Records of memories (Collector of memories #1)

What is the difference between a hoarder and a collector? I would think that a collector keeps things that have certain values, sentimental or monetary, instead of piling everything that comes in hand. But if the hoarder actually feels and believes that everything he/she gathers has sentimental or significant value, who’s to say he/she is not actually a collector? And if a collector feels like there’s an item he/she just can’t let go, doesn’t that make him/her just as compulsive as a hoarder? Do you draw the line when the act of accumulating stuff completely takes over your life?

Before leaving for the States, I’m about to organize and box away my precious belongings that I can’t take with me. That way, if Mom and Dad were to move apartments or use my room, they can have more free space and won’t make the horrible mistake of throwing away things they thought was useless but actually wasn’t (although they wouldn’t, I think we’ve scared them enough on that point that they know it’s safer to keep things when having doubts). I’ve already packed one large box, and still have one middle-sized (hopefully) to go, and it is in such process that I came to wonder about my predisposition to…hoard collect.

As I opened my drawers, I was first faced with my academic history. I’m not talking about score reports, which were actually used when applying to universities, so they would be categorized as ‘actually useful’. I’m talking about my drawing/activity book in kindergarten, my homework notebook in elementary school, and my high school papers and exam sheets, stacked, of course, in separate plastic folders with labels on them.

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My activity book in kindergarten. Drawing short lines in color in the ‘coquillage’ (shell) and coloring the fish.

Separate sheets from first grade. I remember wondering what the heck an 'anorak' was and why anybody would need to wear that huge and thick of a jumper, as a kid knowing only of the sunny days of Mauritania.

Separate sheets from first grade. I remember wondering what the heck an ‘anorak’ was and why anybody would need to wear that huge and thick of a jumper, as a kid knowing only of the sunny days of Mauritania.

My notebook of 'poesies' in second grade. We used to stand in front of the class reciting those poems...

My notebook of ‘poesies’ in second grade. We used to stand in front of the class reciting those poems…

My French notebook in 4th grade. No, I didn't choose a specific page that had full scores solely for this purpose, haha.

My French notebook in 4th grade. No, I didn’t choose a specific page that had full scores solely for this purpose, haha.

Then came the stack of diaries, ranging from ‘drawing journals’ of when I was 5 years old, to diaries starting with ‘Dear…’, where the name of the journal keeps changing over the years, filled with how much my sister annoyed me and how Mom and Dad would only take her side, with the finishing touch of the more recent journals, not as regular as they used to be. I guess that’s one of the things I’m thankful to Mom for, for instilling the discipline and the fun that is writing; pushing us, and then, encouraging us to record our daily mishaps and … most of the time, just… well, stuff… I can’t find a better way to describe the entries of three or four lines that talk about what I ate and how tasty it was, or how I played a new game with my friends. Of course, the entries would get longer and (I think) more interesting with the years.

Diaries from first grade to about 4th or 5th.

Diaries from first grade to about 4th or 5th.

As the good Asian daughter and studious child that I was, my diaries from the above period always have two separate entries for each day, one in Korean and one in French. A plan to make me retain the first and study the second, only imaginable from an Asian mother, I think.

But as the years pass by, the diaries underneath are longer entries, going on for pages at times, in only one language at a time, depending on my mood.

I remember writing about a certain boy when I was in 6th grade or something. A few weeks later, going back, I was so embarrassed at the idea that I would be embarrassed when I would perhaps see it later, when ‘I grow up’, that I began erasing all of his names… replacing them with his simple, one-letter initial. And this is how this crush will remain… a simple letter of the alphabet on a piece of paper.

Sometimes, an event was so memorable or had made such an impact I was under the absolute certainty I would remember it for the rest of my life, and would only write about my ‘feelings’ ensuing from it. Naturally, today, I read it, and have no idea whatsoever I was referring to. I now make sure to write down all the details.

There is also, of course, my Buffy the Vampire Slayer period, and my tiny Tweety diary (see underneath for said diary) is filled with transcripts of the episodes… What Buffy said, where she was when she said it, Angel’s response, and how his brooding and dark look was breathtaking. Ah, yes, the good old days. Some things don’t change. 🙂

Diaries ranging from 6th grade to present day.

Diaries ranging from 6th grade to present day.

And of course, let’s not forget my agendas (planners/schedulers), a whole new world I was introduced to a couple of years before coming to Korea. I had my uncle ship me those agendas from Korea, since there was no way I could find them in Mauritania or anywhere else. One of the many things I am grateful to Korea is its extensive set of pretty stationary items. Koreans sure know what attracts teenagers and in my case, adults, with simple stuff as cute pens, stickers, notebooks, and the list goes on.

My agendas, in chronological order, from bottom to top, which I started around 1999-2000.

My agendas (schedulers), in chronological order, from bottom to top, which I started around 1999-2000.

Next list of hoarded collected memories coming up.

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