Monday, December 7, 2009

Amy's World

I wish I still had my niece Amy's "world." She was a preschooler, just three or four years old, when she flew down from Juneau to spend a week with Gram and Gramps. It was my good fortune to get to have her with me for a day. One of our outings was to a map store in the Wallingford District, a tiny shop crammed full of maps, globes and other world wonders, a place that always fascinated me. Over dinner she enjoyed meeting my housemates, young women from several different countries, quizzing each one about where she was from. And now she wanted to make a "world."

I got her a couple of sheets of paper and she began to staple them together, leaving enough room for some stuffing. "Auntie Ginger," she said, "I need some cotton." "I don't have any," I replied. "When we get back to Gram's we can stuff your globe." "No, I need some cotton now."

I suggested old nylon stockings and anything else I could think of as a substitute that might work to stuff her globe, but she would not negotiate. "I'll call Etsuko," she said. "Maybe she has some cotton." So this determined little girl got on the phone and had me dial Etsuko, one of the residents from the upstairs apartment. Sure enough, Etsuko had cotton and she met Amy on the steps with it.

Her "world" stuffed and stapled, Amy proceeded to draw the countries she knew of, including the ones of the girls she'd met over dinner.

I like to think that I had something to do with her love of travel, that her exposure to the world that day was a little seed planted in her heart. I really don't know. But this I do know -- she loves to travel. Amy is fortunate enough to have a very good job that allows her lots of travel time, but her trips are not job-related. This month she'll make her ninth trip to Nicaragua, where she volunteers each year at an orphanage. The photo above is taken with two friends, Juana and Celia, that she met at a children's home in Bolivia. With her study term in Spain and trips to India, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Uganda, Madagascar, South Africa, Peru and Argentina -- mostly countries Amy didn't know existed when she made her globe as a pre-schooler -- she's touching people's lives around the world.

Way to go, Amy!

1 comment:

Karen S. said...

I love how you made your outing with Amy as a little girl so special and unusual. The whole description of her time with you was wonderfully written.