I came across a blog by an expat recently who talked about bringing enough personal items to your new homeland to make yourself feel really comfortable in your surrounds and it struck me as I looked around my home just how many of my favourite things I was lucky enough to have with me. I have made these walls mine with photos or paintings purchased throughout the years. Each room has a little something, a knick-knack that says this is Janey’s or this is The Turk’s or even Daughter’s. Seriously you should see her room. It is a plethora of colour, sound and motion. A little of everything but very much screams her name as soon as you walk through the door. So what are my favourite things?
“Juicy” by Cel Pallas-Hones.
I loved this piece of art the first time I laid eyes on it while at a gallery opening in Sydney. I watched people circle around it knowing that I could not afford it at that time but wishing that it was mine. When my circumstances changed the one luxury item I allowed myself was this piece of art and it is one of my prized possessions. It is funny to watch the reaction of Turkish people when they enter my home. They notice the piece. It’s hard not to. The best reaction was by my teyzer (aunt) who examined it closer, tilted her head to the side and turned to me and whispered, “All female parts are sweet like portakal (orange)”. I nearly fell of my chair!
“Mum and Dad”
I love this photograph which was given to me by my sister in law a couple of years ago. I am not sure but I think this is the night that Mum and Dad got engaged or maybe at their engagement party. Young love. Happy. Dreaming. Ready to start a life together. Looking at this photograph I do it with a tinge of sadness. Of course it is because I have lost them both but also because this was before the health issues, before the miscarriages, the news that my mum could not have children and before my mum’s diagnosis of Muscular Dystrophy. This photo shows their pure happiness and I love it. This photo has always sat on my dressing table in my bedroom and this is where it is today along with a very special photo of my father with Daughter on her first day of school.
“Le Restaurant La Colombe”
This print was originally owned by my favourite Aunt Joyce. As a child I would revere in her stories as she travelled the world visiting all its four corners from Paris and New York (where she lived for many years), to Cairo, Russia, the South Pacific and all over Asia. She had the most romantic and exciting life and I wanted desperately to be just like her. This print lived on my Aunt’s kitchen wall for many years, and then it moved to my Dad’s kitchen wall. Now it resides on my kitchen wall where I hope it for many years before being passed onto Daughter to brighten up her kitchen wall and to remind her of her family.
I brought this dusty old Buddha when I was backpacking around India in 1999. I was unbelievably sick in India and all I wanted to do was to go home and die in the comfort of my own home but before I left Varanasi I tramped down to the gnats through some markets and I saw this little Buddha. Not too big that it was burdensome to a backpacker (even if I was a backpacker who was desperate to go home) he was purchased from a little shop in Varanasi by a man who swears he carved it himself. I tended to believe him too as he was missing a finger on his left hand. After some bartering (and discussions about his family, his business and his life) I walked away with my Buddha and he was left with a smile. No doubt I should have bartered some more.
“My Mum’s Pavlova Plate”
Who doesn’t love Pavlova? Well actually Daughter does not love Pavolva but every other true blue, dinky di Aussie in existence loves the famous Pav. Named after Russian Ballet Dancer Anna Pavolva the Pav was standard fare on Christmas Day in our household. I know we do not celebrate Christmas over here in Turkey but I made a big ass Pav on Christmas Day for the family to enjoy. To be honest they didn’t love it. Perhaps like Vegemite, it is an acquired taste but damn it I love a Pav and I love my Mum’s Pav Plate (and its terribly handy with the instructions on it).
So these five items are only small but each holds a special meaning to me. Each item reminds me of someone or something, a special time or moment in my life, and without them my home would merely be a house but with them they are my home.