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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

嘎! 嘎! Our Duck Collection

No, you didn't misread the title: 嘎 (ga) is the Mandarin word for quack. It's also a word near and dear to our hearts because this was the first word the Husband and I heard our little Tongginator utter. We didn't know what it meant at the time, but we felt positive it WAS a word ... if only because our little Piglet shouted it whenever she saw a duck. We discovered the meaning of "ga" quite by chance during a Mandarin storytime at our local library. The teacher taught the children to sing Old MacDonald in Chinese, and ya zi ( 鸭子 : duck) caused the Tongginator to bounce with glee.

Quite apropos considering...

Before we married, Husband and I began a rather strange collection. Some people collect Christmas ornaments; some people collect tacky plastic magnets; we collect rubber duckies. Not just any rubber duckies ... rubber duckies that MEAN something.

Each duck we own represents a vacation we've taken together, or a significant moment in our lives (such as the day we married, and the day the Tongginator joined our family). We love our duck collection. I didn't used to think it was all that unusual, but the startled chuckles from friends and family convinced me that it's not a typical choice.

Some of our favorite ducks represent some of our favorite vacations -- the construction duck dressed in an orange vest and holding a handsaw -- he represents our 1999 missions trip to do home repair with Appalachian Service Project. The duck dressed in a Navy uniform actually symbolizes our adoption travel group's 2006 reunion in Chicago, where we spent hours lost on buses, trying to make it the famous Navy Pier. Our Royal Duck of course represents our trip to England and Scotland ... we didn't know it at the time, but that was the week our Tongginator entered the world! The devil duck reminds us of our 2007 trip to attend a wedding in Sin City. And the large red duck, of course, is for our 2005 trip to China to adopt our little Piglet, which occurred three years ago this week.

All total, there are 26 rubber ducks in our collection, each representing a place or a moment that we want to remember forever! In a couple of weeks, we'll be on the lookout for a duck that reminds us of New Orleans. If you have any suggestions, please share!

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