Thanksgiving break is just a few days away, and for us first years, it’s our first big break from college. For many, this means arguing with relatives, eating delicious food and catching up with old friends. For me, this means a soulful reunion with my stuffed animals.
That’s not to say that I’m not looking forward to all of these other things — I definitely am. But I can always Skype my parents and Facebook my friends. Plus, the food in Peirce is much better than I had originally anticipated. But the one thing that no social media outlet or friendly AVI employee can make up for is jumping into a giant pile of stuffed animals, which is exactly what I intend to do when I get home.
Up until I left for school, I was used to a bedroom full of cuddly friends. And just like any clichéd rom-com script, I never realized how much I needed them until they were gone. Friends are great, but no one can really listen to you the same way a stuffed animal can. Wasn’t it Wonder the Wonder Llama that helped me get through my sixth-grade heartbreak? Didn’t Melvin the Sheep listen to me rant for hours on end after getting a D+ on my second semester chemistry final? After fighting with my best friend on my birthday, could anyone have helped me better than Trisha the Rabbit? No, is the answer. They may not be sentient, like in Toy Story, but my stuffed animals have always been there for me.
Leaving for college, I didn’t go entirely cold turkey on my animals (Melvin came along), but I did go cold turkey on friends. I knew no one but for the acquaintances I had made on the Facebook group, and even then I could barely recognize anyone. Those first few, lonely nights, the only thing I regretted not bringing more than my cowboy boots were my stuffed friends. College felt almost impossible without the reassuring, beady eyes of my personal zoo.
Things have gotten better since the first couple nights. I have some wonderful friends. I have a job at an informative, funny and self-important blog. I’m living in one of the most beautiful places in the world. But that doesn’t change the fact that what I’m looking forward to most is climbing into my bed and reminding myself how thankful I am that I’ll always have my menagerie to come home to.