Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Collecting Souvenirs

Last summer, as Will and I went through U.S. Immigration, the officer looked at our little blue and white form and commented with cynicism, "You brought nothing back from your trip?"  He was looking at the $0 I had written on the value of the things we purchased abroad alongside the list of five or six countries visited since we had last been to America.  I guess I wasn't completely honest, being that my underwear, socks, and jeans were probably purchased in Hungary, but we had no souvenirs or gifts for family or friends in our luggage.  We barely even filled our one-bag-each allowance. "No," we replied, "We live abroad."  He stamped our passports and into the U.S. we came.

Souvenirs were never really something Will and I collected.  What would we do with a soap dish or pottery that will just be left behind when we move to the next country?  As we've traveled more and more however, we have started a little collection...  Art.  Not the expensive kind from the gallery.  Come on - we're teachers.  But the kind we find in markets and piazzas.  The flat kind that will be easy to move from home to home and country to country.  And after a couple years, our little gallery wall is beginning to grow.

The most recent additions include...
A tile from Delft, Holland.  Famous for their blue and white pottery since the 16th century, the Dutch create Delftware.  We found our little framed tile in an outdoor antique market.  Of course our's isn't from the 16th century.  It's from the 1950's.  But it's a good little memory of a very unique town.

A local Budapest artist captured Parliament really well with her unique technique.  I met her at a local weekend market and this painting caught my eye right away.  Now we always have a good memory of our home city in Hungary.  I may buy one or two more of her pieces before we move countries.

Our cruise in October took us to Tunis, Tunisia where we picked up this small mosaic.  Again, in a market.  The medina's winding streets led us to a vendor who had home-made mosaics, complete with black duct-tape on the back to hold it together.  

Other pictures on the wall remind me of our honeymoon to Europe, traveling with my brother and sister-in-law in Rome, and our life in Kenya.  Maybe before we move from this flat the pictures will reach the tip-top of the wall.  I hope so.

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