Normal people buy snow globes, postcards, t-shirts saying where you’ve been, and those little trinkets on the street—basically, your typical traveler items. While I do love the occasional cute postcard, as seen here (yes, those are chickens), it’s the quirky things that, once they’re at home with me, remind me of the crazy trips I’ve taken.
1. Face cream
I’ve been using the same cream for nearly three years, and while I won’t go into details, it’s done wonders for me. It also happens to be made in Romania, which is especially problematic given that the company doesn’t ship to the US. My parents return to Romania yearly, so luckily upon their return home I can always expect a small plastic bag containing at least three or four jars—enough to last me until they go back. It’s a strange item to buy abroad, but after the currency conversion, the $2 price tag can’t be beat.
2. Pine nut candy
Years ago I discovered some candies made from pine nuts and caramel—yes, it sounds gross, but I promise you, these Spanish delicacies are anything but. The kind I like come in multiple flavors including pistachio and vanilla, and while it’s been ages since I’ve been back to Spain, I am 100% willing to traverse neighborhood and visit too many grocery stores to bring these babies home.
Okay, so this category encompasses all matter of sins, of which I have committed many. One distinct memory that still gets mentioned at parties is the Spain fiasco: the first day I arrived, I raided one of those stores that seems to have lots of things that you never knew existed but seem to immediately desperately need. I walked out with an orange bag containing 4 notebooks, three of which were graph paper and the other of which was lined. Just to cover my bases, you know? Of course, that was day one, and when time came to pack, my carry-on luggage was weighed down by all the other paper products I’d accumulated. 18 lbs, my mom likes to point out. Of course, this trend is by no means confined to Spain. Generally, no trip to Europe is complete without a notebook or two, and I have sent my parents on wild goose chases to find the perfect mechanical pencil and lined journal. Japanese stationery is enough to make my heart stop, but luckily the nearest store to carry them is in New York, which means no potential luggage fees.
4. Foreign language magazines
Like stationery, magazines add a lot of weight—and value— to a trip. I’m there for the language practice, sure, but I’m also in it for the pictures. They tend to be longer than American magazines, so it’s like I’m saving money. Technically.
5. Things bearing my name
You know those tag-your-friends pictures on Facebook? Yeah, my name is never there. Usually. Yet many places I’ve visited have my name as an option, including a porcelain dish with two peasants painted on the inside that I found outside of Mont-St-Michel, and a wooden box from Portland, Oregon. Granted, this box spelled my name with one “S”, which was problematic but not enough to stop me from purchasing it. Both of the above items are now gathering dust on a shelf at home, but at least they have my name on them. Maybe when I get my own apartment I’ll actually use the dish to make myself a wholesome dish. #adulting
A font enthusiast with a penchant for blurting out incomplete phrases in French and Spanish at odd moments, Cassandra is a sophomore originally from Newton, MA. (Relocating to Cambridge was an ordeal requiring a lot of adjustment, as moving ten miles away from anywhere often does.) As someone who really likes words, she actually enjoys editing Researcher-Writer copy, her friends’ papers,
and basically anything else she can get her hands on; if you couldn’t tell, she’s an English concentrator. Outside of Let’s Go, she reports for The Harvard Crimson’s News Board. Her hobbies include learning foreign languages, buying outrageously expensive stationery—the kind with thick, smooth paper, not the ones filled with wannabe flimsy sheets—writing in her bullet journal, gushing about nineteenth- century literature, biking on crowded (read: dangerous) Boston streets, finding new types of granola, and comparing all the aforementioned granola she’s ever had the good fortune to consume. She loves the color red, poached eggs, Paris, skincare that does what it says it does, cream cheese frosting, and late-night conversations.