Imanut.

I’ve been asked by lots of people if I’m journaling this experience, and the truth is that I’m not. I’ve been doing an okay job Instagramming everything I see and eat (if you’re interested in seeing England through Amaro-colored glasses, follow me – I got really creative and called myself asarahcarter), but I’ve obviously been terrible at blogging. And now I feel really guilty about it. So, I’ve resolved to post more here. All my thoughts and feels. All my mini travels and huge meltdowns. I’m going to start using this as a forum for all things ridiculous again.

There’s a lot to say, and it’s Sunday, and I’m in bed and desperate for some crappy tv shows, so I’ll take this one story at a time.

Imanut, the World’s Most Well-Traveled Stuffed Squirrel

When Fiece #1 was a tiny baby, I spent a lot of time alone with her, as I would babysit for whole days. And it was during this time in her young life, when her parents were at work and she was an adorable living doll I could babble to, that I taught her to answer the question, “Who’s a nut?” by replying proudly and with a giant smile, “I’m a nut!” Fiece’s first sentence was “I’m a nut!” – which is something that will make me proud forever. For several months of her life, she thought that “I’m a nut” was my actual name, referring to me as Auntie Imanut. It was incredible. Fiece and I will share that first bit of mischief always, and I have made it a point to teach her terrible and obnoxious things for her entire life thus far, so when I was faced with moving halfway across the world from Fiece, I was heartbroken that our crazy times would come to a screeching halt. I had to get creative. And by that, I mean I stole a twenty-year-old idea from my aunt.

In the early 90s, my parents, my brother and I moved from Southern California, where literally every member of our entire family lived, 400 miles north to Sacramento, where no one knew anyone. We lived there for two years while my dad worked doing [secret government business] and then we came back to SoCal, a place I never left again before picking up and moving to the United Kingdom last month. While we gone, however, my brother and I were missed tremendously by our family, because we were so little and adorable and no one yet knew that we would grow up to be insufferable jerks. To keep in touch with us, my aunt introduced us to the Blue Bears, a pair of cobalt blue teddy bears that traveled between Los Angeles to Sacramento every few weeks. When they were coming from LA, they came with notes and photos of adventures they’d gone on with my aunt. (This was pre-email, so the photos and notes came in the actual mail.) My brother and I were blown away by the magic of these stuffed animals traveling up and down the coast of California, and we loved getting mementos of their visits to see our favorite aunt. It wasn’t until I was much, much older (too old, in fact) that I realized there were actually two pairs of bears, one at my aunt’s house and one at ours, and that our aunt and our mother had worked together to make their travels happen. The Blue Bears at our house would go into hiding in a closet when they were supposed to be in Los Angeles. Even as an adult, right now as I type this, I am struck by how adorable the entire operation was.

So, before I left for England, I decided to crib this genius idea. I bought two stuffed squirrels

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named them Imanut, gave one to Fiece for Christmas

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and packed the other one in my suitcase and brought it to England.

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Imanut has ridden on the Underground,

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gone to Stonehenge,

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visited medieval cathedrals,

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tried English cider,

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and checked out some red telephone booths.

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Most importantly, he’s gone home to visit Fiece and brought with him tons and tons of English junk food.

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When life slows down a bit and I have my feet firmly on the ground and some more free time, hopefully Imanut will collect goodies for Fiece from Prague and Venice and Pompeii and Amsterdam and Paris and Madrid, making him the world’s most well-traveled plush rodent.

If I can’t be there to have chocolate-eating contests with Fiece, I’m happy to have a tiny, nutty, sugar-fueled stuffed squirrel be my proxy. It is only fitting.

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