This year on Christmas, we received an unexpected invitation from the parents of a boy who our son goes to school with to have Christmas dinner with their family. During our visit I noticed their Christmas tree was full of ornaments from all over the world. From Finland to Missouri, their tree was adorned with keep sakes from almost every country or state they had ever visited. In more than twenty years together, this couple of Chinese parents born in South Africa had traveled the globe and brought home reminders of their visits.
“Everywhere we go we want to bring something home but that just leads to clutter around the house. So instead we decided early on to buy an ornament instead. This way each year when we put up our tree no matter where we are living at that time in our lives we can see the world we have traveled in one place.”
I don’t have a tree decorated in my house with the places I’ve been, but if you open one drawer in particular in my breakfast nook you’ll find medals from races I’ve run throughout the states. When my husband and I were still dating we began the tradition of running half marathons in different states. It started when my brother-in-law decided to run in all 50 states by the time he was 50. We decided it would be fun to join him for as many of the races as possible. What I came to enjoy was the experience of getting to know a city by running through its streets and meeting it’s people cheering on the sideline. You can feel the distinct cultural differences of every location just by the way the crowd shows up to greet you.
Even the cities I’ve not raced in, I’ve run in and I what I can tell you about them comes from my perspective running through them.
What about you? How do you collect and save the memories of your life experiences?