Migration and things: little stuff that sometimes matters
What do people take into their luggage when they change their countries of residence? How does their attachment to things, places and people change over time?
On Skype I get a message saying ‘jau’, which in Lithuanian means ‘ready’. I go to the kitchen and make two cups of lemon and honey hot drinks, take some chocolate with almonds & oranges and knock on a door. An enthusiastic voice says ‘užeik‘, which stands for ‘come in’. My flatmate’s room smells of Nag Champa incense. As it is late and dark outside, the room is cosy and enlightened by street lamps through the big window, on the left shines a warm table lamp’s light towards the floor and there are some lighten candles on a windowsill. I sit down on a floor and have a sip of a drink. She takes a piece of chocolate, stops the music playing from her laptop and smiles. I switch on a recorder and we start talking about things that matter.
Before listening to bits and pieces of a dialogue, I should tell that R. (30) is a friend that I know for 6 years, but most of the time we have been living in different countries. However, a chain of events made us flatmates in Edinburgh. R. has been moving from country to country from city to city for the last 13 years. The other day I asked her if she has anything specific that she always brings along. She replied that she has a small statue which is travelling with her. And we agreed that the next day she will share with me a story about it as I am interested in how material things, memories and people are in intense relations here and now, how perceptions of environment are changing because of circumstances and, finally, how tiny objects become extremely significant on intimate process of building a narrative of one’s life. This is a raw material about things which migrate together with R. and about things that are left behind.
Here is part of the conversation:
I am anthropologist who is interested in the imaginaries of home, material culture and experiences of migration.
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