For a while, I wanted some artful way to celebrate the many places that I’ve lived.
I waited patiently for the right idea to arrive. I needed something practical and stylish. A framed postcard or print didn’t seem quite right.
At the same time, I was admiring the new Edinburgh mugs that had popped up at Starbucks. Edinburgh offers many an adorable souvenir that I would want to own if we moved away, featuring sites we can see in person just a few steps out the door.
When my friends Edwin and JP visited, we talked about souvenirs, and JP told me about his Starbucks You Are Here mug collection. I realised he was describing the cute Edinburgh mug. ‘Wait – there’s a whole collection of them?’
I had not seen the others, but this makes sense as I tend to seek out independent cafes on my travels, and – as I would soon learn – not every Starbucks carries them.
So I started a Starbucks mug collection.
Here was my answer! I became a temporary collector for a few months as I gathered the mugs. I happened to be returning to each of my previous homes, except Ohio, which my parents were passing through.
My set is now complete. While I enjoy seeing the designs for other cities (and lands at Disney World!), I’ve capped my collection at places I’ve lived.
I feel complete as a mug owner.
Cute mugs are among the most tempting objects to acquire, due to their ‘practicality’. Having a meaningful, matching set of just enough mugs deters me from purchasing new ones that I don’t need.
There is a beautiful simplicity in my set, which stacks and displays nicely on our tea shelf.
Part of my daily practice
When I take my tea in the afternoon, I choose which home to remember each day. When guests come over I ask them which location they would like. It’s a nice way to welcome people in, to weave story into my everyday life.
Celebrate the places that you’ve called home in a usable collection that holds meaning for you.
Put a cap on a collection to enjoy the acquisition of items, but not go out of control.
How do you remember places that you’ve lived or visited when you’re at home?
P.S. What do you collect? I collect places. And books, sort of.