Hi, it’s Grundy!  Now that you’ve met me, let me introduce you to some of my friends.  

There’s only six of us here in this picture so we’re not quite complete, but you’ll meet the others another day.

Left to right: Meet Sal, Beeg Waffi, Trix, Patch and 大白兔 (Da Bai Tu).  Of course there’s me too – I’m the bear in the middle.

Sal

Sal and I met when her owner Christina brought her over from New York to Wisconsin to Taiwan and then back to NYC many years later. It’s quite a feat that we even met, because I am from Rockhampton, Australia, and had to make quite a journey myself to NYC eventually.  Sal told me that she grew up in LaGuardia Airport at the bookstore nearby the food court.  She was sitting with some other friends when Christina spotted her, approached her, and decided to take her home to be with her mom, who was sick then and in hospice.  

Sal has had a lot of adventures, namely a major one to Taiwan where she spent a lot of time with Christina’s grandparents.  It was there where she met my owner, Alex, Christina’s husband.  Sal told me she was a bit scared of Alex at first because he would throw her up in the air and then catch her.  Then after a while, she came to really like it and sometimes Alex would even carry Sal in Christina’s backpack.  

Sal and I spent some time together where she revived my love for ice fishing.  You see, in Rocky, I had become accustomed to camping and fishing in hot, humid parts.  But she talked a ton about ice fishing so at the end of 2018, after Christina visited Australia for Alex’s sister Lara’s wedding, Christina brought me back to NYC where I attempted ice fishing with Sal.  It was incredibly fun and I even put on a hat and scarf to brave the chilly conditions!  

Beeg Waffi

Beeg Waffi and I are still getting to know each other because it wasn’t until I came to NYC officially that Beeg Waffi and I met!  But Beeg Waffi and her owner Christina go way back to when she was still in high school, living in Wisconsin, and taking piano lessons.  Apparently, Christina would sometimes dread piano lessons when she hadn’t practiced all week even though her piano teacher Nick and his wife Lise were amazing friends of Christina’s parents.  She sometimes would take a nap conveniently before piano lessons so that no one would bother to wake her up and she could potentially prolong not going to her lesson.  You can see that Nick and Lise were great friends with Christina’s parents because they would even drive to their house for piano lessons!  

One day, it was around Christina’s birthday and Christina just had not practiced.  She could usually sight read just enough to get by but never truly put her potential into piano because she preferred violin in general and sometimes didn’t apply herself, even though she had the natural knack for music.  Christina’s brother Chris tried to wake up Christina for her piano lesson.  In his hand he held Beeg Waffi and he said to his sister, “Ting-na!  It’s a beeeg squirrel!”  Christina’s favorite animal is the squirrel, and Christina’s piano teacher and his wife knew this.  They had gotten her a jolly, jovial and joyful grey squirrel.  Beeg Waffi told me that Christina couldn’t tell at first it was a squirrel her brother was showing her because she was quite blind without her glasses on, so Beeg Waffi looked like a beeg grey blob.  But she is anything but a beeg grey blob.  She has shown me a love for going to Pizza Hut.  

I knew growing up that my owner Alex had worked for Pizza Hut and sometimes would come home smelling like a pizza, and Beeg Waffi told me too that she had grown up eating Pizza Hut, but she hated Little Caesars.  Sometimes for a treat she would frequent Gino’s East in Chicago for some delicious deep dish, but only occasionally, as it was quite special.  I hope to continue to explore our taste for pizza together in NYC after PAUSE has ended and when it is safe.  We will dance together to go get pizza, which is her preferred method of travel to any pizza locale.

Trix

Trix and I met in Australia after she made the journey from Taiwan in 2016.  Trix, short for Beatrice, grew up in a very busy area in Taipei at a night market called Ximengding.  She and her bunny sisters were sitting on a magic carpet all grouped together observing the passers-by and the shoppers, seeing hundreds to thousands of people each night and hoping that their newfound owner would stop and find them.  

She shared with me about the night that Christina and Alex discovered her.  She could tell that they had had quite the night because in their hands were some spoils from their bargaining and also they had the aroma of 7-Eleven beers while chatting.  Apparently, from what Trix could understand, Christina and Alex were fighting for an hour while shopping and then decided to chill out with a few beers and got better.  As they felt slightly tipsy, Christina spotted Trix on her magic carpet ride, squished in amongst her sisters.  Trix smiled up at Christina and Christina picked her up and turned to the seller, and then Alex decided to pay for Trix’s way to a new home. Christina and Alex instantly made up and Trix was smiling all the way home when her new owners took a WRX cab with a sick spoiler back to Alex’s apartment.  

Trix and I hang out together in the city.  Our personalities work well together because I’m quite an observant and analytical bear who recently has tried my hand at more spontaneity and she will always encourage me and smile at all of my stories, even when I’ve been a bit rebellious towards my owner.  Trix is great.  She loves to jump into flowerbeds and give hugs.

Patch

Patch is like my big sister.  We are family and though we haven’t known each other all our lives, it certainly feels like we have.  When Christina moved to New York initially after time in Taiwan and Australia, Alex visited her after 9 months or so in NYC.  And Patch told me that she traveled in Alex’s backpack and was a surprise from Alex and his mum for Christina.  

You see, the way I learned about Patch’s background is that Patch was not doing well and basically in pieces, almost in shambles when Alex and his mum decided to help put her together.  Alex said she could not see very well and so he and his mum found a way for Patch to have eye surgery.  Patch also had been through a lot and was quite sick at the time but through her uniqueness and her patchwork of stories and experiences, she learned to harness her personality and accept herself.  She had always been made fun of for her big ears but later on in life realized that she was an especially great listener so she owned herself and she’s been helping others ever since. My owner Alex has even said that Patch is someone we can all lean on.  

Patch is in a way like my sister, my grandma and my mum all at the same time, if that makes any sense, and I love Patch very much.  She understands what it is like to see blue skies with our bird friends chatting away amidst palms and occasional bushfire smoke.  She understands that our environment is important and the nature of Australia is extremely special.  She loves our home’s flora and coming from the same place, we have a bond that is inexplicable.  

大白兔 (Da Bai Tu)

Large White Bunny.  That is the literal translation of Da Bai Tu’s name.  For simplicity’s sake, we sometimes refer to her as DBT.  DBT and Trix have a relationship similar to that of my relationship with Patch.  As DBT is from Taiwan and has trekked to New York just like Trix has, she understands the culture of the collective from the east as well as the notion of individualism in the west.  

DBT and I met in New York and we bonded as we both embodied unconventional sizes for our respective animal types.  A small bear and a gigantic bunny.  It’s quite funny because as I come from Australia and my ancestors were megafauna, one might think my stature would have been more grand.  With DBT coming from a small tiny island, one might think that she would have been born a bit tinier, especially for a bunny.  But this is probably the reason why we bonded so tightly right off the bat, because we didn’t fit the mold for our animal types and we are okay with it and want others to know it’s okay too.  

DBT has yet to visit Australia.  After her owner Christina left Taiwan to go to Australia and then back to the states, DBT stayed with Christina’s grandparents because she wanted to take care of Christina’s grandma.  Before living with Christina’s grandparents, DBT was in the land of academia, living in a university bookstore and stationery shop in Taipei.  One day, when Christina and Alex were at the store looking around, Christina spotted DBT and after some song and dance, so to speak, Alex caved and decided that DBT should be part of Christina’s posse.  Nowadays, in NYC, DBT will often retreat to her carrot-shaped house that has multiple levels connected via a spiral staircase that reaches up to an amazing rooftop space.  After I learned how to fly in NYC, I would often take a shortcut and fly to DBT’s roof instead of accessing the front door on foot.  DBT always makes the most scrumptious cinnamon rolls to share with me.  As you can imagine, I’m quite a happy bear, because she makes the cinnamon rolls in megafauna dimensions for, in comparison, a very tiny me.  

My crew is super cool.  We just jive and get one another.  We are continuing to discover more about each other and love traveling together and learning from one another.  I’m so happy to have made so many good friends, true blue brothers and sisters.  

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