Gifts and memories

Truth: I *love* to give gifts… but only the RIGHT gifts. Christmas and birthdays stress me out because I don’t *want* to just give for the sake of giving, I want it to be something that SCREAMS someone’s name, not something that they say “thanks!” to, and then forget about for a couple of months.

This is a tricky business when it comes to souvenirs. To me, the whole concept of a souvenir is that, the word means “remember”. HOW is someone who WASN’T THERE going to remember?! Or, is it a way of saying that you were remembering the person when you travelled, so please have this over-priced, mass-produced, stereotypical part of Country X’s cultural mosaic? Heh.

It’s a pickle, I know.

So I approach it like I would Christmas/Birthday shopping—if something jumps out and grabs me, I grab *it*. And from that, for myself, I picked up a scarf in Lima.

Chocolate—good Brazilian stuff (holy expensive) and “I-just-need-to-use-my-Soles-in-Duty-Free” Peruvian stuff.

SensorExcel razors—unavailable in Canada for at least 3 years, I *had* been using my razor from so many years ago I can’t even tell you… and now, I have four new ones. 😀

Thanks to Peruvian duty free, I’m coming home with some Pisco to make Pisco Sours (still wrapped in its duty-free goodness—SO unphotogenic!), and a super-cheap bit of Bobbi Brown make-up, bought on the plane—what a coup! A bit of eyeliner and freshly brushed teeth are my “I’m going out” go-to’s, and this was really a bargain. Also: the short travel brush applicator is really necessary for short-sighted kids NOT to poke their own eyes out. Tried, tested, and true.

And then there are the gifts…

Brasilía has this thing about its architecture; one of the most renowned architects, Athos Bulcão, whose work is in all major cities of Brazil and some other South American locales, sells some paraphernalia with his designs. I’ve been drinking espresso out of Jessica’s Athos Bulcão cups every day, so I got myself a few… and some mugs to give away:

I also bought some “hers and hers” Havaíanas, because, well, OBVIOUSLY! (“Havaíanas” is Portuguese for “Hawaiians”, didja know? Makes it amusing that the footwear is so iconically Brazilian, eh?) I like my shoes with a lot of sole: flip flop wedges are JUST right.

And then I’m also going shopping on Friday to pick up some last gifts that I’ve had in mind for awhile… and I’ve omitted the gifts intended for the couple of people I know who *actually* read my blog. 😀

What’s been really unexpected is that people have given ME gifts!

From Jessica, some coasters of black-and-white, vintage Rio photos, and also a Quechuan bracelet, bought in Cusco—on the same night that we were altitude drunk, and she was buying her own. I said, “we’re bracelet buddies!” and more laughter ensued… 😀

But maybe the most AMAZING thing of all started last weekend and has continued into this week. Last Saturday, through the fog of my cold, I was invited to a barbecue at Carol’s place, with some of the gym community… in my honour! How fun! I was really not that well and failed to take a single photo (WHAT is my PROBLEM?!?), but it was lovely to be there. At the end of the evening, Carol’s father gave me a nice bottle of cachaça from the northeast, where he’s from. He had made me a caipirinha earlier, and now told me “this is NOT for caipirinhas. It’s for sipping.” Why did I deserve such a thing? Because THAT is Brazilian hospitality—once he knew I liked scotch and would drink cachaça straight, I was clearly the right recipient: I would appreciate it. 😀

Well, as if that weren’t the sweetest thing ever… a barbecue, a parting gift… it became TWO parting gifts! Yesterday, at the gym, Carol told me, “my dad got you something.” Because man cannot survive on straight cachaça alone, he bought me a caipirinha mortar and pestle. Not in a breakable material (had he HEARD about my swathe of destruction in Jessica’s kitchen?!?), but something that would travel and wear well:

I’m a lucky kid. I’m a lucky kid who now has to pack…
Tell me: what’s your gift-giving philosophy?