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Kinder Surprises

July 16, 2013

As the sun goes down, another pleasant day has gone by.

I got in a lot of exercise today, and I’m tired, but one of the most pleasant feelings in the world is coming home after an exhausting day and just winding down.

Two wonderful surprises occurred today.

While the kids in my class clutched onto their Dr. Seuss, I clutched onto my Shel Silverstein.

While the kids in my class clutched onto their Dr. Seuss, I clutched onto my Shel Silverstein.

One, I made a new friend. Two, I stumbled upon a tree that gifted me with bubble blowers (what’s the proper name for those things anyway?)

I have been frequenting my favourite café more often than usual these past two weeks. In fact, I’ve been alternating between my favourite café and my second café so that on any given day, you’d most likely find me at one of those locations. It’s not surprising, then, that the baristas recognize me as soon as I walk in.

My favourite café was especially busy today, which was understandable considering that it was like over 30 degrees outside. I was next in line. The barista who had been serving me drinks the past couple of days saw me, smiled, and asked me how I was doing. I beamed and told him I was doing quite well, thank you very much. Venti unsweetened decaf Americano please. He said, what is your name again? I told him Tina. I thanked him.

Two hours later, my stomach growled with intensity; a bagel was in order, so again, I took my spot in line. He was the only one at cash, and when he saw me, he smiled again, and said, what can I get you this time, Tina? I smiled and told him my order. While he was cashing me out, he noticed the book I was holding–Maus, by Art Spiegelman. Have you read that before? he asked me. No, it’s my first time! It’s terrific, he said. Oh, I know, that’s why I’m reading it, I replied. Then we bade each other goodbye. Well, at least for the time being.

An hour-and-a-half later, I had finished Maus, and desperately wanted my refill for the walk home, so I took my spot in line yet again. And of course, he was still the only one on cash. Before he could comment on my addiction to coffee and tea, I enthusiastically said, I’m cashing in on my free refill! He smiled and proceeded to write my order on the cup. The café was quieting down, and not many people were left. While I waited for him to make my drink, I told him how I finished reading Maus and gave him all of my thoughts on it. We had a pleasant chat about it. Here you go Tina, he said as he handed me my drink. Thanks a ton, and I didn’t catch your name, by the way! My name is A-. Then we went through the whole nice-to-meet-you-pleasantry-thing. So that’s that. I’ve got a new friend! I love making new friends; it’s so wonderful that some mere moments can transform a person from a stranger to a friend.

I didn’t notice it until much later when I was walking home, but he had drawn smiley faces on my cup with the word “Maus” on the other side. I smiled. How nice.

On the way home, I decided to take a detour through the UofT campus to see if my friend AZ was playing frisbee at King’s Circle. She wasn’t there, so I continued on home.

I’m telling you, it pays so much to notice the trees and flowers. I must look awfully strange to people walking by because when I’m strolling along, I’m always either looking at the sky or admiring the flowers/trees. And by “pay,” I don’t mean literally getting paid money; I’m suggesting that admiring mother nature pays in satisfactory points. Did any of that make sense? It did in my head.

Anyway, not only does admiring trees and flowers give me “satisfactory points,” I literally got paid today with two bubble blowers. On my way home this evening, I was looking at all of the trees as I walked by them when one of them caught my eye. Something was hanging from one of the branches. At first, I walked by it but then decided to go back to get a better look.

And there, hanging from one of the branches, was a row of bubble blowers (the kind you get as wedding/party favours). There was a tiny, tiny sign with a diagram on how to release a bubble blower from the branch. I did as told, and it came away with ease. I decided to take another one for my little cousin. I don’t know why the word “Yes” is taped to each bottle, but I love it.

Obviously, not many people looked at the diagram because if they did, there wouldn't have been so many pieces of twine still left on the tree.

Obviously, not many people looked at the diagram because if they did, there wouldn’t have been so many pieces of twine still left on the tree.

I think people would be wary of taking strange bottles off trees, but things only come to those who seize opportunities. And of course, opportunities only come when you are open to things, and being open to things means saying “yes.” It reminded me of that time when SY and I were walking through a park when I saw a small paper box hanging off a tree. The words “open me” were written on it. I was apprehensive; after all, a dead squirrel could roll out. But when I took it apart, there wasn’t a dead squirrel in it. Instead, there were handfuls of pieces of paper with words on them. It was obviously a puzzle, but one that we could not solve. The puzzle was never solved. I kept it for a while after that–many months in fact– but eventually threw it away.


Not all surprises are wonderful, but the surprises today were absolutely spectacular. I woke up today not knowing that I would make a friend and that a tree would gift me with bubble blowers, but both of these things happened to me today. Hooray for good surprises!


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