Taking a Piece of a Country

“Rivers and mountains are more easily changed than a man’s nature.” -Chinese proverb

This weekend, I strolled along the Venice Canals. They’re a residential section of west Los Angeles dotted with man-made canals, arched bridges, and custom homes. The area was developed by Abbot Kinney, who wanted to replicate Italy and create a “Venice of America.”

Venice canals

Besides being a tranquil setting, this location reminds me of the creativity that can spring forth from one man’s mind. He truly moved land and water to make this happen. It’s amazing how Kinney tried to capture a country he loved–it’s like a larger scale version of the typical souvenir.

Here are some other ways that I’ve seen a country captured, by more subtle means:

  • My parents own a collection of plates, depicting different places they’ve traveled. I always enjoy reading the names and looking at the images associated with the various locations.
  • My ex-boss and his wife try to experience a bit of home while away; without fail, they go to a Chinese restaurant in any city they visit (and they’ve never ceased to find one anywhere in the world).
  • I have a barrette collection, featuring clips that are made from various materials intrinsic to that location. I once had a barrette made from Murano glass; I was so sad the day it broke. But here is a picture of a bow clip (with bun attachment) I got from Taiwan:

hair clip

How have you captured a country close to your heart?

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  1. I have a charm bracelet. Inexpensive, I have charms from almost everywhere I’ve been on it, as well as from significant moments in my life. I wore it the day of our wedding, because I wanted it to represent my past as I took steps to my future.

    • jenniferjchow says

      That’s a lovely symbolic gesture, Heather. I like how you can wear the charm bracelet and have all your memories so portable, too.

  2. I haven’t traveled to another country, yet, but I did bring back a carved sea turtle from Maui to remind me of our trip there. My husband and I also like to collect Christmas tree ornaments from places we visit.

    • jenniferjchow says

      I still haven’t been to Maui yet, but it sounds so lovely. Christmas ornaments are a great idea; it’s always much better to personalize the tree.

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