new traditions

I can’t remember how or why it started, but when we lived in NYC we had a cheap subway map mounted on a foam board, hung it on the wall, and then stuck in push-pins to mark every subway station we visited together.

Some lazy weekends when we didn’t know what to do, we would take off for a random faraway neighborhood just to earn another push-pin. (And, you know, to explore and stuff.)

We lugged the map along with us to DC, where it’s been living in our closet for the past seven months… until… yesterday! Andy surprised me by unveiling a framed version!

Admittedly, I suggested we get it framed about six and a half months ago, back before Andy was in French and when he was desperately looking for things to fill his days. And yet back then he whined about how he had far better things to do and just couldn’t possibly find the time. So, let’s keep that in mind when trying to decide how many husband-of-the-year points he gets. =) Nevertheless, a nice gesture.

Hopefully this map will eventually be joined by many others. You see, shortly after we signed on for this Foreign Service lifestyle we decided that to remember each country we called home for two or three years, we would invest in a nice, preferably old-timey map.

We like the idea of having a physical reminder of each post. Some people collect paintings, others masks, and others jewelry. But for us, maps just make the most sense. As a kid I had a dorky habit of spending hours hunched over a Rand McNally atlas, strictly for fun. And I’ve often caught Andy in the living room staring at the giant West Africa map I picked up at Main State. (Yes, it’s true. There’s a map room in the library where they just give out free maps. Go! Now!)

Even though we’re pretty settled on our new tradition, I’d still love to know how others remember — or plan to remember — where you’ve been.

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4 Responses to new traditions

  1. Bridget says:

    this is fabulous! I love maps as well and have a thing about the NYC subway map. (But sadly, it’s changed, and I can’t get into the new one…)
    I love your plan! I am always looking for maps I like well enough to frame. The boring ones don’t do it.

  2. Al says:

    I buy paintings for myself and others. A nice oil painting makes such a better souvenir than other nic-nacs. I have several paintings from Italy, one from France, Morocco, a cross from Jerusalem, and painted tiles from Spain. I love the map idea, though I have had a tough time finding a good wall-size Belize map (nothing in the map room at Main State).

  3. Nathan says:

    I totally share your love of maps. When I was a kid I used to pore over atlases for fun too (were all FSOs that geeky as kids?)

    My favorite souvenir ever is a poster-sized map of the world in Arabic that I bought from a street vendor in Alexandria, Egypt. It currently hangs in my bedroom.

  4. Two Crabs says:

    LOL, we do the same thing! In London we would walk miles to some far-away station on the Tube map, then ride back. We also have a big world map with push-pins in all the countries we’ve visited; color-coded for whether the visitor was Mr. Crab (me), Mrs. Crab or the Two Crabs together. Admittedly, I have a lot more pins on the map (60 and counting!)

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