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  • Writer's pictureKara San

Capsule 2305

I almost can't believe it's been literally years since I last wrote a post like this. For the most part, I guess life has been largely uneventful while work has eating away at most of my energy that I haven't really sat down to break down my time into months. So beyond some scribbles into my own personal journal which are for my eyes alone, I haven't set aside time to reflect on anything.


I'll start with a pretty big life update: I've been accepted into graduate school!


I'll be taking a year off the drudgery of a full-time job to pursue a Master's in English. While I will miss having a disposable income and being able to respond to any minor inconvenience with *adds to cart*, this is something I've wanted since my final year as an undergraduate so I am in equal parts nervous and excited about this. I've also just been assigned my classes earlier this week, and I hate that Book Depository had to close down the very year I'm returning to school and am going to need my new book purchases to be relatively cheap.


The books I finished this month are:

  1. The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

  2. I Want to Die But I Want to Eat Tteokbokki by Baek Se Hee

  3. Catskull (ARC) by Myle Yan Tay

  4. Yellowface by R.F. Kuang

Doujima

I'd been looking forward to Doujima ever since I saw a handful of my favourite artists, including some from abroad, announcing that they'd be boothing for it. I didn't make plans to go with anyone, since I wrote up a list of booth numbers and who I wanted to see, and I didn't want to keep anyone waiting. By happy coincidence, a couple of my friends were a little way further up the queue, and one of them spotted me and invited me to join them. So I did. At least that meant I had some friends to chat with while waiting for our turn to enter the hall.


After having learnt my lesson from Artcade last month, wherein I didn't withdraw cash so I went crazy with my purchases because I was scanning QR code to transfer money left and right, I withdrew a set amount of cash for Doujima, and kept it in a separate wallet. I'm glad to say it worked, and that I managed to buy art from most of the artists I'd had my eye on. I was especially glad I managed to buy a sketchbook from @/takawbird, because I simply love how she paints her environments.


I ran out of cash sooner than I'd like, but that did stop me from spending more, so one friend and I left the hall and sat outside, showing each other what we'd bought, while our other friend went back in for another round to buy more things for another friend of his. The month had just begun, but that was meant to be my only splurge for May, because I'd blown over $200 on my study permit application.


Touching grass

Two of my friends and I, after weeks of failed plans, finally met up for a hike at Rifle Range Nature Park. It had been a while since the three of us got together, although I'd met the two of them separately on a few occasions. We admired the greenery around us, not particularly recognising anything we saw, and as we approached the quarry, it almost felt like we weren't in Singapore. It had been scorching hot over the past few days, and we only found out that night that temperatures had hit about 38 degrees. At least we'd spent most of that walk under the shade of the trees, but it was concerning to think about that much UV exposure. The three of us made some vague plans to hike together again before I leave for grad school.


Returning to NUS

I decided to return to NUS to pay a visit to one of my old profs who'd written my reference letter for me. I brought a friend of mine along, because I'm not great at making conversation. The two of us met up a couple of hours before the appointed time with our prof, and had lunch at the school canteen, taking note of what had changed and what had stayed the same since our time there.


After lunch, seeing as we still had some time, we headed to Coffee Roasters to get some drinks. Over iced tea, we reminisced about our final year, and how we and the rest of our friend group would gather here to study together or throw out ideas for group work. At some point, and by happy coincidence, I turned around and spotted one of the profs I used to work with, when I'd been working at NUS. And then I noticed the woman next to him, with her back facing me, who seemed very much like another prof I used to work with, so I went over to their table and had a quick chat with them.


After visiting our old prof's office, my friend and I walked around campus and towards the bus stop, taking the nostalgic, longer route that hugged the outside of the faculty. For all the mental health problems that came from my time at NUS, I'm at least glad for some of the people I met there.


Getting back into Breath of the Wild


My study permit application needed me to submit my biometrics at the visa application centre, so I'd booked a day of leave for that, even if everything only took about an hour. With the rest of the day free, I decided to pick up Breath of the Wild again. Tears of the Kingdom had just been released, and it looked beautiful, but I didn't want to rashly buy another game without having properly played its predecessor.


The reason I dropped BOTW was simply that I sucked at it. I was perfectly happy to run around admiring the environment of the game and foraging for fruit and mushrooms, but the moment I saw an enemy, all I wanted to do was turn tail and run. I would panic and forget which button I had to tap to hit an enemy, I forgot the shortcuts for switching weapons, I forgot the shortcuts to switch runes, I even forgot I had runes at my disposal. One thing I will thank my two years of Genshin for is that I was less terrified of fighting all these enemies and of Link dying when I picked up the game again. I finally raided one more shrine, I finally raided a few enemy camps and acquired some loot, I finally figured out how to aim and fire an arrow, I finally acquired some fairly decent weapons (even if, at one point, I panicked and threw a perfectly good, new, strong spear right off a cliff when I'd intended to fire an arrow at some enemies). It's been a lot of fun, and I look forward to playing more of it.


HoYoVerse games


Speaking of Genshin, its developer finally released Honkai Star Rail towards the end of April. I'd been waiting for that game to be released ever since I saw the splash art of one of the characters, Dan Heng (it's the maple leaves aesthetic, because I am nothing if not consistent). I followed its development in the Beta as much as I could understand it, I caught streams playing the Beta tests, I took note of which characters I very badly wanted (Himeko, Kafka, and Blade). I certainly enjoy playing Star Rail, it's been a lot of fun, and I love the world building and the characters' designs, as well as the amazing soundtrack. There was one particular boss fight in the main quest where I was so busy being blown away by how good the theme music was, that I was hardly even furious about how my team was practically hanging by a thread. But at the end of it, even if it's apparent that Star Rail, being part of the developers' beloved Honkai franchise, the exploration doesn't appeal to me the same way my first time playing Genshin hit me. The world is less open, navigation is certainly a lot easier, but it also feels less organic. In that sense, I think that, in terms of gameplay, I gravitate towards games like Genshin and BOTW.


June?


I'm writing this post in June, and I'm hoping I can pen another post like this for the month of June, and keep at it the way I did back in 2020. I can't make any promises. Work's been hectic and I am counting down the weeks until I can finally take a breather before plunging back into academia. Sometimes I wish I could just stop time for a bit so I can relax and let myself have whatever breakdowns I need to release the build up of exhaustion before picking myself back up again.

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