Posted by: Andy | June 17, 2009

Nostalgic T-Shirts and Temptations

As Stephanie are getting prepared to leave for Turkey, one of the most inevitable and dreadful things that goes along with it is the whole packing/moving thing. It is a bit more difficult than usual because in most cases, we’d just pack everything up and move it to a different space, but it’s not that simple. As we pack, we must determine what is coming with us to Turkey, what is going into storage, what we are giving away or lending out and to whom and what we are simply throwing away never to see again.

With some things, this is easy. We love our bed and have a place to store it. We have a lousy kitchen table and broken chairs that go with it, so they are getting tossed. But with some things, it is rather difficult. I’m having trouble trying to determine what to do with all my t-shirts. Over the years, I have collected so many t-shirts it is staggering. What’s worse is that I have not boughten a t-shirt from a store in the past decade and yet I have dozens, perhaps more than 100. I took a bin of t-shirts home to my family and let them fight over them. My little sister claimed first pick and some were only big enough for my dad. My mom and little brother had to fight over the rest. I really enjoyed some of those shirts and was sad to see them go. I always prided myself on having a very eclectic t-shirt collection and it was hard to see my little sister pick up some of those shirts and say, “I love this one,” and race off with it.

The last t-shirt I bought is one of my favorites. It comes from Decorah, Iowa and it has a picture of a newborn chick on it with the catch phrase: “I love quality chicks.” They make the equivalent for girls that says, “Another quality chick” with the same basic logo. My dad really wanted that one, but I’m not sure it will fit him and I don’t think my little sister will be comfortable wearing it, so that one may come back into my possession someday.

I also prided myself on having more years worth of Knollapalooza (a music festival I always went to during college and beyond) t-shirts than anybody in the world, but I’ve already given away a number of those shirts. I’m keeping my oldest one (from 1999) because it is the shirt I ran the Twin Cities marathon in and it just has too many memories inside of it for me to part with. Plus it is white and my favorite undershirt.

It’s been tough trying to sort out the clothes. I’ve thrown away a few t-shirts I didn’t even remember I owned and have another bin ready to give away. I hope such nostalgia isn’t so difficult with everything we own. We tried to decide which DVDs to take with us and we have a pretty solid selection, but we’re leaving behind some solid stuff. I’m not sure we’ll take many books at all. I’m trying to make my way through the Harry Potter series so I can get my fill while we are gone. It is going to be hard to leave those behind, especially since the final two movies (book 7, split in two) will most likely come out while we are gone. But I’m sure we’ll be able to find a theater showing them in English.

All these nostalgic temptations of America make me wonder how much I’ll truly miss America, Minnesota in particular. I know I’ll miss my friends and family greatly and that will be tougher than I can imagine. But how much of my enjoyment of life is due to being where I am. I hope not very much, because it’s going to be bad enough being away from so many people that I enjoy living life with.

It is rather amazing how little you are aware of how attached you are to things until you are faced with the possibility of losing them.



  1. I, for one, hope your enjoyment DOES come from where you are, because I think we’re going to be in an awesome country with many adventures waiting.

  2. i hear you with the stuff. i have a plastic Raja action figure that i got for Christmas in 5th grade and have kept either in my locker or on my desk since then. It is currently sitting on the windowsill in the office. when jon and i moved in, i had all of these cruddy toys littering the office windowsill, and he was like “can’t we store those?” and it was an unequovical “no”. i’m oddly attached to that Raja.

    would a t shirt quilt be a viable option? or loading as many videos on to your computer/a separate hard drive as you can?

    • Raja from Aladdin? I’ve never stopped wanting my own pet tiger.

      • Definately Raja from Aladdin. 🙂 I actually got a whole set with Aladdin, Jasmine, Raja, the little monkey the whole she-bang, but I was mostly interested in having a pet tiger as well, so he’s the lone survivor.

  3. My mom has been suggesting a t-shirt quilt for years, but the honest truth is I’d have a hard enough time trying to decide which ones to put on there. There can’t be room for more than 20 or so. And I simply don’t have the time to do that before we leave. Not to mention anybody I know who is skilled in such a craft is making a quilt for a more important purpose than my nostalgia such as for the birth of a baby or a wedding. Most of the t-shirts will stay in the family, so I may try and make a quilt out of some of my favorites when we return.

  4. I have so many t shirts!! And they’re all from random places or people and it’s so hard to get rid of them. A bunch have lived under my bed in a bin for a while but I can’t bear to give them away.

    I also have a little Buddha that I painted at one of those “paint your own ceramics” shops. It sits on my desk and keeps me in the zen 😉 He’ll definitely come to Germany for when things get stressful.

  5. Wow. I think I own about 5-8 t-shirts. It is tough to make those decisions of what to part with when you’re moving. I’m not attached to as many things as I once was, but I think that I’m probably that way because I’ve moved so many times. Elsa and I have moved 6 times just since we’ve been married! It helps you clean out your stuff a lot. 🙂

    Who knows, you may find that 2 years from now, what you once loved to collect, you may have replaced with a new hobby. Pictures of those special items, with a journal of your memories is just one way you can save some space. There are dozens of others things you can do to hold on.

    Hope the process of slimming things down gets easier for both of you guys! I know those struggles too well. Good luck.

  6. I’m leaving a bunch of t-shirts with my mom who has said that she is going to make them into a t-shirt quilt, or maybe two.

  7. Are you guys planning to ship stuff in boxes separately in the mail besides stuff you bring along?

    I’m considering that option for some books and other things.

    • We’re not sure yet. We have a couple contacts in Ankara that will let us know which things are good to bring, which are good to leave in the States. My guess is that we’ll end up shipping things separately from what we pack in our suitcases.

  8. The good news… you will still be with at least 3 people you love to live life with… 🙂

    And in other news, I was going to try to correct you for using the word “boughten” – because I believed it didn’t exist and I was about to make fun of you for using incorrect grammar when you are going to Turkey to teach English. However, when I looked it up, the online dictionary actually said “boughten: Northern and North Midland U.S. Nonstandard.” So, while it may not really be a word, you are allowed to use it because you are from Minnesota. I hope I taught you didn’t know.

    • whoops! I left that last comment logged in as Cameron – thought you should know it was Andrea!

  9. That’s interesting because I didn’t think it was a word either, but the word press spell check said it was a word. So does Twitter, but Word doesn’t seem to think so. Tis rather confusing.

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