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05 July 2011

My life in a Box

We all love to look back on our lives, remembering moments that made an impression on us, experiences that we went through and helped us form ideas. Our lives are like a jigsaw puzzle, after all, made up of many pieces that form the whole.

In most cases, what is knick-knacks to others is the most precious items for me, treasured in a box that brings a smile on my face every time I open it. A trip down the memory lane seems to put life in perspective when things get a bit hectic and helps me keep in touch with my own identity.

Then a while ago I watched a movie, The secret Life of Bees, and I saw how a memory box helped a troubled teenager advance in the process of dealing with the loss of her mother. I saw how those objects helped channel her changing emotions were a huge benefit and I started to wonder what I could be able to pass onto my daughter, things I would like her to remember about me when she's older.

Inspired by this amazing site, then, theburninghouse.com, which collects images of the things people wold take with them if their house was burning, I took a photo of some of the things that occupy my Memory Box. 

So in my box, clockwise, there're:
- A little frame of my grandmother Anna at 16. She was so beautiful, like a 30's diva and with a tiny resemblance with my mother and daughter.
- My student card for when I was in Uk. I generally love my university years but being in London for a year was magical! 
- A little box with a special collection of shells. They symbolize my love for the beach since early childhood. 
- A little Buddha statue I bought during my memorable honeymoon in Thailand. 
- My passport, the most important document I possess. 
- The book that changed me, The Millstone. 
- A message from my estranged brother when we shared the same car. he only contacted me when in need. Men!
- Ticket for the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. A dream come true! I couldn't believe my eyes and I suffered of a slight Sthendal syndrome in there
- My pc pen. Because I obviously couldn't take a pic of my pc here LOL
- My baby Nikon, of course.
- A pen = my love for writing.
- My paper knife. Penpalling was responsible for my education.
- First complete drawing of Alice of us as a family, together with her first gift to me.
- Slovene book, because Slovenia is the country where I feel at home best.
- Beer keychain. Beer is my favorite drink.


Then I asked some of my friends to join me in this project. I asked them to take the same pics that reflected their lives and the things that made them happy. Here's their interesting result. 

ALIDA (Australia)

Name: Alida deRooij-Smith
Age: 38
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Occupation: Computer programmer; cameo appearances as a caterer!
  • Laptop
  • iPhone/iPod
  • Cookbook.  I have a thousand of them scattered around the house.
  • Collection of wooden statues from my travels in Africa & SE Asia.
  • Silk scarves - I have many - cannot live without them
  • Incredible, impossible, high heels.  Love them.  My wardrobe is full of them!
  • Travel books, like lonely planet.
  • Reading material, mostly non-fiction (the exception is my step-sisters books - Honey Brown).
  • Fan - cheap and an absolute necessity when travelling in tropical countries.
  • Perfume.  Even if you are having an ugly day, you can still smell good!
  • Spices.  They are an obsession.
  • Champagne.  There is never a bad time of day for a glass :)
  • Letters.  Sadly, a lost art form for me.  Where did my mojo go after nearly 30 years?
  • Coffee machine (sadly, I can only fit the coffee handle in this picture - the machine is too big!)
  • Skin care products and nail polish.  Always within an arms reach of me.
All tucked into a suitcase ... seems to be my life for work and leisure, more and more these days (but I am not complaining!!)

TERE (Mexico)

Hola Elda!! Here's finally my photo for your blog! Hope it works for your project and I will try to be as clear as possible to describe each thing, hope you don't get confused as it doesn't really have any clear order hahaha ... but I will try to divide it in 3 parts: upper, middle and lower from left to right.

1) Red book: This is one of my favorite Graphic Design books, called Made you Look by this Austrian guy called Stefan Sagmeister that is pretty crazy, but does greta graphic design ... many of his ideas are very innovative or different ... the book cover is cool too because it has this plastic red cover that when is over the book shows a dog that is calm, but when you take it away changes the expression completely.
2) Stars notebook: This is from the time I was in kindergarten, and each week we would be given a star that was pasted in the forehead showing how well we had done that certain week ... so small golden stars were regular, big golden ones were good ... and the first time I got a golden one plus a big red one my family thought I had done something really bad ... but turns out to be it meant it was the pupil that did best that week from all class  so then every week we kept those!
3) Shangai Baby book:  One of my favorite books, wirtten by a Chinese author about a chinese cafe waitress that moves in with her chinese boyfriend and then one day she meets a foreigner that she can't stop thinking about ... I like those trouble stories hahaha and also the attraction between 2 different cultures, specially when it involves an european.
4)Yubi: My childhood "polar" bear... at least he used to be! I got him when i turned 2, and as other kids have a favorite blanket they take everywhere or any other toy, he was mine! He went anywhere I went and after almost 30 years, he still around! (with no hair, washed several times and with a total facial re-construction!)
5) Green chinese wood bag:  Got this about 3 years ago in the chinese market in San Francisco and I think is some piece of art! hahaha , is made of wood, light, and when I see it I think of those things used for making sushi ...
6) My designer business card: Well this is just the back part, and not much detail is seen, but are some kind of graphic concentric elements that can resemble flowers , and is printed in recycled paper for that "easy look".
7) Earrings with ring: My family legacy! My grandma gave this tome, they used to be hers and in that time they were very expensive (I think also would be now) and although isn't appreciated much in the photo, they really look classy, they have a lot of brilliants and shine.
8) My Muse cd's and cocnert tickets:  As # 1 fan of Muse (british band) , I have their cds, dvd's and concert tickets in Mexico (and also other band's tickets). Their style and his voice is awesome.
9) School medals:  I worked hard to achieve these at primary school... and the ones I am most proud of are the ones i got for 1st place in english, because it really has been useful in my life, and show me that I have always been tenacious.
10) Shoes and dress: Just some of my favorite and representative clothes ! Although I would wear this dress over skinny jeans or leggings to give it some flair ... and of course in the tones that I prefer ... purple and fuchsia!
11) Photo in shoe of Pity, my cat:  I found Pity abandoned in a place i used to work, and since the first day she decided she wasn't going anywhere else!  She doesn't like any other cat (or almost any other person) but me! So for me, she is the best cat there is!
12) Plane, subway and train tickets and souvenirs: Tickets from my several trips to Europe, specially to Luxembourg and Germany, or my stop overs in Amsterdam (that it turned out to be quite problematic! was stopped because I couldn't show i had the enough money to stay there 3 months and while it got sorted out I lost my other flight ... but all of them remind me of all those trips and great times!
13) Photos of me and Manuel and ring: Some of the photos before the digital age, and specially like this one from around the time we met and were in Switzerland .... so young!! ... many of my recent photos of him or with him are digital, and almost don't have any of them printed ... if i had some, they also would be there! ... and the ring he gave me, that is very special to me and that he bought for me while he lived in Germany.
14) USB drive:  all photos from this digital era from everything and everyone.
15) Ipod and headphones: Because music is a great thing to me, here is where I keep all my favorite music , with super headphones for bets quality ... as long as nobody sees me! hahaha
16) Photos mostly before digital camaras:  Alhough the photo showing is recent, most of them are from everything and everyone before digital cameras, including some from childhood and family.

Ok, I think that's it, but if I missed anything, then let me know! This was fun, looking forward to the next project !! :)

SANDRA (Slovenia)

I tried to capture the things that represent me. The photo album is just one from my collection, I have way too many as I still develop photographs even in this digital era. When I sit down with a few of them on my lap, the smile never fades from my face. The reason I have so many photo albums is my love for picture taking - the magic of freezing a moment in time is captivating. I placed 3 things from my past on the photo album: a golden bracelet that was a gift from my Grandparents for my first birthday and I still wear it - whenever I look at it I feel them close to me. The golden necklace with an "S" pendant was a gift from my grandmother, who was a very special person in my life. The little cow-toy is a reminder of how great and happy my childhood was - the cow has a smile on her face and when you press on the "button" under her, you can make her move, dance, tilt her head, make her play dead (there are strings attached to her legs, head...). There's also my favorite mug: of course it has elephants on it as I feel very passionate about them - I foster a few baby elephant orphans and it feels great to be part of something so important like contributing to the saving of a species. There's also a baby elephant statue by the camera. Whenever I go, I pick up stones and bring them home as a memento of a place. The white lace angel is a gift from my Mum - she gave it to me so it would protect me :). The colorful letter beneath the angel is another thing I am passionate about: pen paling with great women all around the world. I would be lost without my pen pals as they are the best of friends. I can't imagine my life without my two furry girls, Pupa and Mika - they try their best to make me smile every day. I love traveling and Ireland has been the most unforgettable country so far. As you can see, and some of you know, my favorite flower is the tulip. I never leave my house without a lip balm - I had a genuine addiction years ago when I had one in every purse, every jacket, every room! I love reading and fantasy novels are just my thing: it's a way of escapism I think and I just love the the Twilight saga (I am Team Edward). Since there can be no life without music, I present you my favorite artist: Mr Bryan Adams  - he rocks!


Here's my input and pic, I'm excited to be a part of this!

I think the things I treasure more and really traduce who I am are my words and the words I've discover in books and songs.
So, in my box I'll first put another little box with the things and words which my hubby and I have expressed our love for each other, details of the places we have traveled or visited and have had an impact on us, of the parties who we most remember, there's even a tape with our favorite songs when everything started. In top of that there's the first painted heart my first son draw for me. Below that there's the DVD of our wedding, so my kids could see how happy and in love we were. This video includes interviews on how we think about each other. Next to that is my favourite music. I include music from my country so my kids could learn about it through its songs. I enclose a photo album with pictures from my childhood so they can see how was I as a kid and my relationship with my sisters, parents and early friends. Here I put also the two baby bracelets from the clinic with their names, date and hour of birth, defenitely the most amazing days in my life. A little frog which was one of the first gifts I gave my husband  which meant I was ready to jump on our love adventure and a pin from Disney, our favourite place to become kids again. And least, but not last, my favourite books and the first poems I wrote as an adolescent, so maybe they can relate on how they felt on this phase.
ASUN (Spain)

Here's what I'd choose to leave to my descendants:

First of all, this "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" original LP, which belonged to my father and was one of the first albums I ever listened to. It represents not only my love for The Beatles and music in general, but a whole way to understand life: enjoy every minute as if it was the last, but always treat the others at least as well as you'd like to be treated, "peace and love" and all that stuff. And some of my fondest memories of my childhood.

The book about Egypt symbolizes my vocation since I was a child (although I'd never recommend a child of mine to become an archaeologist!!).

The film "The Quiet Man" is one of my all time favourites, and it represents my huge love for movies. Also this particular one is full of love, sense of humour and passion for life. Whenever I watch it I get goosbumps, from the first note of the presentation to the last scene. I could have chosen many others, but this one is special too because it means friendship as well: it's a commonplace for me and my best friend Arturo that has accompanied us through the years.

The book by Galdós means my compulsive reading. He is a genious from the 19th-early 20th century, and is my favourite author. I started reading him thanks to my grandfather, who was a huge fan of his, so it's also a way to keep his memory alive and feel him closer to me.

The fountain-pen represents my love for writing: letters, short stories, diaries.... Anything. It's also a symbol of freedom and imagination (which in my opinion are synonymous).

The camera is self-explanatory, but it's not only my love for photography and art, but also for traveling and curiousity.

The wooden spoon is my love for cooking and also my happiness when I make other people happy by preparing them a nice meal that will stay in their hearts for a long time.

The metal box belonged to my great grandmother Asunción, later to grandma and now to me. My grandaunt Teresa engraved her name in it when she was a child, so it's also a way to have her closer now that she's gone. It represents family and love through generations, and the power of bonds between women.

Finally, the mirror. With it I want to transmit to my descendants that no matter who they are or what they are, they are unique, and the reflection in it is the prettiest thing they can ever see. We all have to learn to love ourselves before loving the others, and admitting what we are is the first step.

I'm proud to be part of this, it's a brilliant idea that made me think a lot about the future (although I've aways thought about leaving clues about my life to the future generations, maybe it's part of being an archaeologist!). Thank you for giving me the chance to make it public!

ROULA (Greece)

As a person attached to my past I often think of what I, as Roula,  will pass to the next generations. What of mine worths to be saved and being passed on? What will MY legacy be? Do I have something that actually counts as a keepsake? And as I was digging in my memories to find out for a qualified answer I realized that what I will leave behind is not important (at the moment) but what I have gotten from my past is! So I sat and went through my things. 

Unfortunately what is mine from the past is in big pieces of land and lots of olive oil, a house and a sackful of memories-good and bad, nice and dreadful ones. I did manage to gather what I feel it is important to me and what I will preserve for the future generation of this family.

My humble box will certainly contain many pictures from the past. They not only connect you tot he past but they also offer you a chance to "travel" in time and be present in what you see.
Another trivial thing I am attached to is a piece of rock I found back in late 80s that resembles like my birth island Ikaria. This rock was found in a path so it cannot be a product of human hand. Besides the fact that it reminds me of my family in Ikaria each time I see it, I also get reminded of how incredible surprising  Nature can be.
Am certainly not a fan of jewelry and esp gold but when they have history I do let them invade my life. Like my baptism cross, some earrings (that need to be fixed) that belonged to my great grandmother, who took them from her mother..., my father's wedding ring (I need to get mom's too), and a pendant that thought it belonged to mom. Only today I found out that this is the first gift from my grandparents the day I was born. In the middle of this gold round disk was a blue bead, but after it was detached my family placed the "eye" of a sea shell. I heard somewhere it is called "The eye of St Lucia" also.
Another gold memory is great grandfather Niko's glasses. This is apiece that holds a special place in my heart cos I have never met him (neither has my mom) and each time I lay my hands on these glasses I take such vibes that shock me.
When grandpa died I managed to get my hand on some things I consider special, like his handkerchieves and some scattered leaves from an old little block he used as a phone-book, and along with that the last pen he ever used, an old broken BIC blue pen I treasure like gold.
And speaking of gold, not long ago Nek and I were given some early 20th century gold coins that belonged to our great grandparents. A small treasure that needs to be preserved and protected.
I am only sorry I cannot show you my most favourite things of all, a wall crystal mirror that beautifies the wall in the house in the family's estate in Fourni that grandma got from her grandma... A magical mirror that reflects my 9 year old me every time I look myself in it, a mirror that every female in this family wanted and I won fair and square.

LORENA (Chile)

Ciao my dear!!! Here goes my contribution. I hope it can help u!!
I chose:

A crocheted tablecloth  ​​... my mother made it,  remained in her closet for years without using it and finally I was the first to use it in my house here in Holland.

My wedding ring ... were made in Chile, and was the only model in which we agree with Herbert.

A souvenir of my marriage (wine bottle cap ) ... were different models, all based on the fairy tale of Cinderella  ... it was our favorite.

My favorite silver earrings ... many years and they have always accompanied me, they are Egyptians.

A scarf that a friend gave me ... it's just fabulous.

My favorite cookbooks ... I always write on loose sheets  recipes or modifications then i store them in these books, cooking for me is important and entertaining, I always enjoy cooking for my dear ones.

A photo album ... a picture is worth a thousand words! moments, people, situations that I will never forget, and if someone was not there,then can enjoy and feel themselves as part of that time

Over the years I try to be less sentimental about the material things and try to carry out detachment ... and and I extend it to toxic people... Maybe that's why my objects are so simple.

ALICE (Hong Kong) 

On top, this glasses I like most, because it bring me luck, in the fact, I enjoy big rim glasses than other elegant style. Just because I got my small eyes!!! And One of friend who teasing me always with jokes and look younger than I am that is the good use of big rim glasses!
And first left the OCTOPUS card that I can't live without it when travel around, I hate to hunting my coins for transportation, so why can't make it easier?

Second next is a bottle of oil which I bought from the the natural beauty shop and this oil freshly handmade by the shop owner, since I getting frustrated with the chemical skin-care products, and when getting older, nothing better than natural healing, and I have to tell my mind for better treat to me from head to toe, and this one the anti-inflammatory oil it gives me a happy relief, not just on the skin, also spiritually to mind. All made by nature, why not? 

Next to it, a picture card Buddha statue, simply the answer is I like Buddhism ethics, live by their rules! And then handmade fan which I bought in Singapore, however the bad lesson from it, actually I see this quite simple quality and not that worth for much, unfortunately I bought it from the high-end souvenir shop in one of the famous hotel in Singapore! Thus, this I would keep using it until it really broke that won't get back to live, that's how it worth!!!
My gadget friend ipod touch keeps me busy with the music and games, and inside the picture i saved in there, I want to open and whenever to look at it could flesh back that moment sit and look-out the big reservoir and listen to the howls of wind..... and be myself alone there! Also I like bob-hair so much

The last one Ricoh GX200, also brought in Singapore, I was half brainwash by friend who keeps convincing me to get it when I talk about this camera. One of the good camera I've ever use. (not totally with some slow function!) And This is my third digital camera, handy, light-weight, sharp of the lens, ALSO good at close-up!!!!

Isn't this interesting? I've always loved getting into people's lives, especially if they're my friends. I could listen to their stories again and again and I want to thank all my friends for allowing me to do that once again. I just feel more connected now, with your legacy and blessings. I love you all to pieces and more!


  1. This is absolutely great, Elda! What a splendid job you did. Some descriptions made my eyes go all teary... this things are important, thank you for giving us such fantastic idea. I am curious what's next ;))

  2. I'll certainly keep you posted, stay tuned! And thanks to you for joining!

  3. What a wonderful idea, sweetie :) I'm so happy and honored to have been a part of it and learned about this amazing women. Please, keep inspiring us! Kisses!

  4. I've finally been able to read the whole post. Well, I am moved! It's thrilling to get a peep into the lives of the others, especially if you love them. I don't know all of you who have posted, but now I feel like I do know you a bit better. Thank you Elda for giving us the chance to show each other what we consider the most important parts of ourselves.


Hi! Thanks for stopping by, your opinion counts! Feel free to express yourself xxx

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