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Photo by Michelle Ho

Portinga carries world in pockets

Sophomore Jasmine Portinga has the world in her pockets. Literally. From the summer going into third grade, Portinga and her family went vacationing in Taiwan where she purchased a black jacket.

“I started wearing that [jacket] all the time, and I didn’t want to take it off because it was fuzzy around the edges and nice,” Portinga said. “Then I grew out of that one and moved into another one and after that, another one which was from 8th grade to the beginning of 9th. Now I have this fluffy one, and I just wear it because it’s what I do.”

These were no ordinary jackets. Ever since third grade, Portinga would pick up anything she thought was “cool” and put them in her pockets. She would keep them and “fidget” with them whenever she was in class. Over time she has put and kept many objects into her jacket pockets.

“I have a pencil box, an umbrella, a tape measure, a marble that I found, my ID cards, all these folded up papers, the school schedules, pens, a little notebook, my glasses case, some spare rubber bands, a calculator, a yo-yo, a comb, a deck of cards, and bobby pins that I put on the inside of my jacket so I could tighten it,” Portinga said.

Of all the objects Portinga has accumulated over time, she would consider her umbrella the most valued thing she has because of the sentimental value attached to it. Portinga’s friend who had just moved in from Hawaii could not deal with the sun, so instinctively, Portinga began to carry around an umbrella for her. However, when her friend moved back to Hawaii, Portinga continued to keep the umbrella in her pockets.

“I keep it as a reminder of her [the friend],” Portinga said.

According to Portinga, many find it difficult to imagine her without her beloved jacket. One time in 8th grade, she recalls passing out flyers for science club during 7th-grade lunch and took off her jacket in order for her to runner better and faster. When those who knew her saw her without her jacket, they couldn’t believe their eyes for they have never seen her without covered arms. Over time, those around her have come to accept her for who she is and what she wears. Even if it is be 99 degrees outside, she would still wear her parka.

“Honestly, I think I have worn it for so long, that it has [sort of] been just part of me,“ Portinga said.

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