Chimes of Home

As part of our three month pre-service training, fellow Peace Corps education volunteers and I will live with host families in Ethiopia.  Like my experience staying with two host families during my semester studying abroad in India, I expect to gain much cultural perspective and build significant relationships with my future host family.

We were encouraged by Peace Corps staff to bring a small gift to our host families as an expression of our gratitude and a symbol of that place we call “home”.  Yesterday I found the perfect gift for my host family: a small, sing-song wind chime.  In addition to a few post cards featuring the Palmetto State in all her glory and a collection of Americana-inspired bandanas, this wind chime, I hope, will convey the spirit of where I come from in ways words just can’t.

Music made from the wind.  Sinking into a rocking chair.  Soft, hardly decipherable whispers.  Lemonade from frozen concentrate.  Afternoon naps.  Honeysuckle.  Stale bread and hungry ducks.  Overgrown plants hanging from the ceiling of a screened-in porch.

I have been thinking recently about how setting subconsciously affects us.  Lakes, overgrown grass, and prickly pine cones all play into how I relate to others within my environment here.  I wonder how that will change when I live in Ethiopia?  Or how it will mingle into the future place I inhabit and person I grow into?

How do you think objects relate to place and memory?  How does our environment affect us?

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