* (You’re filled with DETERMINATION.)

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It’s November, the penultimate month of the year and yet it feels like this year barely started at all. I’ll always have a wonky relationship with the concept of time; one minute I’ll gripe that it moves too slowly, the next too quickly. As it is, it’s Week 6 in Manchester and I’m in the middle of my reading week (which is apparently a thing in university for students to catch up on their reading. It’s kind of ominous that there is a need for this).

Karu came over from Loughborough for the weekend and it was honestly so refreshing to hang out with an old friend and being able to resume a semblance of ease and familiarity of a different life I’d led. It was like trying to partially merge two different timelines in my life (Sunway and Manchester) and the result was…peculiar, but not in a bad way at all. I went to my first MUJS (animesoc) meeting on Friday night where I did manage to make some new friends while my group unexpectedly won second place for anime quiz night and I brought back Kiki’s Delivery Service and Castle in the Sky postcards. After the event, I rushed to the Chorlton Street coach station to pick up Karu.

It was Halloween the next day and there was a Halloween mini-con event I wanted to check out so we went to All Saints Park for a while but left after I took a photo with these two Hitachiin twins cosplayers because we weren’t…cosplaying and just standing around and I couldn’t stand the awkwardness. So we went to Chinatown to shop for Japanese food ingredients instead.

Karu taught me how to cook udon and so that was what we had for lunch after coming back to Weston. After that, because we are both generally very lazy people who didn’t particularly want to go on city explorations on a Saturday evening, we played volleyball for an hour in my common room. At night, Preethi invited us to the MUJS Halloween party at Rusholme and since we didn’t really have any plans, we agreed. It said ‘party’ but really it was just a bunch of anime enthusiasts turning up in cosplays to hang out and talk about, well, anime.

We had mediterranean midnight dinner at Curry Mile and then stayed up till 5AM on another Google hangout session with our NYC correspondent, Bellyn Ooi.

Karu left the next day and I spent the next two days literally cooped up in my room the entire day (leaving only to obtain food twice), playing Undertale and losing all concept of time (especially so with daylight savings when the sun starts to set at 4PM). For the past week, my entire Twitter feed was Undertale hype and I was so curious to see what it was all about so when I finally got to play it, I couldn’t stop at all and I was so enamoured by the brilliant execution and dimensional characters (#irony because they are pretty much just 8-bit pixels) and “morality principle” theme they had going on and the ending was absolutely amazing and emotional and I? bawled my eyes out until my jacket sleeves were entirely soaked through because a freaking indie RPG game was making me face my emotions and cheering me on from a screen and I suppose that triggered something that I’d fiercely clamped down on for a very long time now.

It’s been a while since (I can’t even really call it that, but I can’t think of any other term) fandom investment has affected me this strongly. It usually only happens when I’m not invested in anything else. Real life, for example.

Sometimes I still get bouts of wtf-am-I-doing-here-ness that never really seem like it went away completely since day one and being schedule-less during reading week kind of intensified that and subsequently, homesickness really strongly. It comes and goes. Sometimes it stays longer than it pays its rent for, but I don’t have the energy to chase it out so it resides uncomfortably while I stare daggers at it.

Some days are better though, and I’d use the analogy of bright skies vs dark clouds if we don’t get only seven hours of daylight as winter approaches.

PS. If you have the time and the curiosity…please play Undertale because it is honestly such a good game and also so I can scream excitedly at you about it

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Author: Michelle Teoh

21-year-old cynical Asian, book enthusiast and purveyor of fine sarcasm.

One thought on “* (You’re filled with DETERMINATION.)”

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