“So much of who we are is where we have been.”

The morning was sunny. Now the sun is hit or miss as there are clouds. Rain is coming later.

The world is catching up with me. I prefer cocooning, but sometimes I have no choice but to go out. Today I have errands, those mundane little chores which I generally eschew. Actually, I have several days worth of errands. Little stickies are all over the house reminding me what I need, and the stickies have no room to grow. I’d much rather rummage through the cabinets and the freezer than go shopping, but Maddie hates the new food I bought. For her, I shop.

For some reason, I have been a night owl of late. I don’t really mind as I can sleep in or set my alarm if I have to be somewhere. Most nights I keep busy by puttering around the house, playing on the computer, reading or watching TV. Last night it was mostly the computer and TV. I make most of my appointments for the afternoons. I am not a fan of alarm clocks. They ruled my life for far too long.

When I first moved into my house, I had a desk, a TV and a studio couch, all in one room. In the kitchen I had two pots, a frying pan and a toaster oven. I didn’t even have a fridge for the first few days. Though the mortgage was half my month’s salary, I remember sitting in the sun on the small farmer’s deck in a hand-me down blue lawn chair thinking I owned the world.

The house has come far since those early days. Each year the mortgage became a smaller percentage of my salary until it was finally paid off. Back then, in the beginning, with almost no extra money to spend, I bought furniture a piece at a time, and family and friends gave me some wonderful castoffs, including a bedroom set I still use and a rocking chair I love. The guest room beds were $10.00 each from a friend of a friend, and I have them still. An old kitchen table I bought at an auction was the first piece in the living room. It’s still there. The desk too remains. It is big and awkward and only used for storage. I no longer have the pots and pans, but they had a long and useful life.

My house is decorated with mementoes from my travels, most from Ghana. There are baskets, paintings, gourds, wooden and brass figures and pottery. From Ghana I also have a pottery bowl with a wooden masher which is used for grinding foods like hot peppers and ginger. From Morocco I have a tagine. I have a pottery coffee set from England and a few more pieces from here and there. When I use any of these,Β I feel the connections between the places and me. They are far more than souvenirs, more than memories. They are vibrant and alive.

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8 Comments on ““So much of who we are is where we have been.””

  1. Hedley Says:

    I like to bring stuff back.

    For a while I would pick up a pack of playing cards at each monument/castle/museum we visited – it was focused, easy and cheap. I filled up a cabinet that had been owned by my Grandfather and was also used for cards. I loved to get packs from street markets, usually in China but discovered that I should have no expectation that it contained 52 cards.

    I also like the bigger stuff that is scattered around. I usually have some idea of an art or artifact that is specific to a destination but sometimes not

    Throughout the year, I look for little items to go in Mrs MDH’s advent box – open a door and find a trip reminder. I also try to find Christmas tree ornaments to go with the travel.

    One day, my children will get a couple of large dumpsters and all those treasured items will be de-cluttered.

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I love to bring back gifts for Christmas. I also took for ornaments. In Morocco, I found wonderfully colored tassels for the tops of Christmas gifts.

      My tree has so many memories in ornaments. I’d like to think my family would choose to keep them as they are all Christmas bugs as my mother used to call us.

      Around the walls are framed fabric pieces, water color paintings and sculptures, most from Ghana.

      My mother used to have the same type advent box as Mrs. MDH. I loved filling all the little slots.

      I hope your children see all the love in your stuff.

  2. olof1 Says:

    I was lucky when I bought this cottage, the previous owner didn’t want to empty it from furniture’s because there are funnier things to do πŸ™‚ So I could keep anything I wanted and I anted the most and it didn’t cost me a thing πŸ™‚ I still have most of it and the quality of those things are far better than the on the few things I’ve bought πŸ™‚

    No sun here either and we’ll get rain instead of snow they say. Spring might actually arrive now because it’ll be up to 50F tomorrow and it will stay much the same for the rest of the week πŸ™‚

    Have a great day!

    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      That was so lucky that you bought a furnished cottage. It took me a long time to finish furnishing my house. Now over time I replace stuff. The couch in here needs to go. Fern clawed it to the stuffing in spots. It is on its third dog.

      It is raining right now. The day is miserable. We seem to have too much ugly weather. I’m longing for some sun.

      Have a great evening!

  3. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I used to bring stuff back from where I’d been. Now I usually just pick up an interesting pebble and bring it back. I write the location in Sharpie on the rock and put it in my rock collection. I can pick them up and remember the places where I found them and who I was with. It’s good. And it takes up very little space.

    I’ve had a strong craving for pizza the last two days so, even though I have a few errands I should do, I’m putting it off. If I go out, I will get pizza. I’m holding off until Thursday when Piki Dog has a neurology appointment. THEN I will have pizza as a preward for having to give him injections for two days. πŸ˜€

    The morning here was like yours. Sunny and cloudless. Not too cold. But at mid-morning a small puffy cloud showed up. By lunch the sky was leaden, the breeze was cold, and the air felt damp. I think it might be raining out. I’ll have to go out to be sure and I don’t feel like it.

    Enjoy the evening.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I like your memory stuff. That’s a great idea. Not only does it not take up space but it also costs nothing.

      Your pizza craving is like my seafood craving. I’d been thinking about it for a while and finally gave in on Saturday and had a clam plate with French fries and onion rings. Now I’m thinking Thai or Chinese. Two more days will make that pizza even tastier.

      It has been raining here for a while. The clouds got dark and then the rain came. It is damp and cold. The sun was here for such a short time. I am tired of ugly days.

      Have a great evening!

  4. Bob Says:

    After declitting one house, I’m more careful of the things I bring into my smaller condo. With less than half the floor space every square foot requires thought of how to make it most useful. I no longer buy things when I travel because almost everything can be purchased here or online thanks to globalization and free trade. As I get older there are less things I want. Of course in the end you can’t take anything with you. πŸ™‚

    Today it started out warm and cloudy but another cold front came through with a line of thunderstorms which I missed while teaching a class today. On the way home the sky was partly cloudy and the temperature was in the low 70s with a stiff northerly breeze.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      I like to buy things when I travel. Buying them on line just isn’t the same. Bolga baskets can be found all over but buying them from the women who wove them is so much more.

      Most of the stuff I buy is unique, different. It is fun to shop.

      It is still raining.


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