SouvenirsWoman in the Middle | May 25, 2012
When I was 16 I had the great good fortune to be sent on a 6 week trip with a teacher and a handful of fellow students to Europe and the mideast. You can only imagine the souvenirs I purchased and finally managed to get back home with me. I did manage to resist the urge to buy the 3 foot high camel in Egypt that looked like it was covered in cat fur. Many in my group did not resist that urge and in those heady days pre-9/11 the aisle of the plane was littered with those cat-camels.
Fast forward five years and to celebrate our graduation from college my friend Barbara and I went to England for two weeks. One of our must see places was Stoke-on-Trent where many of the English china factories have their seconds stores (or at least they did then.) Nothing says “Hard to get home” than a bunch of breakable china. Again, pre-9/11, Barbara and I staggered home with all kinds of goodies for our selves and our family.
I have to admit that I still have most of what I brought home from those two trips. But I also have tons of other stuff from a life time of accumulation as well as Hubby’s stuff and the kid’s stuff and stuff from my grandmother and my parents….So I don’t tend to bring home as many souvenirs as I used to. What made me think of all this is that I got a bowl full of hot veggies out of the microwave last night and I used my Hawaii potholder and my Australia pot holder. That is one of the things I buy now when I travel – a souvenir pot holder. It has a use and a place to go when I bring it home and when I use them it reminds me of a memorable vacation. The potholder habit started at, of all places, Graceland, former home of Elvis in Memphis, Tennessee. They had a pot holder with one of Elvis’s favorite recipes on it and it made me laugh and I had to have it. Then there was the potholder with the Space Needle in Seattle on it and I was started on my new pot holder collection from around the world.
The other thing we always try to buy now is a small print of some sort, preferably purchased from a local artist, that will remind us of our trip. I now have a vacation wall where most of those vacation pictures are located. It is fun to see new people in my house try to guess where they are all from. The Sidney Opera House and the Space Needle are easy. No one ever can guess the cotton field in Arkansas with Memphis in the distance or the bridge in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England.
We buy less now, but somehow it means more.