01 November, 2016

Memories through stuff

For some time I've been thinking about writing about how our house is full of memories of people who have passed through our lives. But I thought I'd written something like that before. However as I went searching I couldn't find a specific post about that, so it's time to write it!

As you're may be aware, more people pass through our lives than the life of a family in a more mono-cultural situation. You're probably also aware that the missionary lifestyle tends to be on a lower budget. That plus our mobility means that we often have a lower attachment to stuff. As a result we end up with a wonderful culture of sharing. A lot of sharing of stuff goes on between missionaries.

I often look around my house and think of the stories, the people associated with various things in our house. Maybe you do too? The other day I quickly buzzed around the house with my phone and took some photos of some of our things that have stories. Some of them were special gifts from family, like the first photo here, a present from my sister-in-law who breeds alpacas. But many were given by or bought cheaply from missionaries who were leaving Japan. Yes, like parting gifts. We were doing these friends a favour by taking their stuff (you have to pay to get rid of big rubbish like furniture in Japan). The unexpected cumulative effect of receiving these things is that we have all sorts of things that remind us of friends.

So here's a little tour.

First my scarf that I wore on Friday, as I said, a gift from my sister-in-law, someone I miss. The tag is ironic.

This telephone stand was left behind by colleagues who had to leave due to ill health not long before we first arrived. It's been extremely useful. 

Here is a knife stand we bought off missionaries who left 14 months ago. Beside them a couple of jars of food left over when friends left in July. 

Here are some Tupperware containers given to us by Singaporean colleagues who left Japan a few years ago. Thankfully these colleagues actually came back to Japan after a few years. I'm hoping they won't ask for their stuff back . . . 

This table was given to us by missionary friends a few years ago. They still lived close by here until recently when they had to suddenly move back to the States. Their table remains behind and is a good connection to the memories we share. 
Some of these trays were given to me by a missionary who later died in the UK due to complications from cancer, I didn't get a chance to say goodbye to her.

This bed base wasn't given to us at all, but rather the idea was passed on to us by a missionary who has now retired. However it originated with (I believe) a family who is with us here at CAJ.

Our son's guitar that we bought off good friends in Australia. It's already been on a few aeroplanes (it went to Guam with our son last month).

A camera given to me by missionary friends in Hokkaido, that I'm loving!

Our house is not a museum, all these things that people have given us or we've bought off them are being used and loved. But they do have stories and provide us with a connection with people we've enjoyed being with in the past.

Here are some other posts I've written along similar lines:

  • This is one post I recall about stuff (one of the things gained from this goodbye was the Tupperware above), though it was written at a time of pain, not with good memories of things that connect us to people who've gone.
  • Connections through recipes was about me baking stuff from recipes that my mum had given me.
  • Stories with stuff that root us to Japan not Australia.

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