I recently reclaimed an enormous suitcase of mine from my parents’ house. The hunter green monstrosity dates back to 1998 when it was purchased to transport all of my essential belongings for a semester abroad in Spain. This was way before the days of weight/size restrictions on luggage, and I had this thing stuffed to the brim. I wouldn’t be surprised if it weighed, like, 100 pounds. I will never, ever forget the day I stepped off that bus in Segovia and was greeted by my new Spanish host father. He was shorter than me, with about the same build as me, and drove a teeny, tiny red car. My lunker of a suitcase barely fit anywhere in this vehicle, but somehow we must have managed to jam it in, because at this point my memory jumps to our journey up four flights of stairs to my new host family’s apartment. The elevator was conveniently in disrepair upon my arrival (and was never fixed in the whole four months I lived there), so my pobre host father had to heave my 100 lb. king of all suitcases all the way to the fourth floor apartment. He was in his 50s and liked to partake in the Spanish past time of fumar, so I was really afraid that my initiation into Spanish life was going to involve me witnessing a man having a heart attack while carrying my luggage up the stairs. We both made it though- me clutching a carry-on and the burden of a brand-new Kelty backpack (also filled to the brim), and he, heaving my suitcase laboriously over each and every step with a grunt, until finally we arrived.

With the exception of my return to the U.S. at the end of my semester abroad, I have never again used this suitcase. My parents were clearing stuff out in preparation of a basement remodel, so I took the suitcase home with me to sell on craigslist. Tonight I was photographing it and measuring it for the craigslist ad, and I happened to see a little corner of something bright pink sticking out from behind a small pocket in the main compartment. I reached in a pulled out a letter that a friend had sent me in May 1998 (asking me about how things were going with my BOYFRIEND, and what my plans were for employment that summer), and then I stuck my hand in a little further and discovered some very lovely treasures indeed!! I assure you no craigslist purchaser would have had the same appreciation for these items that I have.

(clockwise, starting with the photo): A fine, fine specimen of a photo. That would be Juani and I, taking a rest atop a lovely couch at this museum in Amsterdam. Drink stirrers from the best bar in Segovia. A Donald Duck (?) key chain, holding a photo of three fine ladies and I crammed into a photo booth.

I loved finding this stuff today. It made my day.