On Memories and Sarongs…

A few weeks ago, I broke my favorite coffee mug. It was a travel mug I purchased at the Starbucks at BIP in Bandung, my last night in Indonesia. (I looked for a picture and couldn’t find one online…just think cute, batik, brown and blue. :))

I was crushed, no pun intended ;), to the point of tears. I had already been in I-miss-Indonesia-mode like crazy…and it just felt like a crushing blow.

Yes, it was just a coffee mug, but that mug was special.

But breaking it did make me start to think…about the things I hold dear, about the things that have a place in my heart and life, about the things that take priority where they shouldn’t.

And so, yesterday, I did something I’ve been putting off for three-days-shy-of-three-years.

See, in three days I will have been “home” from Indonesia for three years. (It’s strange to see that typed out. Time has truly flown.)

And when I packed my bags and boxed up what I wanted us to ship back to the States, a lot of those things included were little, at-the-time-symbolic-but-generally-just-taking-up-space, trinkets. And for three years, I’ve kept them stored in a few random bags, which were stuffed, mostly-unopened, in one of our closets.

I’ve known for awhile that this kind of clutter needed to go, but it’s hard.

So many of those little things were gifts from students and friends, little oleh-oleh (souvenirs) purchased during trips. They all hold a memory.

And it’s hard to throw away memories.

But, let’s be honest here…a person only needs so many sarongs. :) (Not kidding when I tell you that I came back with more than a dozen. Ahem…can I blame it on my love for going to the beach?) πŸ˜‰

So I started…smaller. I went through three bags of jewelry and other random “fun”…and I threw out 90% of it. Straight into the garbage can. I pulled out a few things to save for Maelie when she’s older and even found two or three things I’d been wanting but had no clue where they were. πŸ˜‰

And then I moved on to the sarongs, which were a bit more difficult to part with. Like I said before, there are so many memories tied to them (again, no pun intended…man, I’m on a roll today! ;)) and it’s hard to just toss them aside. I let myself keep three…my two favorites and, again, one for Maelie.

But I honestly felt guilty about throwing those away…and so I didn’t.

Here they are. :)


And here’s the deal. (If you’d like. :)) If you see one you like in the picture, leave me a comment to claim it. (I’ll get your address through email.) I’ll toss it in an envelope and send it your way in the next week or two…and in that way I can get rid of some of the clutter and pass on a little Indo-love at the same time. (I will tell you that I’ve used a few of them once or twice…and I promise to wash them all before I send them out. :))

But if you want a purchased-somewhere-in-Indonesia (most likely, at a beach) sarong, here’s your chance. And it would make me happy to pass them on to friends instead of just tossing them or donating them. :)

The longer we’ve been back in the States, the more I’ve realized that my memories from Indonesia don’t lie in the souvenirs that surround me.

Not in seashell necklaces, not in bright-flower sarongs, not even in the world’s cutest batik coffee mug.

The memories…and, more importantly, the people…are in our hearts. And that’s the way it should be.

:) Blessings, friends.



  1. I have a taker for the lime green one in the front row already. :)

  2. I like the white with orange flowers. And you don’t even have to ship it to me. :)

  3. I just recently did some of the same sorting. It’s difficult. But taking a picture of the real special stuff helped me feel free to get rid of it. It’s like snipping the ties between the thing and the memory. The memory remains, but the thing needs to go.

    And I’d take a sarong, but I’m sorting through my closet. (Fun times.) To reduce the excess and make life a little more simple. πŸ˜‰

    • I like the idea of taking pictures. :) We had a wall hanging we bought in Bali, but as much as I loved it, we just didn’t have the wall space for it. (And probably never will.) So my mom got it, and I like that I’ll be able to see someone using it…makes it easier to part with it! Hope you are doing well, friend. Blessings! :)

  4. I don’t know if you can ship to Wisconsin but if you can, i like the (second to the left) blue geometric pattern one on the bottom :)

  5. Lisa has a great point about taking pictures of these things that are hard to get rid of even if they aren’t used anymore. Keep this in mind when M starts bringing home her beautiful preschool artwork! Now, where is my camera…..?

    • I heard one of the moms at Bible study talk about taking pictures of her kids’ artwork and printing them out in Shutterfly books. I LOVE that idea…a way to actually preserve their art without a billion stacks of paper. :) Mae’s already starting to create masterpieces, so I’d better get on that! πŸ˜‰

  6. Hey, that is amazing. I just did a soul training exercise where we had to pass 5 things onto somebody. Harder than you think, but it feels good. If you have any sarongs left. I’ll take one – doesn’t matter which one. I would just love to have something from Indonesia.

    • I have several left and would love to send you one! :) I picked out the white one with green flowers…it’s one of my favorites. (I actually kept the black and green version of it as one of my favorite-favorites. :)) Can you do me a favor and email your street address? mel at barefootmel dot com. :)

  7. Bethany Zajicek says:

    I know you already gave me one a while back, but since I’ve switched swimsuits it doesn’t match anymore! Can I have the one on the bottom all the way to the right? Blue and brown? Thanks! Hope you are doing well!

    • Yep, it’s yours. :) That one I’ve used a little, but it’s still in great shape. Hope you’re doing well, too! Looking forward to the arrival of little L…I’m totally predicting names in my head. πŸ˜€

      • Bethany Zajicek says:

        You’ll have to let me know how close you come! You might get the first name, but the middle might be harder…

  8. Hi Mel :)
    Just catching up on some blog reading and came across this post. I find this one hard to do too. I struggle with letting go of things and as a result…I have too much clutter! I just cleaned out two kitchen cabinets the other day and it was so freeing! But I have certain things from my Africa trips that I don’t want to let go of and yet…I will never use them. So I’ve been trying to tell myself that the memories will stay with me even if the items don’t. This was a good confirmation on that :) Thanks for the push!
    And…if you still have any left, I’d love a sarong. I only have one and it is so old that it’s pitiful. (But if they are all claimed, no prob!) But I propose a trade…you send me a sarong and I’ll gift you the kindle version of my novel, Where the Pink Houses Are…sound good? (If you don’t have an eReader…we’ll work something out πŸ˜‰ Send me an email…let me know!

    • That sounds like a fantastic trade. :) I do have a few left and would be happy to send you one! Will email you for the details. :)

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