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Memories Are Made Of This

texting_2416309b“I’m on the train ahead of yours.  I’ll meet you at Potsdam station.”

Just before Christmas, I was on the U Bahn and didn’t have anything to read with me.  So I decided to go through my phone and delete old messages.

This was one of the more poignant ones.  It was from a good friend (who incidentally I was on my way to meet up with).  She sent it back in August, when we had arranged to go and see a mutual friend, who was suffering from a debilitating illness.  All those weeks ago, we had found her in a better state then we had expected and were able to take her for a walk in her wheelchair.  Just a few hours before re-reading that text message, I’d heard that our friend in Potsdam had passed away the previous day.  In the midst of the sadness (as well as thankfulness that her suffering is now over), it was good to remember that lovely summer’s afternoon.

Memories are made of this.

There were other messages that made me smile.  Like several texts going back and forth as a friend and I were trying to meet up in Tallinn (Estonia).  One of them read something like “I’m standing right in the middle of the square” (implying “how can you not see me???”).  Neither of us knew the city well and it turned out we had different ideas of which of the many squares was “Freedom Square”.  We did manage to find each other in the end and had a lovely time in a cafe!

Memories are made of this.

Some texts become more significant in hindsight.  For example a friend telling me she’d see me at a certain event.  Where she ended up also meeting a young man she in now in a relationship with!

Memories are made of this.

Those seemingly insignificant little texts, calls, messages of various kinds, that make up the fabric of our lives.

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Voices All Around

Almost every household item holds fond memories […]. Now in use, they begin to talk. “I come from your mother – and I from your father.” The teaspoons say: “We come from Klara.” The silver spoons come from Wyk, the curtains from Tielen, some blankets from Breklum, etc. The old black pan from Tielen spoke so much that I almost had tears come into my eyes as I looked at it – so much did it remind me of the distant days of my youth. Every day, I am connected through my things with my beloved home, but connected joyfully because for many years, they will speak to me of the love of its people.

This quote (sorry about the “not very good” translation done by yours truly) from “Post aus Äthiopien” caught my eye! It caught my eye because it rang so true.

One of the decisions to make when moving internationally is what to take and what to leave.  Did I say “one”?  Actually, it’s myriads of decisions.  And it’s a great opportunity for a good purge, a time to get rid of things you know you’ll never use again.

Of course everyone has treasures they’ll never part with.  Then there are all those possessions that fall somewhere in between.  They are neither treasure nor junk.  Is it worth spending money shipping them to the new place?  Wouldn’t it be cheaper to replace them?

There is no right or wrong answer to this.  It’s a very personal decision.  Call me sentimental, but I shipped a ton of stuff and I’m glad I did.  As I embarked on a new life in a new place, I treasured (and still treasure) those voices from the past all around me.  The cutlery that used to belong to my grandparents.  The salad bowl that is slightly chipped but reminds of a very special trip to Hungary.  The chest of drawers that’s made “I don’t know how many” moves with me – it used to be in my bedroom in the home I grew up in.  Things that bring some cohesion to a life that can feel somewhat disjointed at times.  Things that speak of places and of the special people associated with them.

It’s all just “stuff” and yet so much more!  I am thankful to have those voices all around me.  So many people don’t.  People who have to leave their homes with nothing because of war, persecution, or to be able to make a living.