Clothes as Souvenirs

in a post a couple months ago i mentioned that i hardly ever spend money on souvenirs, but it dawned on me today that buying clothes is actually how i do the souvenir thing.

maybe it’s because i hardly go shopping while at home (i’m in the middle of suburb purgatory, stores nearby but not close enough to actually get off my lazy ass and go), or maybe it’s my way of sneaking in purchases under the boyfriend’s radar, but yeah, i can’t seem to come back from a trip of any length without buying something wearable. like with most things, i don’t splurge and only buy if it’s a good deal (equal to or better than what i can get at home).

i realized all this when i noticed that everything i was wearing was procured away from home:

sweater from a store in the MyZeil mall in Frankfurt (€20 i think?), t-shirt from a Microsoft conference (free!), pants from a Zara in London (£10 on sale!), and shoes from an H&M in Amsterdam (€30? don’t remember UPDATE: €20!). and yes, i realize we have Zaras and H&Ms here at home, but it’s more fun shopping while traveling.

so yeah, i guess i lied. i do bring home souvenirs. and like any good souvenir, i remember (as the Québécois say, je me souviens!) the circumstances surrounding each of these. for example, i was at MyZeil with a friend i hadn’t seen since grad school and i stopped at the Zara a couple blocks from Great Queen Street before meeting my cousin at the latter for dinner. but even better — and unlike most souvenirs — these don’t just gather dust on a shelf: i actually get some use out of them!

for the record, that rug in the picture was my last big “traditional” souvenir purchase, from Morocco nearly six years ago. heh, i remember i got a deal on it because i was on a Fes medina tour with a guy (it was just me and him and his fiancée) who spent the last two years in the Peace Corps in Essaouria, and thus spoke colloquial Moroccan Arabic fluently and quickly engendered goodwill with the store owner who couldn’t believe a white guy was chatting them up in local slang. pretty cool!


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