Wednesday, August 26, 2009


At home I have a couple of shelves where I keep little mementos, photos, and other items that I picked up during my travels or are given to me as gifts. Looking at it now it is interesting to look at the items and recall their history:

• United Nations desk flag -- a souvenir of when I visited the UN building in New York
• two Remembrance Day poppies, British style. Can't remember where exactly I had picked these up, I have kept them so that I will have a poppy handy when it approaches Remembrance Day since they are not widely distributed here in Qatar
• pewter clamshell for holding business cards -- received in Dubai at a conference.
• Three Christmas cards from friends over the years, two from Doha and one from my friends Knut & Petra in Bermuda. My cleaner sometimes tapes them up on the wall of the shelf when he sees them loose there.
• One wooden recorder (the instrument), Slovakian. Given to me by my Slovak friend Martin as a going away present when I left Bermuda.
• Small Egyptian ankh, might be some type of soft stone like sandstone. From a merchant in Luxor.
• Empty box for holding a small wooden box for use as a business card holder. The wooden box is currently on my desk at work and has the faces of Chinese opera characters on the top. The empty box has a silk interior and is labelled " The World Congress of Scientific Inquiry and Human Well-Being: Improving Science Spirits and Building Harmony Society (no, I am not accidentally misspelling or missing any words). This was a science/critical thinking conference that I attended in Beijing in 2007.
• birth announcement of my friends Carrie and Kamahl's daughter
• stuffed toy, Panda wearing a blue silk Chinese apron -- purchased at the airport in Shanghai as I had some small bills of Chinese currency I wanted to get rid of.
• Goodbye card from the Bermuda Monatery Authority signed by the staff. Karen in the Communications Department made the card herself using pictures of me taken over the years at work functions and in the office (the cover is a picture of me sleeping on a couch in the breakout room, someone had made decaf coffee that day and not told anyone so by the afternoon I had a splitting headache from caffeine withdrawal!! I took some aspirin and lay down for a second on the couch. I fell asleep and people immediately called Karen over to take a picture)
• five pictures of family members, mostly of my niece but one photo of my brother's wedding. (I do have some pictures of my nephew Aiden but they are on the desk at work.)
• Small silver decorations (6-7cm) in two frames, one of a shisha that I received at a conference in Dubai, the other of an Omani dagger with a sheath, purchased in Oman.
• A tray containing items gathered from various Qatar Natural History Group field trips:
o five desert roses, ranging in size from 5 to 25 cm
o two fossilised shark teeth
o three fossilised shells about 2-3 cm in size
• carved wooden box, Nepalese -- given to me by my friend Mary when she stayed over in Doha for a few days on her way back to London from Nepal. She had been in Nepal teaching secretarial skills to teenage girls at an orphanage. I use the box for holding the contact details of various friends.
• Two iron spikes from the Al Boom restaurant in Kuwait City, a large wooden boat that now serves as a floating restaurant. They give you the spikes as souvenirs.
• A set of wooden salt & pepper shakers, purchased from a market stall in Poprad, Slovakia
• a small stone urn carved to resemble a canopic jar with the head of Horus. Purchased from a merchant in Luxor.
• A thin metal ashtray, carved with a picture of a camel in the desert and my name in Arabic -- from Tunisia. A Tunisian-French colleague got married there and brought these ashtrays back everyone in the office.
• . . . and a partridge in a pear tree! (just kidding)

As time goes on I'm sure I will add more things, and this does not include other items I have from Bermuda that I keep in another part of the apartment.

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