to high demand. I did catch it when it came back on the 28th though, and got a shipping notice the next day, on the 29th.

My current external hard drive is a WD Elements 12 TB, which I picked up in January of 2020 for $230 USD from the US version of Amazon (that was a good deal back then!), and this should be a nice big upgrade — not that I’m getting rid of the old one, as that one also feels fairly new, and is acting perfectly fine, but I will eventually need several to set up a robust data storage and backup system anyway. Has it really been 3 years? Over a year before I started blogging? Wow. Apparently from what I’ve read online, the difference between the WD Elements and the WD Easystore is that the Easystore is Best Buy’s in-house custom WD brand, with just the outside storage enclosure for the drive changed slightly so that consumers cannot price match it with other companies’ WD Elements sales that happen to be going on. Interesting. Capitalism ho!

I already back up all my stuff to Backblaze, an online cloud backup system, so I’m going to take what I have (which has almost filled up the 12 TB drive) and split it between the two based on some as yet undetermined criteria, and then I should have plenty of space to store my totally absolutely crucially important stuff again.

I noticed that my heating vents were not working on Wednesday, even though it had been working the day before and I had just replaced the batteries recently. I had noticed at points in this (very mild) winter that it wasn’t turning on when it should have either, so this wasn’t the first time, but I wasn’t sure why. Anyway, I filed a maintenance report with the apartment that night and they sent a maintenance staff member over to fix it nice and late Thursday morning. He ended up replacing the entire thermostat:

So that thing seems to work now. Although my rental contract mentioned heating filters that needed to be replaced, it didn’t seem like that was a thing because the heat in this apartment just comes in via some pipes that run along the outside wall of my apartment, and he confirmed that there were no filters to change or anything like that for my apartment. Also, when I mentioned that I had a leaky shower head, he gallantly went and replaced that too:

So that was nice. His name was John, and I found out that he was a Malaysian Chinese working here, and we exchanged about 20-30 minutes of nice conversation while he did his handyman work. I did remember him from a previous conversation, though he didn’t seem to remember me. He was nice though and I sent the rental office an email of appreciation for him afterwards. I realized that he took my new batteries with him though, and probably threw them out together with the old thermostat. Doh.

While seeing him out of my apartment, I noticed a distressing sign on the laundry door in the hallway, announcing a laundry machine price hike again:

The prices haven’t actually risen yet though, they’re still $2.50 a load for both the washer and dryer, but I’m not happy about this, another sign of the looming economic meltdown/depression that I can feel is coming.

Last year’s New Year’s Resolution was to eat bread at least once every 7 days, and I more or less kept to that:

There was one type of bread (the baos, or steamed buns, from the nearby Chinese shop that I like) that I didn’t count because, well, I realized partway through that I hadn’t counted them so I just continued not counting them for the rest of the year. Anyway this was largely just a checklist sort of resolution and got annoying to do by September or so. That’s just the way resolutions turn out sometimes, like one I had a couple years ago to do Duolingo every day and get a 365-day streak.

For this upcoming year, my main resolution will be to complete my Dream Diary blog page and catch it up to within 1 month of “live”, or whatever the current month is. It’s currently mired in the bog of history, more specifically at July 2017 as of this blog post, and even though I’d set it as something to work on occasionally, I feel like I’ve actually lost ground in the past year (i.e. added less than 12 months of backlog in the past 12 months) because of how infrequently I work on that part of the blog. Partly because a lot of my earlier entries require some level of rewrite too since I seldom used complete sentences back then, and partly because many new entries need to be added to the hovering text plugin that I use as I import in new months. Each month in the current part of the dream diary that I am at can take about an hour to import.

There’s other secondary blog- and scanning-related goals I’d like to work on too, but I doubt I’d have time to do them all. Plus it’s hard to quantify some of that stuff. Uploading my ad scans to my Internet Archive page and having that catch up to live would be nice too. I did eradicate my backlog of ads to scan *and* maintain a scanning pace this year to keep my backlog of mailbox ads to scan at zero though, but my uploading of those ads to the Internet Archive is about a year behind. It’s not as important though. I’d also like to decide what to do with my Collection of Things pages, make sub Table of Contents pages for my weekly blog segments (like Plushie of the Week, etc), figure out if there’s a way I can redesign my blog to remove some of the plugins that I use but don’t really like, and so on. And other goals that will surely arise.

I haven’t gotten the flu (or COVID) this entire year, and I think not really at all, or maybe once, since the COVID-19 pandemic started three years ago. Even though I went to the hospital a bunch to visit Mom. Making it a habit to wash my hands everytime I step back into the house, even if I only went out to the laundry room or mailbox, apparently helps a lot. I never did that pre-pandemic.

The weather was great this Christmas season — at one point on Dec 28 the temperature went up to +8 degrees Celsius. I had the balcony door wide open. Looking at last year’s post at this time, it looks like we were dealing with -35 to -45 degrees Celsius temperatures then. Yucks. Thank goodness my thermostat didn’t break last year. Now that it’s fully working again, my apartment is too warm.

Regarding my upstairs neighbours, after our war last weekend they seem to have somewhat hmm.. faded away, so I’ve softened my knocking stance a bit as well. On Dec 24 and 25 they were really noisy, like they were having a party, but since it was the Christmas period I didn’t really want to disturb them either, so I turned up my music high and largely ignored them, except for some knocks between 10pm and 1am or so when they were scraping furniture around instead of going to sleep like normal humans. On Dec 26, they were REALLY quiet — it seemed like they were out all day and only came home very late. I was hoping against hope that they had moved out or something, but no such luck. It’s odd how I can basically tell their schedule and whether they’re home or not by whether I can hear a constant barrage of noise or not.

The rest of the week there were still noises, but it feels less than usual, about half their usual amount, and it’s been a breath of fresh air. I don’t know if it’s because I’m hitting the ceiling more softly on average when they’re being noisy (I know they can still hear me though) or if they’ve just given up, but they haven’t retaliated and we haven’t had outright fights since last weekend, nor have they had fights with each other. I do still poke at the ceiling now and then when they’re making too much noise in a short period of time, but I haven’t had to too much, and I feel like one of the two people might no longer be staying there, and I also feel guilty to say that I’m happy about that suspicion, even if it turns out to be a delusion of mine. Or maybe one is just away for the holiday season. They still need to move out entirely though. No forgiveness is forthcoming. They’ll probably become the usual levels of noisy again next week, knowing my luck.

Also, on Wednesday, I went down to the bank and made a preliminary appointment to talk to a financial or mortgage advisor next Wednesday in order to see if I can figure out what sort of budget I would be looking at if I were going to buy a house. So that’s something to look forward to next week, hopefully.

Games

The Steam Winter Sale 2023 was in full swing this week, and I finally picked up a few games after some research — Hades, Battle Brothers, This Merchant Life, and Talented. The latter two were cheap and interesting-looking and looked like good games to look at for future game programming projects, while the first two were well-acclaimed and recommended games that seemed up my alley. I’ve played them all at least a little bit since. Battle Brothers probably requires me to look up more gameplay videos because it’s somewhat deep and complicated. Kind of like Kenshi last week. Talented is really fun for $2. This Merchant Life is buggy, but I want to make a merchant game anyway so it’s research. Hades was recommended by Jah and others, and I’ve played about ten runs of it so far. it’s okay. Not spectacular yet, but it’s solid, and I’ve liked many of the developer’s other games that I’ve tried.

I also played some amount of Kenshi earlier in the week, although I reached a point where I had the trappings of a big base built but everything took a little too much management for me to stomach. And there’s weird non-features like a tavern never gets new visitors or mercenaries to hire unless you save the game and reimport the game, which preserves your current character and army and base and faction relations and everything, but regenerates all the NPCs again, which feels like cheating, and also often causes duplicate characters to show up.

There’s still several games on the maybe list that I will probably think about picking up nearer the end of the sale. We’ll see though.

Satinel and I split some evening time between Star Wars: The Old Republic and Streets of Rogue this week. We’ve finished the 4th planet in SWTOR and started the 5th one now, and are going at a somewhat slower pace than before.

Plushie of the Week #121 – 2023 Group Picture

I renamed last year’s 2023 Group Picture to 2022 Group Picture instead, because it probably makes more sense to name it after the year that just ended instead of the year that is about to begin. So this is this year’s 2023 plushie group mugshot, displaying all the plushies I seem to have on hand with me and that have stayed with me through all the ups and downs of this mostly disappointing year. Although there were several good parts of the year too. like RSJP and meeting Zian. I hope 2024 does a lot better though. Between the trifecta of studying abroad (and my subsequent make-up trip) being cancelled, Mom‘s stroke, and noisy neighbours, this year really kind of sucked overall.

Similarly, hopefully I make more new plushie friends next year. This year, I made five, four of them from my trip to Japan (and featured in My Diary #098, #099, #100, and #101). The other one is from November, and was featured in My Diary #117.

Here’s the group picture for the year. I should probably have used my phone to take a high rez version of the picture too since it has the super camera on it, but eh, the animals are already back in their little cubby hole behind the bed instead of on it. It’s too much effort to bring them all up again. Maybe next year.

I do not have a plushie collecting problem. Maybe they can sit on the bed and I can sleep on the floor though.

Song of the Week #98

Title: Hana ni natte
Artist: Ryokuoushoku Shakai
Album: Kusuriya no Hitorigoto OST (2023)

As the Fall 2023 anime season rolls to an end, I wanted to highlight my favourite song of the season, Hana ni natte (Be a Flower), the opening song from the The Apothecary Diaries anime. That show technically isn’t over yet, it’s a two-cour show and so will be continuing into the Winter anime season, but I have no idea at this point if it will get replaced by a new OP or if they will be keeping it. (Edit: It got replaced! Rude.)

At any rate, I love the “power” behind the vocals in this song, and the easy hook of the song’s title, which is repeated a couple of times in the lyrics and easy to make out even if the rest of the lyrics might be harder to figure out. It translates by itself to “become a flower” or “becoming a flower”, but due to the way Japanese grammar works, the te- form of a word is a loose ending that can be attached to various things that change the meaning of the previous sentence segment, and I always think of this more as “becoming a flower” (hana ni natteiru) or “I want to become a flower” (hana ni natte hoshii). In that vein, it becomes more of an inspirational song to strive to do your best, and I like it for that.

The song is very popular in the anime fandom in general, and there are lots of interesting versions of it around the Internet already, like this City Pop version. The official version, linked below, has them fighting over the last potsticker in a seedy Chinese restaurant, which is funny.

Writing Prompt of the Week #41

This week’s writing prompt reads:

“Did you have a childhood nemesis? Write about that dynamic. If you didn’t, write about someone who made you feel uncomfortable.”

I don’t think I had anyone that really fell into a nemesis category, or even in the category of someone that made me feel uncomfortable. The closest that sprang to mind was either Yingjun from Peiying, my Primary 1-3 school, that I briefly spoke about here, but that was mostly a gym-time rivalry and super minor at that. Or maybe some of my math competition rivals, but I wasn’t ever unfriendly with any of them, we all both won and lost to each other on a regular basis and there was never any bad blood between us, both in Singapore and in Canada.

I didn’t really dislike any classmates until I hit Vernon Barford in Grade 9, after we moved to Canada, but that was probably partly because I had trouble adjusting to the Canadian way of life and felt like many of them weren’t serious enough. I also only spent half a year with them anyway. I’ve also written about them already too, over here.

He didn’t make me uncomfortable, but when I was in Rosyth in Primary 4 or 5, I had a senior from the GEP class cohort one year older than us who I got into a rival relationship with somehow, whereby whenever we saw each other he would try to chase me and I would try to run away from him, up and down stairs and around the central courtyard and along corridors and such. I don’t really remember why, nor do I remember ever being caught or not caught in any meaningful way, usually he’d just give up after a bit and go do something else. I don’t even remember who it was any longer, just that it was some guy whose name I knew at the time and who I had talked to a little bit. Apparently I didn’t remember this snippet when writing my Memories of Rosyth memory snippet writeup though, so it’s here now.

Memory Snippet of the Week #105

One of the things I scanned and uploaded last week, but didn’t talk about back then, was this newsletter from a secondary school in Singapore called The Chinese High School. The newsletter itself is called Hua Zhong Highlights (or possibly Hwa Zhong Highlights, the font is slightly ambiguous). I uploaded a followup document this week, and have a couple other things I wanted to dump here. I have no intention of making a full page for this one like for the ACPMC because I don’t have specific memories for this event, so this memory snippet will have to do.

I was never a part of this secondary school — the newsletter itself dates from August 1996, and I was still in Primary 6 then, in Rosyth School. However, apparently we randomly picked up and preserved a copy of this newsletter anyway because the school was sponsoring the Singapore Mathematical Olympiad for Primary Schools that year, in 1996, and we had gone over there for the awards ceremony. The relevant page in my uploaded newsletter, courtesy of archive.org, is here:

I finished second in the country, and all five of us who were involved in ACPMC all placed in the top 10 here in this tournament too. I also uploaded the programme guide for the awards ceremony this week:

That’s the outer and inner page of the programme/guide, and a nice cover wrapper that the programme was wrapped in. There was a red cord around it that I took off for the scan.

There were also a couple other things that I didn’t want to upload to archive.org because they probably aren’t as historically interesting, but they were mildly interesting to me anyway, so they belong here on my blog.

Firstly, I also received an invitation to the event that The Chinese High School sent to our parent school, Rosyth, which was pasted on another fancy card:

And I actually earned some prize money from this event, which was rare, at least apparently rare enough that we kept not only a copy of the cheque (after cashing it in), but even the envelope that it came in:

I apparently earned $200 SGD from this!

Dreams
Dec 26 2023
  • I was playing an MMO that seemed like a mix between LotRO and Guild Wars 2. I ventured into a zone with a guild announcement that I was going to go try to get a quest achievement and whoever wanted to join could feel free to come along. A couple others did — Kel, Anaden, and one other person who was online. Naveras was also online and I considered inviting her as an olive branch even though I didn’t care for her, but decided not to bother as she probably already had it on her main character anyway.
  • The zone we went to was an underground sewers zone connected to a snowy carpark. The achievement I was after was a two-parter, the first part to kill a regular normal monster, and the second to kill a giant boss with an 8-letter name, something close to Ragnarok, that would spawn as a weakling humanoid and then turn into the boss once killed. It was a 12-person raid but the zone wasn’t at level cap so there were likely some other overlevelled players in there. I was a healer and we had a LotRO guardian tank too, and I also had a lowbie tank as an alt these days so I wanted to watch what he did to learn tips and tricks from him.
  • We killed the first mob in quick order, and then found a large group of 50 or so people gathered in a room near where the boss mob spawned. There was a raid leader organizing an impromptu public duel event there, along with several duel teams, several loose audience members who had wandered by, and a few helpers standing outside pointing people into the room. We decided to join the audience and watch. I commented that public events could be very neat and unique, and used to be common on our old LotRO server too, so we may as well watch while waiting.
  • The first duel started with a guy seated near us in the front row being selected. He looked across the front row for his opponent and almost picked Kel, who was trying to hide behind Anaden, as an opponent, but picked a girl next to her instead. She didn’t have a weapon and asked if she could borrow mine. I was carrying a heavy saucepan with a broomstick handle that had basically snapped off and was only very flimsily attached still, so I fully removed the handle and offered it to her. She accepted. The host asked if it was clean, which in this context was defined as whether it ever touched my toothbrush or not. I said it never went near my toothbrush. So the host approved it.
  • After the first duel was over, which the girl won, the weakling boss monster spawned. He had a weird face that looked like Mr Bean but was stuck in a tilted head pose. Kel cooed over it as she had never seen the boss before, and we reached out to pat and touch it, to ensure that we tagged the monster. Then because it was a loose, weak mob in a raid of 50 random people that were here for duels one way or another, people attacked it and it transformed into the giant, and everyone swarmed it and it died in seconds. The raid leader tried to calm the group down by saying over the announcement system that it was pointless to attack it, the raid was over power level 50 and the boss giant was barely 10 or 15, but it was long dead before he even finished speaking.
  • Once things settled down, we planned to leave but I hung behind to watch one more match. This match was between two groups of girls, each one representing a secondary school. One of the girls mentioned something about 5th year being as difficult as the old Pre-University system and possibly even more so, so this sounded like a Singapore school.
  • The raid leader made a rules announcement and said that instead of fighting at the same time, both teams would get to channel their spells and do an attack chain uninterrupted on the other team to see who could do the most damage. He said that it was okay to go slightly over one round, but little cards automatically popped up next to the duellists’ shoulders to announce the start of each person’s attack round in a turn-based sort of fashion based on however many attacks they took, and if he saw a Round 3 notification pop up by anyone then that team would immediately be disqualified.
  • Both teams had around 6 girls each. The defending team of girls sat in a circle on the floor, facing inwards at each other and holding hands. The attacking team sat in a 3 by 2 rectangle. The attacking team charged up their ritual spell, revving it up and holding it like they were holding their breath, planning to unleash it all together once everyone was charged up. It fizzled twice after a few seconds of charging up though, because someone kept on losing their concentration, and then fizzled again a third time when someone got confused.
  • They were allowed to try again but took a quick break while one of the girls who had ruined an attempt because she was overcome by laughter, and thus lost her breath, calmed down. In the meantime, another girl who was in her first year but had made the team for the attacking school talked about her positive club experiences and how the older members of the club had guided her.
  • Snippet: There was also something about wearing a school uniform, with a blazer overtop a gray blouse and an attached tie. I couldn’t find the tie at first but was shown that it was already attached to the uniform. Someone helped me adjust the tie, telling me to be careful when buttoning up the very top button by the neck, and then showing me how to slip the back of the tie into the tie hoop once it was tightened.
Dec 27 2023
  • I was walking around a University campus with some friends in the late evening. There was an Olympics-style multi-discipline sports tournament going on in the University, and we passed a gym where the door was open and we coud see a Canada vs USA match going on where they were playing a version of football on a hard court where the ball was a really light volleyball or handball. We saw Canada score a goal between two cones that were set up a little ways apart on the ground as we passed by. Some of my friends broke off to enter the gym to watch the rest of the game, while some declined and walked onwards. I followed the latter group.
  • A few minutes later, I noticed that I had a 7-day event task checklist relating to the tournament going on, and one of the tasks was to watch a team score a goal. I wondered why that goal we saw didn’t count, perhaps because we were outside the gym? I broke off from the group and went back to the gym, entering through the front door and finding out that that match was actually a practice match and was over now. There was another adjacent sports court open and an actual volleyball game was being played there, so I stayed to watch that instead even though I didn’t think that anything there would count toward that task.
  • I sat down near other audience members on the polished wooden floor, and after a while the Canadian coach came around and asked us, the audience, to scout for good players amongst us as well, specifically by looking at the people that we were seated nearby and recommending them if it looked like they had the right build or skills for the game. I was afraid of being dragged into something unnecessary here so I quietly teleported myself home. I almost teleported myself and my entire row of audience members home along with me on accident, but toggled that option off in time.
  • I came home with an armful of shirts, a couple of which I was wearing and that I had to take off in the bathroom and rinse. I left them all on the bathroom floor in a neat pile of slightly damp, folded shirts that came up to a height taller than me while I was seated on the floor. I had also brought home a pile of DnD sourcebooks, about two feet high, and I put them next to a plastic storage drawer unit by my computer while complaining to Kel that I didn’t have room to store them. She suggested just leaving them where I had put them on the floor, and I agreed.
  • Jon got recruited for some team due to having a special blood type match that the coach was excited about, and I volunteered for that as well to keep him company. It turned out the selection and blood test process was called Alvin’s Missing Dance, and the coach explained that the test originated many years ago when Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis, who were fantasy book authors that I had read when young, witnessed a child in Singapore standing at a traffic crosswalks with a pair of earphones connected to a Walkman. When the crosswalk light turned green, the child began to dance as he crossed the street.
  • Somehow a blood test was built off of that and they had been trying to find the child ever since, in a Cinderella sort of fashion, but it was found that those people with near matches were also a great fit for whatever sport the coach was recruiting for. Anyway, upon listening to the story, I said that that could very well have actually been me, and the coach got very excited.
  • Also, at one point there were little game pieces spawning in a room that people could use for their various projects, but no one was actually claiming and using them, so I started picking them up and investing them in building a wall and ramps, until someone else in the room wryly commented and wondered why I was bothering to progress the game, especially on such a low-value task as building walls.
Dec 29 2023
  • Dad was leading some sort of school and family outing to a museum but had bought a TV and a Playstation and was going to abandon us and take a bus ride somewhere else. He hailed a bus driver and boarded the bus even as I yelled at him not to do so. I boarded another bus that travelled alongside his and gesticulated and called out to him until he agreed to disembark at the next stop and talk to me since all the passengers on his bus were staring at him.
  • When we confronted each other, I told him that he needed to come to the museum with us and not run off by himself as everyone else was relying on him to lead the way. I pointed out that he would not be able to go enjoy himself anyway as he was headed to Disneyland but one could not enjoy that sort of place while holding a heavy box in each hand. He agreed.
  • I also showed him a survey from the students from the previous day that showed that people found the trip underwhelming compared to past ones because we didn’t do anything as a group on the first day. 8 of the students, including me, had to write the survey results in Chinese rather than English for some reason, and had our answers separated from the other couple dozen students so we were at the top of the results sheet, although I mixed both Chinese and English for my reply and no one seemed to mind that.
  • Snippet: There was also some event where I was trying to do some sort of test in an MMO and at some point near my in-game house I was ganked by a high-level wizard player who was bored and walking back and forth looking for much lower level players to kill. However, since I was right by my house at that point, I just respawned there and continued upon my way.
  • Snippet: I also dreamt at some point that the Chihayafuru 4 anime was announced and Seren had pinged me in Discord in a group chat with Satinel and the two of us, letting me know that we would need to prepare for a writing project for that as well. I noted that it seemed like a good time to do a full rewatch of the first three seasons.
  • Snippet: I also remember the presence of a burly, orange-haired guy with two tufts of hair sticking out of his head that looked like cat ears. Not sure how he featured in my dream.
Dec 31 2023
  • I was a student at what I think was a cop school, and Mom and Dad were also involved with the school somehow, at least to the extent that I was taking the Singapore-style MRT train home with them this day. We were also meeting Kel at the station, and were going to take the MRT line northwards toward home.
  • We had to cross several zones or neighbourhoods to even get to the station, which could sometimes get dangerous, and as I was their child, my parents insisted that I wear a motorcycle helmet for head protection even though I was very much an adult (and a cop in training) in the dream. They did allow me to not buckle the neck strap up though.
  • We passed a small outdoor Christmas market next to the train station, and when Mom inquired as to what that was, I said that I had seen it here before in previous years and that even though it was rather small, at least only large enough to hold about a dozen stalls or so, we should stop in to browse the stalls as something to do together as a family. They agreed.
  • However, when we got to the entrance to the market, there was a woman there manning the entrance and collecting tickets from people before she would let them into the stall area. Apparently to get in, one had to buy items from stores in the adjacent mall, which would then give them free admittance tickets to the Christmas market. I balked at this, saying that the mall was extremely expensive and not worth it, and expressing my disappointment as admission in previous years had been free. I wasn’t the only one too as there were other frustrated passersby outside the entrance glaring daggers at the woman.
  • I asked my parents what they thought and they said it wasn’t worth it either, so we returned to the train station, met Kel there, and caught our train north. We were travelling from near the start of the Northern line (so around whatever was the N1 station or so) to the end of it, and Kel and I were going to get off at N11, Khatib station, in order to get home, whereas Mom and Dad apparently lived separately and were going to N12, Yishun station, to get home.
  • Because our stations were pretty much at or near the end of the line, we boarded the train and then entered a box room compartment on the train that I had no idea existed and had never been in before, this was a small, private room that seated four people and had a lockable door, and we passed by the time chatting to each other in there. I also took off my helmet, returning it to Mom.
  • When we reached the N11 station, Kel and I left the private box room, but I got confused as I forgot that I was still on the train even after I stepped out of the room, so she stepped out of the train onto the platform proper while I got turned around and remained on the train as the doors closed. In this way, I ended up alighting at N12 with my parents instead of at N11 with my sister.
  • I knew that there was a Christmas night market outside the N12 station as well, one of three stations along the northern line that had one, and I figured that I might as well go since I had ended up here anyway. I asked my parents if they wanted to go, but they said no, so I texted Kel and invited her along instead if she wanted to catch the next train here. I used the Malay word for the night market, pasarmalam, to describe this particular market, even though I didn’t use it for the first market.

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