Among the various definitions of “growing up,” throwing out the quadrillion stuffed toys was very much a part of it. The first massive throw-out came at the end of sixth grade, when we moved to Korea. I was most sorry to let go of two huge bears that were bigger than I.

Even so, my house still has several toys. I don’t know how that happened. Most of the toys are at my parents’ house, where time has stopped and the bookshelves are still lined with Disney DVDs. I recently gave away some at a corporate charity event, only keeping ones that have special meaning. It sometimes feels embarassing to have stuffed animals on my bookshelves or a bear sitting on the couch.

Nonetheless, when I saw Pengi sitting on the shelf at the Endangered Species Store in Orlando, I knew I had to get him. I loved how plump he was- not at all like the stuck-up Emporer penguins. He sort of looks like me when I’m sitting down- small head, huge butt- anyways, there was something I could relate to. After all, I am a polar girl.

D was the first to remark on Pengi.
-I see you got a penguin.
-Naturally, I had to buy it since I’m the arctic penguin.
-Excuse me? And since when were you a penguin? Aren’t you the polar bear?
-(Feeling very offended) I was always the penguin. What are you talking about?
D rolls her eyes, but the next day, I see pictures on her My Space page of her cradling Pengi. They were self-taken pictures. Good grief.

 A more shocking (and funny) surprise came a few days later, when I come home and find Pengi wearing my snowman earmuffs. The lady that cleans my house has a very weird sense of humor and a habit of putting objects in unexpected places. Before, she had put my reindeer antler hairband on a stuffed bear.


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