“So me and my dad thought that it was just a stray cat.”

At this house they have four cats actually. And surprisingly enough, one of them's name is Pickle. And Pickle's a really nice cat. It's like a white and gray cat, very friendly. But I have a story about Pickle. And it started maybe a couple of months ago. I don't know, it was in 2023. So Pickle literally came to my house, a couple houses down. That hou- -- the cats at that house are kinda just allowed to wander wherever they wanna go. So that's pretty normal, but I think they come back for, like, their dinner or something. I don't know. So, the cat, Pickle, wandered over to our house and the weird thing is for a while, the -- this cat didn't have a collar. So me and my dad thought that it was just a stray cat. And so my dad -- we gave it some milk. And then, maybe like a month later, we actually learned that milk is not good for cats. Um, but yeah, at this time we just thought this cat was a stray because um, it was like, yeah, it just didn't have a collar. But in the present, it only got a col- -- Pickle only got a collar like, um, maybe a month ago. I don't know. Yeah, and Pickle really likes me and my friend. We like to pet him a lot.

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“I decided to write letters to my future self for like the next 14 years.”

“Have you ever written a letter to your future self? What story would you tell them if you were writing one right now?” I have wrote a letter to my future self. Actually, I think it was on New Year's about two years ago, I decided to write letters to my future self for like the next 14 years. ‘Cause -- you know, like all the way up until I was in college in like 2034. So I wrote letters to my future self then, but you know, those future letters are still not there. 'Cause like a few days later, I forgot what I wrote and I wanted to read through them all, so I just ripped them all open and wrote them -- and, uh, read them. So yeah, that did not last long whatsoever. “What story would you tell them if you were writing one right now?” Um, I would tell my future self, "Life's going great right now. Sports are going great. Your friendships are going great. Um, and I would say {blows raspberry}. "Know that sports own a special place in your heart, and without them you're a completely different person. So continue to do sports because that keeps the you -- that keeps yourself you. So just continue to do the things that you love. And make sure to make time -- and make sure to make time to just, you know, take a break, have peace with yourself and do something you truly like to do. "Because if you're focusing too much on school work right now, you're not having any fun. You're not truly yourself. So, schoolwork is a priority, but sometimes you have to take breaks, or else your mental health is not going to be good. So just keep handling things and doing things you like along with the schoolwork that needs to be done." So I would probably write that letter for when I was in college, because I know there's a lot of work that goes into college. But I feel like my future self needs to know to still make time for things that I love to do, so that's what I would say.

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“It looked like boiling water…if the water were cookies.”

I failed at making cookies and they're like -- so I, I thought -- cuz for some reason I was just craving cookies, right? So then I went to make the cookies. I did all the right ingredients and I looked up, like, how to make sugar cookies cuz I was gonna make chocolate chip, but we didn't have any more chocolate chips left, so I just made sugar cookies. And so I looked up how to make sugar cookies, but, um -- so I added all the right ingredients and I added all the right amounts, but something was wrong. I think it was the flour. I think I didn't mix it well enough, cuz there was still chunks in it. So when I rolled them into balls and put them on the, on the pan or whatever, they were like bubbling in the oven like i- if -- it looked like boiling water, but if they -- if the water were cookies. So they were like boiling and then when I got them out, it was all just like one cookie, like one really hard cookie, and half of it was burnt, and half of it wasn't cooked at all. And it was just really bad.

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“That was not a smart move by me to take ’em off when I’m still looking at the sun.”

So, I did get to see the eclipse on Monday at school. Uh, they passed out the eclipse glasses, which is nice ‘cause then I could look at the eclipse. Um, but you know, I had quite a bit of an experience with the eclipse… not necessarily a good one, but it happened to a lot of people. So, I put the eclipse glasses on. It was kind of hard cuz I had to take my glasses off to put the eclipse glasses on, because I heard that you're not supposed to put them on over your glasses. But so, I put 'em on, and I was staring at the sun, and it was really, really cool. And I, and I, like, went to turn away, but then I stopped and continued looking at the sun and then I took the glasses off and I'm still looking at the sun for another half a second, but I don't think it did any damage to my retina. It was just because I did it for a half a second. I don't think it did that much damage, but it was really bright. But I'm just fortunate that, you know, it didn't burn my retina. That was not a smart move by me to take 'em off when I'm still looking at the sun. I don't know what was going through my brain, huh? But that's what happens. It happened to a lot of other people at our school too. But yeah, I thought the eclipse was quite cool, but it was also kind of annoying how bright the sun was.

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“So I threw the ball and I do not have good aim.”

Well, maybe, I guess -- so we were playing this dodgeball game but if you got out -- well, it wasn't teams. There were like five balls and you can move all, all around but you couldn't move with the ball. If you got out, you had to go behind the basketball hoop and try to make it and if you did everyone was back in. So we were playing dodgeball and I had the ball. And there was a student in my class right in front of me. And he was actually new — he had been there for like two weeks. And I was trying to like aim to get him out because, you know, why wouldn't I if it's dodgeball? And so I threw the ball and I do not have good aim because it hit him in the head and I felt so bad because he had just gotten there and he started crying and I just felt terrible because -- yeah, I didn't mean to hit him in the head. And it got a little intense there, so.

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“Right away, he opened the door and screamed at us, ‘Thanks a lot, Jack Frost.'”

We have like -- there's two houses on my street that, like, we play with them all the time. One to the left and one, like, diagonal. And then there's another person, she lets us use her yard, she's really nice. And across the street, there's these, uh, grandma and grandpa, and they're really nice.  But then, like, diagonal, there's these old people that don't like us at all. Like, once we were – so we were having a snowball fight in the winter and this – his driveway had no snow on it. And then we threw a snowball and missed. So one singular snowball hit that – hit the pavement, and right away he opened the door and screamed at us, "Thanks a lot, Jack Frost." And it was like this old guy, and yeah. So then – they don't like us.  And then – but then down our street there's a park, and across from the park there's this 'nother family that we'll play with once in a while, but other than that not really.

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“Martial arts is still really fun.”

Well, I'm already doing martial arts right now, so, that's all that I'm doing. It's really fun sometimes. I've got friends. I can do some karate kicks. I don't really know anything that kind of looks like the real thing, but I want to learn how to get a fly through the chopsticks like, uh, Mr. Miyagi from the -- from the Karate Kid. So, yeah. That would be pretty nice if I could do that. And martial arts is still really fun. We get to learn forms, which is basically like a series of actions. We have to shout, which is called kihap-ing, but I figure that maybe I shouldn't expose everything. The instructors are nice. They yell a lot, that's normal. Yeah.

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“Instead of like, Oma and Opa, I say Pake and Beppe.”

Yesterday I was not feeling well, so I stayed home. My mom and dad got back, though and I was like, "Yes! Yes!" Oh, yesterday, my Beppe -- my -- I call her Beppe, it's Grandma. It's another way of saying it, instead of like, Oma and Opa, I say Pake and Beppe. It's another Dutch way to say Grandpa and Grandma, okay? But yesterday, I was downstairs in the basement, and my Beppe, she was gonna go and go to the store and get some stuff for something. So yeah, then she asked me what I wanted, like what kind of fun drink or what, like, something else. And I said I wanted Fan- -- orange Fanta. And she asked me what candy or treat I would like, and I said Reese's. I love both of them. She got me three egg Reese's and you know those tiny cans? She got me a pack of those. Fanta. I drank three yesterday and they're still underneath my bed. And I'm like, I'm gonna drink one later probably. My, my, my siblings don't know. They don't know. I ate the last Reese's before they came.

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“It was really fun because I was sick of staying in my house during covid-19.”

Have you ever gone on a picnic? Tell us about your experience eating outside. So I remember when I was in about second grade during, uh, the covid-19 pandemic. We did not have school. Um, and it was, like, boring just eating lunch at home. So, sometimes I would pack a lunch, like what I would normally have for school lunch: a sandwich, a snack, fruits, and vegetables. And, well, I probably brought a water too. And then we have a soccer field near our house with a park and everything and I would just walk over there and eat lunch by the soccer field and sometimes my sisters would come with me and then we would play soccer there. And it was really fun because I was sick of staying in my house during covid-19. So I would just pack my lunch and go to the soccer field. And that was a fun experience because usually during covid, I didn't get to get out of the house. I didn't go to places. So it was nice to have that park, it's nice to have that park near my house, especially during that time.

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“When they were coming, they stole the ball we were using.”

So today at recess, just me and three of my friends wanted to play, like, just the us four. But then the other people who we normally play soccer with didn't agree to that and they got really mad 'cause when they were coming, they stole the ball we were using -- well, it wasn't really a ball. It was a bouncy ball since those work best for playing soccer, even though it's not a real ball. And then they got super mad at us for not being able to share it and stuff, so they told on the teacher. But since I was being nicer to them by saying to my friends, "Okay, we already had some time to play just the us four, so now I think we should play with them," but they didn't really agree, and it was hard for me to pick which side I should be on, so I was kind of in between. I don't think my friends realize that I wasn't following them a bunch. An- but the other group who we normally play w- with, they got really mad. And like I said, they told the teacher and they said that they -- that the other three people that I was with couldn't play with them if they asked. But then they said I could because I was nicer I guess.

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