Souvenirs Are Stupid And I Want All Of Them

Nothing says “you matter to me” like a toenail clipper decorated with the Falkland Island penguins, in my opinion. I would start evaluating my importance to loved ones based on the souvenirs they bring me from their vacations if only I didn’t understand how much of a headache it is to select trinkets.

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The endless considerations of souvenirs

  1. Will I have enough room in my luggage? Once I had to last-minute buy and pack an extra carry-on because I’d bought too many Korean chips, only to return to the States and see the same brands in my local H-Mart.
  2. Who do I give a souvenir to?
  3. Am I rich?
  4. What do I give to different people?
  5. How do I trade off thoughtfulness and practicality? As a failed minimalist, I’ve mostly given up on the latter. It’s just in my nature to accumulate trinkets and carry things like tape on my person (which Mom has kindly informed me is dumb.) If I’m destined to embrace my innate sentimentality, that might as well manifest in cute crafts I can stick to my fridge instead of a towel embossed with “I ❤ NY.”

The past month, I was in South America with limited Internet—hence no posts—and on one of the days, our ship docked at Puerto Varas, a Chilean port. The tour Mom had been discussing didn’t get back to her, which meant time to search for last-minute souvenirs. I saw some lamb magnets at a craft market, but we hadn’t yet exchanged money and wanted to look around some more, so we moved on.

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Mom realized she’d actually gotten an email from the tour guide who’d ghosted us. The company had apparently put us on the list though we hadn’t yet paid or been told where to meet, and informed us that they had been waiting for us in the morning.

I figured all this had been for nothing until I boarded the ship and realized that unwittingly, I had gotten souvenirs from Chile. Specifically, five permanent souvenirs in my hand, wherever I go. Perhaps this type of souvenir even merits future consideration. Good thing I’ve got a lot of skin.

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