Thursday, 27 November 2008

Bringing Home Your Travels

What do you bring home from your travels?

I bring home recipes, hobbies, kitchen utensils, household goods, and clothing.

Every time I use a Kenyan wooden rolling pin I am taken back to the market.

Whenever I pass the wall hangings from Mongolia I return to the steppes, to Ulaan Baatar and to friends I made there, especially Seema who gave me the second of these.

Each time I make something felted I am back in a dining room in Wolfville where Mud Mama taught Arrow, Max and me how to felt.

Most of the clothing I bring back I wear, and when I do, I remember its origins, but there are several pieces of clothing that I almost never wear. These hang on closet doors and are simply reminders of wonderful trips and experiences.

One is a Palestinian hand embroidered black dress that I bought in a store in Amman. The mother of one of my students gave me a richly coloured silk sash and creamy lace hejab to go with it and showed me where she kept the key to her house. She was a wonderful feisty woman who refused to be a hidden woman when her husband died and was by tradition, to move into her son's home to be under his care. She insisted on a key of her own, and she created a secret pocket in the embroidered bodice of her dress to hold it.

I have three African dresses and as many Mongolian traditional dresses or dels, and each has its own story to tell, but I will save those stories for other posts.

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