Reflecting on a past decision to move from the UK to Canada, the writer shares a story of resilience and loneliness. The decision to uproot and move to a new country was made in their mid-20s, driven by a sense of adventure and a desire to start fresh in a new place. However, as life unfolded, unexpected challenges arose. The pandemic hit, disrupting plans and causing a sense of isolation in a new province. The version of the writer that moved to Canada in their 20s was vastly different from the one that found themselves in Nova Scotia in their 30s. The initial excitement and confidence had been replaced by fatigue and doubt.

Despite the melancholy and loneliness that crept in, a visit back to London in 2022 brought a sense of familiarity and joy. Reconnecting with old friends and engaging in shared activities like playing Mario Party sparked laughter and camaraderie. The writer’s friends’ love for Mario Party was described humorously, likening their obsession to that of a toddler with Frozen or a shark with its prey. The chaotic and unpredictable nature of the game added an element of excitement and surprise to the gatherings, creating lasting memories and friendships.

The writer reflects on their experiences of playing games online with friends during the pandemic and the contrast between virtual and real-time interactions. While online gaming provided a temporary sense of connection, it lacked the intimacy and closeness of in-person gatherings. The shared experience of playing games together on the same console fostered a sense of camaraderie and laughter that couldn’t be replicated virtually. Despite the convenience of online gaming, the writer emphasizes the value of in-person interactions and the irreplaceable joy of spending time with friends face-to-face.

The writer highlights the uniqueness of real-time shared game experiences and the special bond formed through playing games with friends in person. The chaos and unpredictability of games like Mario Party add an element of excitement and laughter to gatherings, creating lasting memories and deepening friendships. While online gaming has its place, the writer emphasizes the importance of finding ways to connect with friends in-person and the unmatched beauty of shared physical experiences. So, next time you have the opportunity to hug a friend or steal their Stars in a game, cherish that moment and appreciate the value of real-time shared connections.

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