What makes a gift memorable? Faculty, students, and alumni featured in Perspectives newsletter this year were asked to describe a particularly memorable gift. From swim lessons to preschool jewelry to guava candies with a history, one thing is clear: what makes a gift special has nothing to do with the cost.
Gifts of Experiences
About ten years ago, my sister gifted me swimming lessons at the YMCA. I have always loved the water, but growing up I didn't have the opportunity to learn. This gift was very special and memorable because it gave me the opportunity to spend special time with my sister as we both were learning something new. It also opened me to embrace those aspects of learning that push you to be brave and vulnerable at the same time. I am currently pregnant, and swimming is my regular exercise. It warms my heart to know that while I swim, my baby is being doubly held in water.
Iris Viveros Avendaño
PhD, Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies, 2021
My parents gifted me the experience of a trip to East Asia (Hong Kong, Thailand, and Tokyo) in December 2019. Learning about the different cultures and celebrating the holidays there are memories that I will always cherish. Given that COVID impacted the world shortly after, I’m especially grateful for that trip.
BS, Biology, BA, Disability Studies, 2021
Gifts with Longevity
For my 17th birthday, my mother got me a pair of Beats Studio headphones — my first pair of high quality wireless headphones. This was particularly special to me because I am a huge fan of music and every song I played through these headphones sounded incredible. Graduating college and pursuing my goals has been no easy task, but I can always rely on music to help get me through whatever ups and downs I come across. Those headphones, believe it or not, have played an integral part in helping me get through my undergraduate years.
BA, Law, Societies & Justice, 2021
Just prior to getting my first driver's license and without consulting me, my father bought my first car. It was an unusual and rare car, a 1956 English Ford Consul convertible in a light baby blue. He paid $50 for it. Foreign cars in 1967 were considered out of vogue by my classmates, and I subsequently endured bullying. I grew to love the car and the experience with it became a valuable initiation to European culture concurrent with my growing interest in music and the pipe organ.
Established the Paul B. Fritts Endowed Faculty Fellowship
The Little Things
When our daughter was about five or six years old, she gave both me and my husband each a home-made set of gift certificates that she created with colored paper. Each certificate could be cashed in for a hug, a kiss, or a snuggle. She drew tiny pictures on them with her crayons. They were so adorable I kept all of them — and I still have them!
Dean, College of Arts & Sciences
When I was a child, my dad would always give me these special guava candies. They were a small gesture but a fond part of my childhood. Our relationship was always rocky, but one Christmas he really showed up and was the father I needed. That same year, my girlfriend happened to buy me those same guava candies. I opened them up and immediately started crying. The candies were a reminder of the positive memories I shared with my dad as a kid.
BA, Communication, 2021
It probably sounds like a cliché, but one of my favorite gifts was a birthday gift card from my son when he was two years old. It didn’t come in an envelope, there wasn’t a written message, and the artistic composition was a bit rough, but it was memorable nonetheless.
Jason O. Germany
Associate Professor, Industrial Design
Our kids’ preschool was awash in scraps of felted wool, which the kids sewed into all manner of strung-together creations. While most of these creations left our house long ago, I’ve kept two — felted wool “flowers,” mounted on clasps, which my kids proudly presented to me on Mother’s Day. I’m not really into jewelry, but I am into these. I wear them when I need a little love from home to be the person I need to be at work.
Associate Teaching Professor, English
Gifts of Family
I am most grateful for the Calle family. Emma Calle and I were UW volleyball teammates, and her family took me under their wing when I came to the UW from Russia. I celebrated my first Christmas with them, Emma and her mother (Jan) organized my wedding, her father (Martin) and sister (Mackenzie) made a video for my family back in Russia, and her mother gave me her grandmother’s ring as “something borrowed.” I am grateful for them.
Maria (Bogomolova) Logan
BA, Classics, 2021
The most memorable gift I've ever received is my younger twin brother and sister. As a young kid who didn't understand how the world worked, I begged my parents to have more kids. Soon and with a little luck, I was an older brother to two wonderful humans. Now they are 16, taking their driving tests and preparing for college, and it's been the best gift to mentor and grow up with them.
BA, American Indian Studies, Political Science, 2021