I love the beach!
I remember the first time I saw a sea shell. I was still a kid and my mom traveled to Mexico for a women’s conference. During her stay there she had the time to go to the beach, and she picked huge seashells which she brought all the way back to Nigeria. They were smooth and heavy and pretty. I fell in love with them and could imagine her walking through the sand and carefully selecting which ones to bring back home. The shells formed part of our interior design and until candles were banned in our household, we oftentimes used them to collect the hot wax that poured down the sticks in the still of the night.
When Dido released her song “Sand in my Shoes” My vivid imagination conjured up pictures of the lyrics and as I sang along I imagined me playing the part… the romantic bit about meeting a stranger and falling in love with him did not make so much effect as the part of having her feet in the sand. Well I admit, maybe it did, but just a wee little bit! 😀
Aeons Years later I traveled to Cotonou in The Republic of Benin to visit my sister who was running an internship there, and she took me to one of their beaches. It was a
quiet day and not many people were around. We took pictures, had ice cream and candy and I fulfilled my lifelong dream of writing in the sand! I saw crabs and after my initial fear of the waves, let the water wash over my feet. It was a dream come true 😀
When we were leaving I had this puppy-eyed look, and my sister asked what was wrong. I wanted to pick shells. She was cool with it, but when I told her I wanted to take some of the beach sand with me she protested. “What do you want to do with the sand?!?” I told her I wanted a souvenir from the beach and even though she grumbled throughout, we looked for a plastic bag and got some sand and shells into it, which I carefully packed into my box and like my mom, drove all the way back to Nigeria. It was one of the best moments in my life.
When I got home I took a Jar (maybe twice as big as a jam jar) with a wide lid. I poured the sand into it and placed the shells on it. I then filled it with water and threw in some plastic fish that were the remains of a charm bracelet I had. The plastic floated, and if you swished it a bit it would (almost) look like the fish were swimming. Yes it was lame but I couldn’t be more proud. When people came visiting at my dorm room they always asked, and I would tell them the story behind my first beach experience.
And that was how my hobby began: collecting sea sand and shells, putting them in jars, and naming the collection The Seas in my Life.