Well, I couldn’t bring my collection of Vogue magazines or my stone Buddha to India. I had to distill the processions I had accumulated over twenty-four years down to a single suitcase. Here are several of the sentimental things I brought to India with me…
Postcard of my favourite painting from my favourite museum
I have so many happy memories of the Ashmolean museum in Oxford, I brought a postcard of my favourite painting in museum, a painting by Frederick Sandys. The painting is called Gentle Spring, there is just something about it that I love. The woman is not traditionally attractive but strangely beautiful.
The first time I visited the Ashmolean I was about ten, it was on a school trip to see the exhibits from Ancient Egypt, I remember being fascinated by the dainty and delicate amulets, thousands of years old but still in beautiful condition, only inches away from my face pressed up against the glass. The deep blue of the lapis lazuli trinkets and smooth scarab beetles. After that, I visited this museum many times, each time finding something new to marvel at.
I use my Gentle Spring postcard as a bookmark, so I see it everyday.
Stereotypical souvenirs from my birth place
I spent a couple of hours roaming Bath in the days before boarding my one way flight to India, thinking about the past and the things I would miss about England. I bought some of Baths healing waters and a Christmas tree decoration with the Gorgon’s’ face on it (the Gorgon’s face was at the entrance on the ancient Roman temple to Athena, found in the center of modern-day Bath).
My elephant family and romantic giraffes from Ghana
On my first trip abroad without my family, I travelled to Ghana to volunteer in an orphanage. The experience changed my life and I am reminded of the lessons I learnt in Africa by the little hand craved animals I brought back with me.
My favourite perfume
Even though I am no longer a mademoiselle (an unmarried women in French), coco mademoiselle is my all time favourite scent. Smell is so powerful, it can bring back hundreds of feelings and memories in an instant. When I am feeling a little low, I put a little on my wrist and instantly feel a little better.
My great-grandmother Japanese musical jewelry box
I couldn’t part with the beautiful music box, I was worried how it would travel but luckily it arrived in India still in one piece. Inside are a couple of my favourite pieces of jewelry. It is painted beautifully, inside and out, and the edges are laced with mother of pearl.
Last but not least, photographs. Photos of family, friends and events; sometimes they make me feel a little sad because I am so far away but usually they make me smile.
What would you pack if you had to put your life into one suitcase?