Aylin-Yuko 2

Dear Yuko,

I do apologize for my loquaciousness. I am not exactly “in touch” with the common vernacular, as I have heard. While I am not exactly a writer, I do have more than a little practice with words. Do not worry, though. I sincerely doubt that I would find your stories boring. There is something very exciting in hearing the stories of another person, and as a young person just getting started in life you will surely have many stories.

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I cannot profess to being familiar with the current educational system, but I infer that straight A’s is good, and moving out is always a big step in a person’s life. From the descriptions, your apartment sounds lovely.

Such a large family! Your parents sound like they were lovely people. I am sorry for your loss. It does sound like you grew up in a very loving family, but I am worried that they still think of you as the “baby” of the family, as it were. My family is not so large, not by a large margin.

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ゆうこ is exactly right! 優 子 is the kanji for that particular interpretation, though I believe many transcriptions have it Yuuko or Yūko to indicate a long vowel (not that I’m any expert)! “Gentle child” is definitely right, but I would suspect that the name can be spelled with more than one kanji, and some kanji have meanings that are hard to translate into other languages because of cultural differences in idioms and concepts or that can depend on context. It is a lovely name, though!

My sisters and I are certainly very close. Blood is thicker than water and all that. We were triplets, originally, and later Cassandra was born. Cass is not actually our sister, per se, but we treat her as one.

Your “fish tank” sounds very fun. Instruments are something of a hobby of mine. I enjoy singing very much, so while I have not tried karaoke, it seems as if it might be fun. Though I have dabbled in most instruments, the organ always calls me. You should certainly try it sometime.

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Do keep practicing painting. It is a worthy skill and you will enjoy the fruits if you put in the practice.

Yoga is a very good thing to work on. Keeping limber is highly important. I stretch frequently myself.

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If you like the boy more than you think you should, move on! There are more fish in the sea. Keep him at whatever length feels comfortable, do what feels right, and explore other options if you need to. Your actions may not be without consequences, and life is never without compromise, but if you don’t want to settle don’t let him make you.

It is just fine that your letter is long; I can be long winded myself.I would love for you to visit, but I warn you that I can be a bit… eccentric. While I do not have many house rules, you will probably find most of them strange.

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I will be straight with you: Forgotten Hollow is very historic, but if you look it up almost all you will find is vampire conspiracy theories. If you look at the tourism site you can find most of the non-crazy information, but almost any other site is guaranteed to be some old story about vampires. It is a nice old town, very small, and all the crazy does us good in keeping away urbanization. No one wants to build now houses or move out here, so the town has stayed very small. Really, the only people here are day tourists and residents like me.

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I hope you enjoyed your pizza, though it is doubtless long since eaten.



House 1.1: New Start

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What is a house?

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Is it brick and mortar, or something more? Is it four walls and a roof, or the combinations of all the people who have lived in it, its history and ours weaving together so that just as this house becomes a part of our stories we become another chapter for it?

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I inherited this house from my grandmother. This is the house she grew up in, the house that must have seen many children before her. It’s rundown now, but her stories have this house as a place of life. When my lovely fiancée Mackenzie and I got engaged, we decided to move here. To start our new life together here, along with the next generation.

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We converted the children’s room back to a nursery, and the spare room into a temporary office where Mackenzie can work. She’s an incredible woman- before she ever met me, she already had a startup computer company. If I ever find out that any sort of god exists, I will thank him or her for putting Mackenzie in my path.

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As for myself, I’ve taken up woodworking. I’ve always wanted to work with my hands, and if we’re going to get this house fixed up, we’re going to need to know our way around hammers and nails.

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I wonder what the house thinks of us? Us strangers, us newcomers? Are we interlopers to the house?

What does the house feel?

Aylin-Yuko 1

Dearest Yuko,

The pen pal website recommended you as someone I should write to. I suppose it noted our similar ages and musical interests.

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Do you enjoy playing your instruments? I am currently learning the pipe organ. It is a masterful thing, not to be taken lightly. I enjoy the deep and rich sounds. It is more unlike the piano than it first appears.

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I live in a small house in Forgotten Hollow. I am fully aware of my hometown’s reputation, but I find it a pleasant place. Others may not feel so, but the houses are very historic and on occasional clear days I have heard the air is very bracing. The waters are clear and good for fishing, and wild flora abound.

Do you have any other hobbies? I enjoy reading old books. There are many secrets hidden in a good book. You only need to know where to look for them.

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I suppose you could say that I’m a bit of a dabbler. I’ve tried my hand at many subjects over the years, though my skills in some of them have lapsed somewhat. I have also dabbled in some languages: would you kindly tell me, if you could, which kanji forms the “yu” of your name?

Your profile said you have a sister and nieces. If you are willing to share, I would like to hear more about your family. I too have sisters- my two birth sisters, and one further of my choosing, with whom I live.

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I would be willing to visit you at some point if you so desire, so long as you are willing to put up with a few of my eccentric habits. If you should ever come over to visit, I am afraid that you will have to cope with my house’s unusual layout, but I can think of no problems that cannot be surmounted.



Pen Pals: Aylin


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Name: Aylin. I do not think that I have a last name, but for these purposes Ingram will suffice.

Age: I am not sure anymore, to be honest. Sometimes I think I have been living in this house forever. I know it is not true, but after so many eternities it has ceased to matter. Fifteen was how old I was a long time ago. Fifteen I shall be, if it suits this purpose. I will be older if I must.

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Profession: None. I have no need of money for food or drink, and I am not fond of sunlight. I dabble in many things as hobbies. At the moment, I am taking up the pipe organ. It is a difficult instrument, with more complexity than a piano.

How many pen pals are you interested in acquiring? No more than one, certainly! I do not wish to become… distracted.

What qualities do you seek in a pen pal? Someone young, willing to open their eyes and ears. Someone who is willing to tell me about their life. Someone who does not mind that I live in a town with a dark reputation.

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Would you ever like to meet your pen pal face to face? Maybe. If they do not mind coming to Forgotten Hollow, the town of dark mystery and dead founders. If they do not mind staying in a house that has more basements than floors, in a bedroom that seems only freshly cleared of cobwebs.

And, most of all, if they do not mind the smell of garlic.

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Dove-Meadow 4

A reply to: A letter from Meadow

Dear Meadow,

I apologize for the long gap between letters. I’ve been more than a bit busy lately, as you well may have guessed.

I’m… honestly amazed at your reaction. Based on my assessment of recorded normal reactions for this kind of a statement, I truly did expect you to be upset.

The babies have been born- yes, twins. Kiya and Kari. No pictures yet, sorry. Maybe when they’re older.

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Maki is staying here, and I am eternally grateful. She’s been amazing with the little ones, even though Kiya is quite the fussbudget. It’s been something of a hassle to juggle them and the job- I don’t know how Maki does it. She’s a freelance food critic and ex-bartender, so she does her research when I’m home and writes the columns after I leave, so she’ll be there to feed the twins. I don’t know if she’s ever had children of her own: she hasn’t said anything, and I haven’t asked.

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That’s a part of how our relationship works, really: Don’t ask, don’t tell. We generally don’t talk about our lives and such unless it comes up, and even then points are often skirted. I don’t need to know what came before this for her. She’ll tell me when she’s ready, and she extends the same courtesy to me. For now, it’s enough lying next to one another at night, or looking into the babies’ eyes when I get off work.

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Since I have the weekends off at the lab, I’ve been getting out more. Maki has encouraged me to go out jogging some, just around the plaza, and I’ve taken her advice. She’s done so much for me, encouraging me to do what I feel is right, reminding me that it’s okay to spend money on things every once in a while.

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My job is somewhat important to me, even if it isn’t very interesting. I don’t think I could give it up- and we certainly wouldn’t have the money for the apartment if I did. I wish I could spend more time with the little ones, but I’m really saving that for when they’re a little older and I can spend that precious time reading stories and playing games, when it really counts. As it is, they mostly sleep, even when I kiss them on their tiny foreheads at night.

It’s amazing to hear how Jena is growing! I’ll have to keep all of the things you do in mind, since time always seems quicker than you think. How wonderful that she is starting to speak English! And I’m glad to hear your painting is going well.

Personally, I cannot think of anything more precious than to truly know her as your daughter. She is now, in heart and soul, and that makes all the difference.



Dove-Meadow 3

Reply to: A letter from Meadow

Hey, Meadow.

Writing to you has become one of my guilty pleasures too. It’s a nice break from all of the other things in my life.

I’m so happy to hear about Jena! It must be so lonely, living in a world where no one understands you when you speak clearly. Hopefully, with time, she can grow up into a beautiful and happy child.

I don’t think that toddlers have attention spans any shorter than older children- I just think they don’t yet have the same “social graces” and just express whatever they happen to feel at the moment. Jena is just letting you know how she feels about whatever is happening, right now.

Oh, I got a promotion at work! I’m a “Technological Innovator” now. That means I get to install RAM on the computers.

I wrote about these things first because I have a lot of other things to write about.

Firstly… The things I said, about saying unkind things… I meant multiple people. Different people. They didn’t know each other. They didn’t really know me. It was then and over, now and gone. No different from one of your crushes, except I acted and found them willing. I take solace in the fact that I know they will not remember me.

I don’t think I ever felt that true connection either.

Not until now.

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Maki Sasaki moved in last week, and I have never been happier in my life. She’s amazing, kind, funny- the person I never knew I wanted in my life. She’s been the best friend I could ever ask for, and more.01-24-17_9:44:52 AM.png

She’s been helping me get things straightened out around here, renovating the bedroom and kitchen to get ready for whatever comes next in our lives.

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Because what’s coming next is going to be the biggest thing in anyone’s life, really.

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I’m pregnant. And I’m going to give birth very soon. I know it seems sudden, but I was when I started writing. I’m sorry for hiding something so major from you, but I wasn’t sure what to say, or how you would judge me- or anyone else, for that matter, which is why I didn’t put it up front initially. I’ve been dealing with a lot of stress from all directions, including this decision. I’ve been going on a fixing-stuff tear to deal with it, just fixing everything, fixing the things that aren’t even broken, I even installed a hypercompressor in the building trash chute after it jammed! But I think things will be a little better, with this out in the air. Hopefully.

All the best, whether or not you ever write again,


Dove-Meadow 2

Reply to: A letter from Meadow

Dear Meadow:

I love your ideas on free and open communication! There’s nothing like a connection with someone. Jena’s stories sound fun- maybe someday I’ll hear one! Don’t worry- of course I was going to write back.

I meant every word I said about your family. They sound like wonderful people. Sometimes I wish I had some rose-colored glasses. I had a pair of my own on, the other day.

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The basil point is moot now, but thank you! Basil contains certain chemical compounds useful in synthesizing certain serums we use for testing. I ordered some seeds online yesterday, so we’ll be good now.

I think people would know if they were aliens, in this life at least. I mean, it’s hard to deny your biological makeup.

The meadows and fields of your home sound wonderful. My childhood was nothing like that, really. I think Jena will bloom and grow with all this love.

I don’t think crop circles are proof of aliens- I think the proof is in the fact that we even consider the possibility!

I don’t read much besides technical reports, but I do have a weakness for cheesy romance novels. One of my favorite authors is Izumi Yamaguchi- her style is slowly improving, but her story ideas are wonderful.

I’m sorry if this letter is a little short. I… got some surprising news.

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My relationship is going through some troubles. I just had to say some very unkind things to another person, and I know I’m going to have to say them again tomorrow.


On the plus side, a neighbor came over to see what was happening. I think I may have a new friend?


I… honestly didn’t think anyone could make me feel good about what just happened. I didn’t think it was possible.

All the best,


Where sims and sanity don't quite meet