It is hard to figure out where to start. After 16 days away from home, I do feel like I have returned a changed person, but I haven’t processed things enough to understand fully what those changes are, or how they will manifest themselves.
I’ve returned from that trip of a lifetime – an Italian adventure that took us to several locales and allowed us to experience extraordinary sights, sounds, tastes, and emotions. I have about 1500 pictures that I need to spend time with to annotate – before it all becomes a blur of beauty. I have bags of paper ephemera that I need to review and figure out where they will be saved. And, this time I want to do it right.
So maybe I will start there. How do you preserve memories? I have always considered myself a person who journals, but I have nothing saved that I worked on as a child, teenager, or college student. I think the earliest evidence that I have are some day-by-day diaries that I started keeping when Dan was in law school – maybe even when I was pregnant. Since then, my journal keeping has waxed and waned, but I have always loved the time spent with whatever that current journal may be.
I have photo albums – some kind of in order – many haphazardly arranged – most not well labelled. Now I can recall most of the content of each, but there are those pictures that make me scratch my head a little. What will they mean someday to Sam and Ali – or their kids? Now, most of my pictures are on-line – stored in my IPhoto or uploaded into an on-line service where I can select who to share with. Last year, I decided to make copies of 100 photos of things that happened that year, and put them into an album to catalog the year’s event. The pictures are still in the envelope with the nice album purchased for that reason. I need to get that done too.
There is this blog. I have enjoyed my efforts here. I think that this forum has given me another type of opportunity to catalog things that matter to me. The fact that some people read it regularly or just happen upon it when they are searching something random, makes it a different kind of record. Deciding what is both of interest to me, and honestly hoping it will be of interest to others, can be a challenge. The reason behind starting the blog was personal, but the public nature of it is not lost.
I honestly am thinking this through as I write this. I pledge to myself, that during the next few months, I will use my blog as my conscience. It will see me through my record-keeping, and, I hope, will also share some experiences and memories of the wonderful trip with anyone who cares to read.
Several weeks before we left, I bought a soft-covered Moleskine notebook where I jotted down some things that I wanted to do and taped in some maps that I thought may be useful. While we were gone, I spent some time journaling in that book about what had gone on each day. I still have plenty of blank pages in that book that I need to fill in and I have lots of precious receipts, business cards, labels and what not that I want to include in there.
One of the last things that we bought while we were traveling was a beautiful photo album. I had seen it one day when we were strolling around Florence. I wanted it, but figured it was too expensive. By the time that I was about a block away, I decided that I had to have it. We went back a couple days later and it is now ours. It was made by a woman who learned the craft of book making from her parents. It is my plan to make it something that anyone who ever looks at it will understand what this trip was and meant.
Among the things that I want to capture:
- Getting stranded in the maze of streets in Venice as the city started to flood and every direction to our way home seemed impassable until we finally found one – at which point, Dan had to dash into an open cafe to buy a bottle of “wine to go” so we could celebrate
- Needing to learn how to read maps again because none of us had cell phones to help us find our way.
- The hearty manner in which Italian men say Buongiorno! in the morning.
- Sitting on the Campo in Siena watching an elderly couple walk arm and arm across the expanse.
Whether it is weekly or less often, I promise myself to chronicle my chronicles. I will share images (because one of the things that I love is to look at other people’s journals). I will share some stories. For what it is worth, I may give some advice for anyone hoping or planning to do something similar. I do love this blog! As a person who loves assignments and accountability, this is the best!