135 magnets equal 14 years of travel

September 12, 2019 — by Xinran Xu (Cici)

I can feel the rocky mountains below the Edinburgh castle through my fingertips. I can feel the fuzzy wool of the black and white sheep in Scotland. I can feel the rigid triangular shape of the Eiffel tower. My hands then slowly pass over the beautiful Suzhou Garden in China. The lizard with colorful tiles reminds me of Spain. The bright pink Sakura takes me back to Japan. 

I smile with extreme satisfaction. This is exactly what I want my refrigerator to look like, covered in 135 magnets of all different colors, from all over the world, waiting to bring me back to the past.

I started to collect magnets when I was 3, simply because I love bright colors and my parents love to travel. When I was younger, the refrigerator seemed huge and the open space full of opportunity. 

“Mama, why can’t we decorate this silver wall?” I remember asking my mom one time.

She somehow remembered what I asked for and bought me my first magnet when we went to France 10 years ago. Then the second, the third, and the fourth. Now wherever I go, I purchase a magnet. 

I have constructed what I call “the wall of magnets.” It is filled, not only with magnets, but with all the wonder and pure happiness that they represent. As I grow older, the value of magnets has changed from decorations to something more meaningful.

Each magnet reminds me of a unique culture. I have learned to appreciate and really understand the intelligence and beauty of the outside world through the places I have traveled in the past with my parents. My life is documented by every single magnet and the stories behind each one.