Things I Learned About Anna
To whom it may concern (you, the reader),
You must be awfully bored or remarkably inquisitive to find this. I usually keep it well hidden under my papers; even Anna has a hard time finding it. If you came with expectations to find out more about me, I apologize for misleading you. I've dedicated these recent entries to something else (or rather, someone) entirely apart from myself and my life.
I am Queen Elsa of Arendelle, but this isn't about me. This is about my wonderful younger sister Anna. The span of thirteen years had turned us from sisters into strangers. Sisters by blood still, but strangers in all other aspects. I want to change that. I have a good memory, but it's all the more satisfying and rewarding to commit my observations onto paper. Years from now, when my hair becomes truly white and maybe I'd have grandchildren of my own, I want to be able to flip through these pages and relive the memories of my sister all over again. Some findings will be expected, and others will be surprises. Either way, it will be a lot of fun. You're more than welcome to come along for the ride.
I present to you the things I learned about Anna.
SHE'S THE UNDISPUTED CHAMPION OF THE CHOCOLATE CHALLENGE.
To be the best at a game of your own invention seems contrived. But this is a title well-earned by Anna, because the Chocolate Challenge is not for the faint-hearted. Or people with small mouths. The rules of the Chocolate Challenge are simple: Each time you put a chocolate in your mouth, you have to say "I love chocolate." No chewing, swallowing or spitting out is allowed, with the exception of doing so to avoid choking and suffocation. Repeat this step until it is physically impossible to take in anymore chocolate (you lose), or you beat everyone else (you win). To prevent sugar crash or acne that would shortly follow after so much intake of chocolate, drinking generous amounts of water is crucial. This game would be quite easy under normal circumstances, given the fact that chocolate melts in your mouth and would allow room for more. That's precisely why we use a special kind of chocolate that doesn't melt so easily.
Even if I put my queenly manners aside, I could never get anywhere close to how much chocolate Anna could stuff in her mouth. Eventually we don't even compete with her anymore. We'd just watch in mixed awe and apprehension every time she attempts to break her own record. I believe her latest is twenty pieces of chocolate. One time Kristoff's look of utter disbelief was so funny that Anna practically sprayed us with chocolate as she burst into laughter. I think that only Sven would be able to outmatch her. That is, if reindeers could eat chocolate.
SHE'S A CLOWN AND A NINJA.
Anna is a perplexing case of contradictions. One moment she'd be tripping over her own feet and bumping into people, the next capering across castle roofs and sliding down spiraling stair rails unharmed. She seemed to be two things at once. I knew that half of her was a clown, but I couldn't put a finger on what that other half was.
While reorganizing Papa's library, and dusting some books unopened for years, I stumbled upon a feudal Japanese epic recounting the clash between samurais, honorable warriors, and ninjas, mercenary agents highly skilled in stealth. I learned a new word that day, and it finally came to me. That's it. Anna is a ninja. She likes to pop out of nowhere from the most unlikely places, just to startle me and get a kick out of the shocked look on my face. And somehow, strangely enough, she also manages to be a clown. I spend days trying to make heads and tails of her oscillating clumsiness and dexterity, but it might just have to remain a mystery.
SHE'S GREAT AT HORSEBACK RIDING.
Moreover, I notice that her riding style is distinct from that of the villagers and soldiers of Arendelle. Riding bareback on a horse is notoriously difficult, but Anna manages to pull it off with little effort. I never knew that Anna had learned how to ride a horse in the years we were separated. But leaving Arendelle by horse was how she had started her journey to find me. I admire her initiative and ability.
When I brought this up, Anna said that she owed it all to Batu, a stable boy she had befriended many years ago. He was four years older than her, with a round face, thick black hair and small, kind eyes, as Anna recalls. His family hailed all the way from Mongolia, the Central Asian steppe between Russia and China. They wandered west as nomads, and eventually chose to settle in Arendelle. They were content with being servants who cared for the royal fjord horses. Their people have a very intimate connection with horses, unchanged since the time of Genghis Khan. It is said that he once ruled an empire and conquered others from the back of a horse.
I'm inclined to believe that with horseback riding, Anna quickly conquered what little fears she might've had, like heights and the possibility of falling. I heard that Mongols begin riding horses as early as age four, which Anna confirmed. Batu taught her everything she needed to know. Given how risky the activity was, particularly the Mongol way of riding, I'm surprised that Mama and Papa allowed Batu and his family to teach Anna. But she showed them over and over again just how good she was on the back of a horse. She told me that even though she still wasn't allowed outside the castle, she loved to take her pony for runs across the castle grounds. She'd race with Batu, though he always won and she would promise to beat him someday. Anna didn't say anymore about him beyond that.
I didn't say it out loud, but it sounded like a friendship that could've evolved into something more, given enough time. Her smile faded then, and she told me that Batu had passed away eight years ago. During a hunt with his family, he had fallen off his horse as it slipped on ice, and he cracked his head. I wish had known him; he seemed like a good friend. As for me, I've never ridden a horse in my life. In honor of Batu, Anna would have to teach me someday.
HER FAVORITE COLOR IS GREEN.
Just as I love blue, Anna loves green. It's a color filled with life and energy, aptly suited for a bright and energetic girl like Anna. Every time her birthday comes around (which is, ironically, during the winter), I'll be sure to brighten the scene and have the castle decorated with every shade of green imaginable.
SHE SLEEPS LIKE THE DEAD.
Kai and Gerda had warned me beforehand about this. Still, I wasn't prepared to witness the amazing feat of my sister being able to sleep through anything and everything. The best and quickest way to wake her up: sending a little flurry of frost through openings of her sleeping gown.
On a serious note, I fear that Anna wouldn't be ready for something terrible like assassination attempts. One solution would be for her to share a bed with Kristoff. I like to tease them by saying this, followed by a quick reminder that such a thing would happen only after they got married.
HER STOMACH IS A BOTTOMLESS PIT.
It certainly seems that way. How she can eat so much in one sitting never ceases to amaze me. Even Kristoff is impressed with how much she eats. I suppose it's natural that her food intake correlates with the energy she spends throughout the day. Being a princess, Anna is not without table manners. She eats her food politely enough, but after asking the servants multiple times for seconds, I got an idea of just how large her appetite was despite her slim body. Looks can be deceiving. The servants head for the kitchens with knowing smiles on their faces; they must be quite familiar with Anna's eating habits. I know who to turn to when I find that I can't finish whatever I'm eating.
SHE'S A LOT STRONGER THAN SHE LOOKS.
My first glimpse of this was when Anna had promptly socked Hans square in the face. Never mind making him stumble back against the ship rail. He completely flew over it and fell straight into the fjord. After the Great Freeze, Kristoff's ice business was booming again, and Anna would help pack and unload the sled throughout the day. Sometimes I wonder if I had truly been the only one born with powers. My sister might have super strength, for all I know. I know she loves to help out Kristoff, but I have to remind her many times not to strain herself. Many times she expressed a desire of being able to lift Kristoff from the ground. Sometimes I'm not sure whether she's joking or being serious. Given her daring nature, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt. I won't let her do it, of course. She wants to test her limits and break through. She'd break through, all right. By that, I mean breaking her back.
AN UNUSUAL DAY IN THE LIFE OF ANNA CONSISTED OF "PIG," "PIE," AND "OCEAN."
This surely raises an eyebrow and warrants an explanation. Allow me to explain, then. A village farmer lost his pig, and Anna volunteered to find it for him. She found it wandering through the bakery. It had its nose and sights set on a freshly baked apple pie. She dashed for the pig just as it was about to nab the pie right under the baker's oblivious nose. Anna chased the pig all through the village, right where she finally cornered it at the port. She made a dive for it, missed, and dove into the water instead. Luckily the farmer had been nearby. He managed to catch the pig just as it was caught off guard. He heartily thanked Anna for her bravery and compassion, and in turn helped her out of the water. It would be a story to share and laugh over for years to come. Needless to say, her rose dress is still recovering from that incident.
SHE ADORES ROMANTIC NOVELS AND DRAMAS.
Anna is a shameless romantic. That much I know. It comes as no surprise to me that romance would be her favorite literary genre. She has an entire collection of novels in her room, spanning different eras and all forms of love: tragic, unrequited, comedic, and so on. It's probably the only part of her room kept consistently organized. She has a special fondness for Shakespearean romance, like Romeo and Juliet or Taming of the Shrew. In my opinion, I find Romeo and Juliet much too spontaneous and frivolous to be considered a story of true, potent romance (don't tell Anna!), but my sister always ends up in tears no matter how many times she rereads it.
One day we had the privilege of watching an Italian opera performed by a talented wandering troupe. Of course, the tragic death of the heroine was inevitable. I lost count of how many tissues Anna used to dab away her tears. When the tissues ran out, she leaned against Kristoff and dried her tears on his arm. He didn't pull away; he simply smiled and brought her closer to his side as we continued watching the opera. My little sister happy, and a man who truly cared for her…now that was romance I enjoyed seeing.
SHE HAS IMAGINARY FRIENDS.
They came into being after we had been separated. Anna considers it a step above talking to herself, but nowhere close as talking to me. The number of imaginary friends always changes, sometimes being as few as one or as many as an indefinite multitude. It depends on my sister's mood, I suppose. She's not alone anymore; she has me and Kristoff now. She hardly needs to consult her imaginary friends. That is, except when Kristoff and I disagree with her on anything. That's when she'd have her imaginary friends side with her. No matter how many times their presence proved invalid, she always took comfort in having her decisions and opinions, however wild, crazy or irrational they may be, supported by the "voices in her head."
SHE NAMED ALL OF HER TOES.
Anna distinguishes her toes from her imaginary friends, the latter being...well, imaginary. Her toes are physical and tangible; eventually she'd try to alleviate her boredom by attaching names to faces. Or toes, in this case. I'll have to commit them to memory and jot it down here, because I might just forget them all: her left foot consists of Pinky, Dinky, Minky, Tinky and Winky. Her right foot consists of Panky, Danky, Manky, Tanky and Wonky.
Why Wonky instead of Wanky? I assume you know enough to understand why. That would save me the trouble (and embarrassment) of explaining to you. When little Anna finished off the naming of her toes with the name "Wanky" for her big right toe, Mama and Papa were quick to make her consider a "better name." Anna didn't understand until later. I could imagine how many secret laughs our parents shared whenever they recalled this. Due to my little sister's chronic clumsiness, poor Pinky and Panky had their fair share of being stubbed against some rogue table or chair leg.
SHE TAKES GUILTY PLEASURE IN WEARING THIS RIDICULOUS DRESS I OWN.
Anna loves perusing through my wardrobe and checking out what I like to wear. Soon she finds out what I'd rather not wear. An envoy from Russia had given me a bright orange dress much too large for my slim figure. My momentary look of horror as soon as I laid eyes on it might've been mistaken for awe. I accepted the gift out of politeness, of course. But there's no way I'd wear it for any occasion. Not even on my deathbed. Anna, on the other hand, seems to be quite fond of it.
With no regard or care in the world for maintaining a proper image at all, Anna wants more than anything to wear the dress and, with its hilariously wide and buffered girth, "accidentally" knock down hapless young men just for the fun of it. I simply smile and shake my head every time she pleads. To this day Anna still asks and hopes I'll finally give in. Much her dismay, I will not bow. I might just have to save both of us the trouble and do away with that silly dress altogether.
SHE'S TICKLISH EVERYWHERE. (And I mean everywhere.)
At first I thought she was just sensitive to the cold. But I heard that in her search to find me, she had taken a spectacular fall into a freezing stream. In her coronation dress, to boot. I'm still amazed at how she didn't contract pneumonia and frostbite afterwards. Kristoff looked a bit embarrassed when he confided in me about his "problem" with Anna: he can't kiss her anywhere other than her lips. He'd try kissing her cheeks and neck, but that would only send her squirming and laughing in hysterics because she's so ticklish. Her hypersensitivity is a valuable piece of information to keep in mind. If she ever disagrees with me on something, I'll tickle her silly until she gives in.
SHE HAS BROKEN HER COLLARBONE.
Coinciding with her love for horses was her former childhood habit of pretending to be one. When Mama and Papa weren't looking, Anna liked to run across the halls on all fours, prancing and frolicking like a horse in full gallop. Those days of acting like a horse would soon come to an end, when one of her feet caught on the hem of her dress that dragged below her. She tripped and fell forward, slamming her shoulder onto the floor. She ended up fracturing her right collarbone. Poor little Anna cried for hours as a doctor had to realign the broken bone, reset her arm and wrap it in a cast. I wish I had been there for her, so my ice could soothe the pain and swelling. But Mama and Papa were probably right to keep me away; back then I couldn't even trust myself to control my powers. It's fortunate that my sister had always been strong, so eventually she recovered. To this day she remains active and spirited, but since then she never pretended to be a horse again.
SHE HAS BROKEN HER LEG.
For years, with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes, I kept my door shut to Anna. One day, when she was twelve and I was fifteen, she decided to try another way. If she couldn't get through my door, maybe through my window would do the trick. Anna scaled up a large tree close to my room, hoping to get a glimpse of me through perhaps an open window or with curtains pulled back. She had been so giddy and excited in her attempt to visit me, and reestablish our bond behind our parents' backs. In her struggle to crawl across a large and outstretched branch, a weaker one snapped in her hand. Anna lost her balance and plummeted to the grass below.
Her shin wasn't the only thing she broke. In the end she was never able to see me that day, and that broke her heart. Between breaking her collarbone and leg, Anna deemed the latter far more excruciating. Still, she said that the fall could have been a lot worse. She could have fallen on her back, or on her face. Either way, I would no longer have a little sister after that. This is probably one of her most bitter and painful memories, but now it's just a thing of the past because we're together again.
As you can see in the observations above, Anna is different from me in many ways. We don't always see eye to eye, but would I want a sister exactly like me? Not a chance. I wouldn't trade away Anna for anything else in the world. I can't ask for a better sister.