Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Violins. and other things left behind

Last year, my parents gave me a violin for my birthday. I was living in the highly unusual city of Dili, Timor Leste, and felt like I needed more music in my life so I could keep my soul together. One afternoon, I left work, drove to a little music shop and picked out a cheap violin. The next day my parents gave me the money to pay, and I started practising scales, enjoying the sound and the discipline after many years of string silence.

This week, on my birthday, my parents asked me if my violin had survived the journey from Dili to Cart um. No, it had not, I told them. Since I left all of a sudden, a friend packed up my things for me, and we agreed that anything someone in Timor might use would be left there. A young orphan girl reportedly inherited my cheap plastic Indonesian violin.

My mom was sad about the loss, but I think she understood. She asked me to write a blog about things lost - that which is left behind on every move I make, so here is a shortened list of the highlights from the last couple of years. I find an interesting juxtaposition between this and a blog I wrote recently about loss and violins. This violin was not a loss, it was a re-gift.

Here are some other things that have stayed where I have left.

Coffee press. Actually I often leave coffee presses behind. The first one was about two years ago when I left Jordan, but my parents recovered it and brought it back to me. I'd already replaced it, left it behind, and bought yet another one.

I think I left a coffee press in Cyprus. The girls I was living with had a large coffee press but often only wanted coffee for one person. So I left them my single-serve coffee press.

Computer speakers. The day after I arrived in Kosovo, I decided that my cozy little ground-floor flat was quiet and lonely (despite being next-door to a night club). So I went out and bought myself computer speakers. I bequeathed them, and several other houseware items, to our cleaning lady, a kind and needy woman who wasn't ashamed to ask for things.

Havaianas. (flip-flops) My dear Syrian friend came to visit me in Kosovo. Her flip-flops broke while there, but she massaged the rubber and put them back together again. I followed her back to Syria, and a month later, when I left, I handed over my own pair. They were much newer and nicer, but the same brand and absolutely replaceable.

Running shoes and yoga pants, and capoeira painting. Many many items were left behind in Timor, but these three are the ones I seem to miss the most. An avid runner, I've been pounding the pavement, sand and treadmills in some cutesy style trainers for the past nine months, and was hoping those days had ended. Alas, my shoes stayed behind. As did my yoga pants that I'd bought in Cyprus to celebrate my new favourite sports activity.

The capoeira painting was made with used coffee filters. A more Brasilian item of decor may not exist. How could I not leave it to my American-dominican-capoeiraplaying-wannabebrasilian friend in Timor?

Coffee press. I actually left behind two coffee presses in Indonesia. The first one I intended to leave so I already bought its replacement - a nicer version that I wouldn't be leaving behind. But the first one broke and I couldn't bear to leave my fellow coffee-lover without a coffee press.

My suitcase. This one may have been the hardest to part with. This suitcase has been to three dozen countries with me. I can pack it so no space is left empty and it still doesn't tip the balance of the airlines' weight limit. It first traveled in September of 2001 when I started this journey, and has stayed by me faithfully, through brutal searches, broken zippers, flooded baggage holds, long walks on rocky ground, and so much more. But when I arrived in Haiti, the repair job on the zippers was failing and the second-generation wheels were giving up. I hid it in a closet and walked out the door, refusing to look back.

This is a short-list, and none of these items are truly losses. I choose to believe that all are being used by people who appreciate them. And I already have a new coffee press! Actually this one was a gift from family, so I hope to not leave it behind.


NRIGirl said...

Hi! Nice to see your blog. Enjoyed the post on things left behind.

Care to join for some Coffee with Jesus?!


David N. said... life officially sounds boring now.

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