A little story for Valentine’s Day

I was cleaning my office the other day, and I came across something that made me smile. It was a Kinder Surprise that Kat gave me September 12, 2009. How do I remember the date? How could I not…

Our first date was May 20, 2005; we met at West Edmonton Mall and went to play a game of mini-golf (glow-in-the-dark), and then for a bite to eat at Boston Pizza (I ate while Kat watched me – apparently she wasn’t hungry). It wasn’t a typical date, as it was interesting, and didn’t involve two people sitting in a crowded movie theatre, but it worked. It was also the first time Kat had played mini-golf, AND she got a hole-in-one. We met on LavaLife.com and started chatting online before deciding to meet up (I remember wanting to meet her earlier, but I had a trip to Vancouver planned, so it had to wait). Kat would later tell me that she had no intention of actually meeting, because I wasn’t her type. The date ended with me dropping her off at her place, wondering whether I should try to kiss her when she asked me, “Well, are you going to kiss me?!” It was unexpected, and a relief; I didn’t have to worry about rejection. Phew!

That date lead to another, and another, and another. Kat would start spending weekends at my place, then she would move from the West end to an apartment a few blocks away, and then finally into my condo. It was the first time I had lived with someone that wasn’t a family member, and it went really, really well. Eventually we would move into our house; a sure sign that we were in this for the long haul.

So, what made that Kinder Surprise so special? Inside was a note:

Obviously I said yes. We already had a trip to Las Vegas planned, so we turned that into our wedding. We managed to keep it a secret; only our friends Tyler and Lara knew, and that’s only because we invited them to join us for the wedding. November 21, 2009, almost exactly 6 1/2 years since our first date, we got married in our hotel room at the Venetian. It was a wonderful day.

So there’s my little story of love for today. I’m glad I said ‘yes’ to the question Kat asked.

Ukrainian Kinder Surprise Time!

So, I finally cracked the case of Kinder Surprises Kat got me… about 5 years ago. No, I’m not going to eat the chocolate (it looks kinda nasty), but here’s the first Surprise I got. It’s one of the featured toys on the box (some kind of magic club) – a witch. She has a magnet in the bottom of her, and there’s a magnet in the bottom of the broom so she can magically push the broom away from her. Kinda neat!

Witch

Witch with Broom

My Fascination with Kinder Surprise Eggs

I really like those little Kinder Surprise eggs you can find alongside the grocery check-outs. I think the chocolate is okay, but I buy them for the toys inside. The first time I really remember buying them was at a school track meet held at Strathcona High School when I was in grade 7 (12). There was a 7-11 nearby, and I walked over and bought a few of them, opened them up, and went back for more. I was fascinated by the various toys you could get inside, things that would come in small pieces and had to be put together. I’ve often wondered who designs these wonderful things, and how smart they must be to create a little model that has to be interesting, yet also fit into a tiny egg. Have you ever taken a single piece out of a Kinder egg and been unable to get it back inside? How on Earth do they get all those pieces to fit so perfectly? It’s either brilliance, or dark magic.

When I was 14 I went to Israel with my school, and I found Kinder Surprise eggs there as well. The toys were different from the ones we had in Canada, and at the time they had a special series featuring Asterix, a character that’s very popular in Europe, but a bit less popular in North America. It was on this trip that I realized the eggs held different surprises around the world, and I became interested in what other toys could be found in other countries. I’ve bought eggs, or had them given to me, from Canada, Israel, Mexico, France, Bulgaria, Belgium, UK, Germany, Italy, Ukraine… and probably one or two other countries. I usually get the small toys, but around Christmas and Easter they bring out a line of over-sized eggs, which I usually buy a day or two after the holiday at heavily discounted prices. I’ve often taken cases of them down to friends in the US because you can’t buy them there (unless they were illegally imported) because of FDA rules (I believe they don’t allow toys to be inside food items).

Out of all the eggs I’ve ever opened, there’s one that I’ll never forget, and it was given to me by my wonderful wife, Kat. We went out to Von’s, one of our favorite restaurants, for dinner, and she pulled the egg out of her purse. I opened it up, but I didn’t find a toy inside, I found a little note that said “Will you marry me?” The answer, of course, was yes.

Though I enjoy the Kinder Surprise Eggs, and I probably have all the toys I’ve received, I don’t have an obsession with collecting them. I’ve never completed a series, and I’ve never tried to either. I enjoy the toys that do something interesting, or ones you have to build. I don’t like the puzzles, or the little figures that don’t do anything. When Kat was in Germany a few years ago she brought me back a German catalog that contains photos and information on all the Kinder Surprise toys ever made. It’s a massive book, with nearly 1,600 pages, and has tons of toys per page. It’s broken up by category, and by year, and provides a neat visual history of the various toys you could find in the eggs. If only I read German!

I have a ton of Kinder eggs that I haven’t opened yet, and I thought it may be fun to start opening them and posting photos on my blog. I have a couple of cases from Canada, two cases from Ukraine, and various eggs from all over Europe. Look for photos coming soon.

P.S. I will gladly accept donations of Kinder Surprises 😀

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Just some of the eggs I have to open

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