What's that? You've never heard of Agina?
Neither had I, until a few weeks ago. At first it was just a casually-mentioned locale in Sam's stories. ("And I'm the bus driver and Alli and Ella and Max and Ruby and MJ and Dora and Clifford the Big Red Dog and Uncle Michael get on the bus and we drive to Agina and eat ice cream.") But it gradually became an obsession. Everyone Sam knows lives in Agina! Every fun thing happens in Agina! And finally, every trip in the car should be a trip to Agina!
I'd love to take him to Agina! From his descriptions ("By the rivert! With the dragons! And the mermaids!") it sounds lovely. Unfortunately, my new Garmin GPS does not recognize "Agina" as a plotable destination. And I'm not about to ask for directions, as "Agina" rhymes conspicuously with, well, you know what it rhymes with. So that leaves Sam as my only source of information. I asked lots of probing questions, ("What is Agina's primary commercial export?") but "by the rivert," was the most specific geographic information Sam was willing to provide.
Unfortunately, he's eager to provide that information to everyone he meets. Yesterday, he went so far as to yell "Hey. Hey! HEY!" until he got the attention of the Wal-Mart customer service associate who was foolishly processing my return instead of listening to him. And then he rattled off a long list of planned activities: "And we will go swimming in Agina! In the rivert in Agina! And play with toys in Agina! And have candy in Agina!" The associate eyed me warily, but I didn't bother to explain. What could I say? "He's not so good with geography. Or anatomy." So we just headed to the back of the store to buy diapers.
Finally, we had a breakthrough. Turns out one of the DVDs we checked out from the library yesterday features Dora the Explorer traveling the world and stopping at famous landmarks, including the Great Wall of China. Sam was elated to see his favorite explorer at his favorite destination. That's right folks. "Agina" is just another way to say "China." "Of China," if you're going to be all formal about it. Or if you are three.
I don't have any idea who introduced Sam to the Great Wall in the first place. It could have been anyone--those pesky Little Einsteins, or their enemies, the Backyardigans. Or it might have been Dora's sneaky cousin, Diego. But whoever it was, I hope they never visit Venus.