ninja squirrel! (忍者松鼠!)

Meet Kat­su, the nin­ja squir­rel accom­pa­ny­ing my sis­ter to the land of cute things (aka Hong Kong)! 

My sis­ter is going to Hong Kong for a year to pur­sue a grad­u­ate degree in Eng­lish-Chi­nese trans­la­tion, which is why the title of this post is direct­ly trans­lat­ed to Chi­nese in hon­our of that :D

I decid­ed to make my sis­ter a gift to bring with her on her year-long jour­ney. One of the ways we con­nect, since she was born, is through mak­ing up sto­ries for our stuffed ani­mals. So I thought it would be fit­ting to make her a plush.

Kat­su’s sto­ry stems from some­thing that my sis­ter encoun­tered. My sis­ter would have been able to write this much more com­pelling­ly, since she has a degree in Eng­lish and cre­ative writ­ing, but my lit­tle descrip­tion here will have to do…

One day in the win­ter, my sis­ter came across some squir­rel tracks beside half a coconut shell in the snow. She found it strange but thought noth­ing of it until after school she took the bus home, and spot­ted through the bus win­dow some squir­rel tracks and half a coconut shell in the snow in a field just a block away from home.

Pret­ty eerie, she thought :S

That must have been a nin­ja squir­rel trav­el­ling with his coconut, I thought :D (“Shtealth!” the nin­ja squir­rel says, in my head)

I actu­al­ly did­n’t think of mak­ing a nin­ja squir­rel until one day I was hang­ing out in a park with two friends from school. We saw some dogs chas­ing a squir­rel and we joked that the dog would nev­er catch up to the squir­rel, and then spon­ta­neous­ly we start­ed tak­ing pho­tos of our­selves pos­ing as nin­ja squir­rels… (well, what do you expect from art therapists?)

One of the friends sug­gest­ed that a nin­ja squir­rel would car­ry his nin­ja stars in a satchel. The oth­er friend said that he should have a pouch like a kan­ga­roo. I think they would be hap­py to know that I’ve found a hap­py medi­um — a fan­ny pack! :D (I still call it a satchel though, because it’s one of my favourite words.)

I can’t find four-point nin­ja stars but I have star con­fet­ti. There’s even a pur­ple one — my sis­ter favourite colour :D I stuffed them all into the satchel and put it around Kat­su’s mid-section.

But you can see his agili­ty bet­ter with­out his satchel.


I’m pret­ty proud of Kat­su, so I’ve writ­ten down the pat­tern and will share that next week. But for now, I’m going to write about what I’ve learned from my sister.

Though I have to say, isn’t it kind of sad that I don’t reflect much on how much I admire the peo­ple around me until there comes a time when I would­n’t see them for a while. Good thing my sis­ter is only going to be away for a year.

But I must write this, about how awe­some my sis­ter is. Even though she’s much younger, she taught me many things. 

I learned from my sis­ter how she humbly accepts her mis­takes and short­com­ings. She humbly acknowl­edges that she could have done bet­ter and does­n’t give her­self excuses. 

I learned from my sis­ter how she serves and helps oth­ers in all the ways she can even with­out any kind of acknowl­edge­ment or reward. She spend hours and hours every week vol­un­teer­ing at dif­fer­ent places. She only shares what she learns and the peo­ple she meets and maybe the chal­lenges she was con­cerned about, but she nev­er com­plains about the amount of work she’s been asked to do for free. 

I learned from my sis­ter how she sim­ply accepts things the way they are, and not com­plain. Her com­mute to school was a whop­ping four hours on stinky Toron­to bus­es with con­stant delays and I nev­er hear her com­plain about it (and you can prob­a­bly guess how much I despise and there­fore com­plain about bus­es…) Her school’s admin­is­tra­tion is extra­or­di­nar­i­ly dis­or­ga­nized (as I’m expe­ri­enc­ing it now, start­ing at the same uni­ver­si­ty next month…) but my mom does­n’t remem­ber the last time she complained.

I learned from my sis­ter her courage and deter­mi­na­tion. From get­ting her dri­ver’s license to speak­ing a new lan­guage to decid­ing to stay a year in Hong Kong. Leav­ing her com­fort zone. Doing what she feels is right even though it also feels tremen­dous­ly scary.

I learned from my sis­ter how she tru­ly cares about every­one around her. From the bot­tom of her heart she tru­ly, tru­ly wants them to do well and be hap­py, and she’s reli­able and keeps her promis­es when her friends need help.

My sis­ter is some­one who would look past all of my mis­takes and short­com­ings and love me with all her heart. I must say, I was rather mis­er­able and deranged in my youth and I have done some pret­ty thought­less and mean things toward her. But still, she wept with me when my heart was bro­ken and cheered with sheer joy when I cel­e­brat­ed all my milestones.

So today I cel­e­brate my sis­ter’s mile­stone, a new chap­ter in life, as she heads toward the future (indeed, Hong Kong is 12 hours ahead of Toron­to!) and embarks on a new excit­ing adven­ture in just a few hours. I am cheer­ing with sheer joy but also feel­ing in my heart a sad, sad void as I think about not see­ing her for a whole year, which is kind of unimag­in­able, but I’m sure we’ll deal with it just fine. And I’ll try not to com­plain :P 

Cheers, Cil! May your jour­ney be safe, hap­py, and full of bless­ings! Know that I’m very, very proud of you.




4 thoughts on “ninja squirrel! (忍者松鼠!)

  1. I LOVE Nin­ja Squir­rel!!!! He’s so … SQUIRRELEY!
    And the pic of you and your sis­ter as kids is adorable!

  2. thank you, Amy! nin­ja squir­rel is on the plane with my sis­ter right now, going “hi-YA!” in the suit case try­ing to kick his way through the clothes, i imag­ine :P

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