My first collection started at the age of 9, after receiving a gift from a family friend. It was a folded cardboard with a map of the United States, within each colored state, there was a circle cut out that can easily be taken out. I was intrigued after finding out that it was a coin collection board. I asked for quarters in my mom’s wallets to see what state it represented. Quarters from four to five states are created each year from 1999-2008 until all 50 states have a quarter for the respective state. It was easy to get started since most quarters I found happen to be a new one that I needed for my collection since I started in the year 2001.

After I collected all the quarters that are released thus far, it was time to test my patience and the only thing to do was waiting until the next one was released. I had to take at least four months to finally be able to find the newly released quarter to add onto my collection. I’m proud to say that I filled up the board completely as of four years year ago; however, there are still new coins that are released that the board doesn’t have cutout slots for, such as Washington D.C, Puerto Rico and others. Collecting quarters taught me the U.S geography, in locating where each state is in a fun and educational way. It also forced me to be patient because there’s nothing myself or anyone can do. That was my starting point and first collection, a catalyst for future collection ideas and endeavors.

Some collect stamps, seashells, currency, cards found on New York streets, spoons, and many others. Collecting items reflect an interest and personality trait of the collector. If no passion and interest involved in the type of item, it’s not easy to persevere through the years. It requires effort, patience and even luck to find new additions to the collection. What’s fascinating is that having one isn’t a big deal, but when a bunch are accumulated; it becomes more meaningful. Each has a story behind the item and represents something different although they are in the same category. Take stamps for example, it’s that special. Everyone have seen them on mailed envelopes and in the post offices; they can be the original first class American flag with the word liberty, justice or freedom written on it, or they can be the artistic kind of two swans forming into a heart, a seasonal stamp for Martin Luther King day or Valentine’s Day. It’s amazing to flip through a book of collected stamps from around the world and time period. They all are individualistic and yet they’re classifies under the stamps category. This can be true for coins, cards, or money, people?

I’ve attempted to start a collection for many things; while some lasted, others failed. I kept every single released vogue magazine and a few other fashion magazines that I was subscribed to, fortune cookie fortunes taped onto my desk, small eraser (smiley face, butterfly, soccer..), stuffed monkeys, and used cell phones. Another ongoing collection I have are shot glasses, resembling different locations around the globe. Despite its direct intended purpose, I find shot glasses to be fairly cheap and memorable and easy for others to buy for me as a souvenir present as well. Since it’s my first time at a Connecticut airport despite being here many times, it was my chance to get a Connecticut shot glass. That’s not the exciting news. Since I’m flying from Connecticut to Wisconsin, transferring in Atlanta, Georgia, I’m anticipating a total of three new collections to be added to the family. One down, two more to go. It’s cheap and easy to find. All airports in the U.S have gift shops that carry shot glasses with their state written on it. However, I was disappointed when I did not find any in any of the international and local airports in China! Being a collector also taught me to notice more cultural differences, I suppose. In this case, Chinese people did not view shot glass as a souvenir, something special to be sold as souvenirs. Instead, panda stuffed animals, specialty packaged snacks known for that province/region, and decoration items such as exquisite handmade chopsticks, or vivid chinese opera masks. At Moscow, they had one of the most amazing shot glasses I’ve seen. It was a metal shot glass that can be twisted and compressed into a thin disk and can be a key chain. What cultural difference does that show? Russians love to drink, never know when you need shot glass so keep it handy? The design was amazing! I’ve never seen anything like it! Unfortunately, I had no Euros or Yuan to purchase it.

I’m interested to learn about what things people collect. Stranger the better! Hair? Makeup?  I’m brainstorming of rare things to collect; if fewer people collect it, the more awesome it is. But of course, sometimes the most typical and normal everyday life things can become art, a collectible. Collectively, they become a meaningful art.

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