Yesterday, while driving home with Kris in the nasty ice storm, I spotted a Quebec license plate on the Beltway, "Je me souviens"… "I remember". The glimpse of that little license plate inspired a "blog entry in my head" (that happens to you too, right?) and sent me on a hunt around my house for some of the great souvenirs that I have collected, or that friends and family have given to me over the years.
I am completely fascinated by the way that objects, no matter how small, inexpensive, or seemingly insignificant, can elicit strong emotions and powerful memories, whether they remind the collector of a person, a location, or of a particular time in their life.
My souvenirs take many forms, as you will see… I followed no particular chronology or order, just so you know (…and I call myself an archivist!)
Two guesses where this is from Florida, 2002
A few items from my summer in Israel, 2000. Up top, I have 170 sheqalim. (According the currency converter, that is $37!) I love the colors of Israeli money: pinks, blues, greens, purples, and gold inlays. And what in the world are those below? These are some of my coolest and oldest souvenirs: amphora jar handles dating from the 9th and 10th century BCE! Yes, that is approximately 3000 years old! These jar handles were uncovered at the excavation I worked on at Tel Beth Shemesh. These, and many other pottery sherd are thrown into huge garbage heaps – unless there is something really special about them (like a stamp, etc) but these, well, they are considered "trash". Not to me! (Just so you know – they let us take them. I am not an antiquities thief!)
Magnet assortment: from our trips to Portland, Oregon, 2003; Hawaii in 2005, Heather’s trip to Cancun 2005, another Hawaii magnet, and our Boston, Massachusettes trip of 2002.
Ukulele, baby! Hawaii 2005
Wanna see some other Lolly souvenirs?
Of course souvenirs can also be amazing gifts after friends and family go on fabulous vacations and business trips…
There is a popular American t-shirt (and I am sure it is sold in other countries as well), and it says:
"My [insert relative here] went to [insert vacation location here] and all I got was this [insert expletive here] t-shirt!"
Unfortunately, I have not received any t-shirts like this, but I do have some other amazing goodies from friends and family!
My advisor in college, Dr. K, took a sabbatical in Greece and Crete one semester; when she returned, she brought back this replica of the Phaistos Disc for me. The Phaistos Disc was one of the most substanital archaeological finds of the twentieth century.
My parents brought back this really cool wire / stain glass fish after their 2003 vacation in Maine.
In recent years, my dad has been on business trips to nearly every South American country and a few Caribbean ones too. He is a geologist, and a father of three girls, so he has a great eye for unique jewelry! The lapis lazuli and gold necklace is from Chile, the amber necklace is from the Dominican Republic, and the other lovely lapis pendant is from … oops, can’t remember… maybe Chile too? (Dad: do you remember?) The coin necklace is a big favorite of mine: it is a replica coin, which may be the currencies used by the Sephardic Jews of Venezuela in the seventeenth century (it is hard to make out in the picture, but it says 1686, has a large Star of David, and includes some Arabic script which is hard to make out). Gosh, I love this thing. Definitely a conversation piece! Another favorite pendant is this Labradorite one.
My sister, Mimi, spent two summers in Azerbaijan in 2003 and 2004. Not only did she bring back some wonderful stories, but she brought me some handpainted Russian nesting dolls. Azerbaijan was part of the USSR, and Russian is still spoken, along with the native Azeri language in the country. The watercolor painting above shows another great cultural influence in Azerbaijan: Iranian culture and food. See the pomegranates? You know Lolly loves those! Also from Mimi: a mosaic box with seashells from the Caspian, and an amazing handmade bracelet.
Now its your turn! Show me your souvenirs and tell why they are special to you!
I would love to hear your stories and see your treasures! These "Collector’s Cabinet" posts are so fun for me to put together, and I so enjoy when you show me a little bit of your collection too, so if you do share, drop me an email, or leave a comment so I can see yours too! I am hoping to do it once a month, if I can find that many collections!
Knitting progress reports, and those promised Socktoberfest updates after the weekend. I promise for real this time!
PS-Check out my girl, Heather, and her new knit!