Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Tale of the Twiga

My friend Kate just forwarded me the photo below and it got me thinking about how I've never documented the tale of the twiga (pronounced twee-guh). I mean, I know the story and those in the herd know the story, but it's never been written out for the world to see. My sister tells it much better, but here goes...


Once upon a time, a group of fourteen (!!) went on trip to Walt Disney World. One day, while in Animal Kingdom, we made a game plan for our visit to the Festival of the Lion King. You see, they split you into various sections in the theater, and each section is assigned an animal. Everyone knows the lion is the best animal and we wanted to be sure we made it to the lion section. We didn't. Instead our group got shuffled over to the giraffe section. Totally lame, right?! We certainly thought so.

We pouted a bit, but nothing could keep this group down, so when the cast member asked for a volunteer from our section, Joe's hand shot up very enthusiastically. He was chosen and was asked to tell the crowd how to make a giraffe noise. It's hard to describe the strange noise that he made (something like a crazed wild turkey, but weirder). We all got a good laugh, learned that a giraffe in fact makes a low bleating noise, like a sheep, and that you can mimic a giraffe by holding your arm straight up with your fingers pressed against your thumb to make its head. And we moved on with our day.

As I mentioned, our group was 14 (!!) people strong, and was composed of my immediate family, some extended family and a few friends. As you can imagine with a group that large, especially with a mix of ages, we split up and later met up quite often. Some would go do Space Mountain a million times in a row (sadly, not me - pregnant with Chuckles), while others waited in line for forever to ride Peter Pan (worth it). One evening, while waiting for Wishes (the fireworks show) to start, a handful of us went on a food run. On the way back Mark got lost in the shuffle. The shuffle of a couple thousand people.

Have you ever stood amongst a couple thousand people, trays of food in hand, and tried to find the rest of your group? Yeah. No fun. We could see Mark and were waving to get his attention, but half the crowd was doing the same thing, trying to get the attention of their lost group member, so no luck. Then one of us, I'm not sure who, decided to mimic the giraffe, with an arm straight up, hand fixed to look like a head. The rest of the group joined in. And in the distance, you could see Mark's hand raise up in the air, in giraffe pose, in response.

We quickly discovered that this giraffe move was a stroke of genius. No more waving to try to get someone to see you, or trying to remember what shirt someone was wearing to try to find them. We simply agreed on a meeting place and made the giraffe symbol until the whole group was together. We later learned that twiga is Swahili for giraffe and have referred to ourselves as twigas ever since. We even captured ourselves a bona fide twiga named Machupa (Swahili for he who likes to drink) and he's become our roaming gnome of sorts.

It's cheesy to be sure, but the giraffe twiga has become our thing. Charlotte and Oliver both had baby showers with a subtle giraffe theme. Our trivia team was named "Twigas" for a while (until we got tired of the emcee butchering the pronunciation). We made matching twiga shirts for a future Disney World trip. The list goes on and on. Definitely cheesy, but the best kind of cheesy.

Do you have similar inside jokes within your family? Or your group of friends?


marie said...

I laughed through most of the story! You captured the moment(s) so well!

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