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The Beauty of Simplicity...


The simplest things can leave a lasting impression on our lives. Anything from a smile, a person's beauty, their harsh or loving words and, particularly, a random act of kindness. I continue to review my photos from Kazan, and recently came across this image. I remember that my Russian travel companion in Kazan had a very emotional reaction when he encountered this note and lollipop, but two months after the journey I can't remember exactly why. I spoke to my Russian friend Alexey yesterday and he translated the note as follows: "This rabbit is 10 years old. He was brought from abroad but the child felt sorry for him and didn't eat him. And then the child grew up and brought him to the museum. Live eternally, brother!"

But why was the rabbit brought to the "Museum of the Socialist Way of Life" and from what country did he originate? Alexey laughed and told me the country of origin didn't matter. To the child, it represented much more than a sweet treat. Something entirely new and different, another world! In Alexey's words "as Soviet children, we didn't see such cute looking candies and the choice of toys was very scarce. The kid was so impressed by the rabbit that destroying him by the way of eating was too cruel for him." How could I possibly relate to this statement? In America, I've always had an abundant choice of candies, lollipops, really anything I wanted. Yet it doesn't mean that I can't understand how something simple can touch or alter someone's life, because I too have my own version of this lollipop, and it's pictured here:


A simple leaf, handed to me by the most innocent, smiling and beautiful little Mexican girl I've ever encountered. She gave it to me in a small village in Ixtapa, where my family traveled almost ten years ago. Most of them sat in the fancy resort, relaxing at the pool and beach for the entire week, but I wanted to venture away and see the locals. I found a driver who knew a family, living in a poor village close to the resort. At the sound of car wheels spinning down the dirt road, the young children and father ran out of the house, excited to see a visitor. They didn't speak English, but the dark-skinned girl's smile glowed in the reflection of the bright sun, and she handed me something from the ground. This leaf, as a welcome gift to her modest home. About a year later, I placed the leaf on a postcard I found, which is emblazoned with John Lennon's meaningful lyrics "Imagine all the people...sharing all the world." At that moment, I realized life is what you make it, that happiness for me has absolutely no correlation to riches or superficial things, but rather to simple human connections, travel and family.

Despite the frailty and tendency of brittle leaves to break apart, this one has remained solid through plane rides, and several office moves. The postcard and leaf have sat on the corkboard by my desk at three different law firms. A reminder of humility, of what's most important to me in life, and that the simplest actions or words can dramatically alter someone's life. For either good or bad, but hopefully the former...

Do you have a similar experience or item that you've kept for many years?


( 70 comments — Leave a comment )
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May. 19th, 2015 03:49 pm (UTC)
I would never forget how, probably, 5-6 years old girl was looking at my 10-years daughter in a small Mexican souvenir shop, built of the wooden sticks aside of the jungle road. She was looking at here like my daughter was a princess from a Magic Kingdom.. The girl was poorly dressed and barefoot, for her touching this little treasures on the shelves were likely not allowed and she was watching every move. I wanted to take a picture of that but something stopped me... I do not know why, but I felt some guilt of doing it... like I feel wrong making this famous Afghan girl NatGeo image, used as a symbol of anger and suffering from poverty and foreign invasions. But was it, really? Most likely, the Afghan girl was just angry at the photographer.
But that's all stored in my memory.
May. 19th, 2015 04:14 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing. I'm always impacted most by young children, because there's such beauty in their innocence and curiosity. I'll never forget the young boys I met in Palestine, living in dirt and poor villages, yet so welcoming and sweet, running to hug me. I showed them in a post, a few months ago. For this reason, I'm not sure I could emotionally handle going to a place like India or even Vietnam, where I've read it's so common for poor children to beg and approach you on the streets. :( I would want to help them all, and it's not possible in my lifetime. I have neither the time nor resources.

 photo 584244_900_zpscwy7pseq.jpg
(no subject) - pin_gwin - May. 19th, 2015 04:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 19th, 2015 03:51 pm (UTC)
When this rabbit was made? That is the question. It's not like he is very old.
May. 19th, 2015 04:17 pm (UTC)
It's a good question, I don't know the answer. Perhaps the rabbit lollipop was just well taken care of and tightly packaged because it was so meaningful to its original owner? This could explain it's good condition. As I stated in the post, I can hardly believe the leaf that little Mexican girl gave me has survived almost a decade. Maybe some type of divine intervention is at work in both cases? :) Unfortunately, in this museum, the directors didn't speak English well, and everything was written in Russian, so it was hard for me to understand the significance or full history of every item there.
May. 19th, 2015 03:55 pm (UTC)
Я знаток человеческих душ, вне всяких сомнений
Every man feels something similar to that you described when he putting on wife's pantyhose for the first time:)
May. 19th, 2015 04:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Я знаток человеческих душ, вне всяких сомнений
This is a serious post, I'm in a sentimental mood today! And can't men get arrested in Russia for wearing their wives' pantyhose? :))) What candy did you eat in Soviet childhood?
May. 19th, 2015 04:41 pm (UTC)
A chocolate cat is kept by me family for more than 7 years. Noone dared to eat it, because we all are cat-lovers and it seems terrible to eat a cat even chocolate one.
May. 19th, 2015 04:50 pm (UTC)
The chocolate cat was a gift? We have the same dilemma here in the U.S. each year, when it's common to give young kids decorative, chocolate bunnies around Easter time. Some of them are too cute to eat. :)
(no subject) - sab123 - May. 19th, 2015 06:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - May. 19th, 2015 06:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sab123 - May. 19th, 2015 06:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - May. 19th, 2015 06:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mcjabberwock - May. 19th, 2015 07:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - May. 19th, 2015 07:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lohmatiy_sumrak - May. 20th, 2015 08:23 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 19th, 2015 06:06 pm (UTC)
Американская гостья о простых вещах, которые нас радую
User udikov referenced to your post from Американская гостья о простых вещах, которые нас радуют saying: [...] Шеннон написала пост "Красота простоты..." >>> [...]
May. 19th, 2015 06:18 pm (UTC)
Shannon, you are all very well written. I would place this child, too, would not eat rabbit. In my life there is so touching stories, but when I go to my parents, I eat the same silver spoon. How many can remember, she has always eaten. And yet I have a favorite childhood toy Christmas tree. Also at home parents. There she is. Photos are not very good quality, unfortunately.

May. 19th, 2015 06:27 pm (UTC)
I also have a lot of sentimental ornaments from family and relatives, which hang on my Christmas tree each year. I even wrote a post about it, which you can read here http://peacetraveler22.livejournal.com/60240.html.
(no subject) - udikov - May. 20th, 2015 07:01 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - May. 20th, 2015 11:50 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 19th, 2015 06:43 pm (UTC)
sad story ...
My childhood was very happy)
my youth was the happiest!
My student years were the happiest)
my first job in the Pamirs was the best in the world))

.. and then the Soviet Union collapsed ..
War - a sense of constant fear
hungry - hungry all the time
back home, but at home nobody expected ...
Siberia, the lack of money is terrible ...
... then I went home to Kazan ....

   ... I'm tired ..
But I survived
I will not give up.

May. 19th, 2015 06:52 pm (UTC)
You're not alone! Many of my readers have fond memories from their Soviet childhoods. :)
(no subject) - a_nimaida - May. 19th, 2015 07:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 19th, 2015 08:39 pm (UTC)
Probably to difficult to understand Russia?
May. 19th, 2015 08:48 pm (UTC)
Yes, it's difficult to understand many facets of Russia and Russian people and culture, but that's why I like traveling there. It's always an interesting experience, and never boring. Each time, I learn something new.
(no subject) - unmodern_person - May. 19th, 2015 08:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - May. 19th, 2015 08:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - unmodern_person - May. 19th, 2015 08:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - May. 19th, 2015 09:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - unmodern_person - May. 19th, 2015 09:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - onkel_hans - May. 19th, 2015 10:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - unmodern_person - May. 19th, 2015 11:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Did you? - onkel_hans - May. 20th, 2015 12:14 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Did you? - unmodern_person - May. 20th, 2015 01:19 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Did you? - onkel_hans - May. 20th, 2015 01:37 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Did you? - unmodern_person - May. 20th, 2015 01:43 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Did you? - andrey_kaminsky - May. 20th, 2015 06:16 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Did you? - unmodern_person - May. 20th, 2015 08:32 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Did you? - andrey_kaminsky - May. 20th, 2015 08:51 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Did you? - unmodern_person - May. 20th, 2015 09:02 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Did you? - andrey_kaminsky - May. 20th, 2015 09:09 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Did you? - unmodern_person - May. 20th, 2015 09:20 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Did you? - andrey_kaminsky - May. 20th, 2015 09:29 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Did you? - peacetraveler22 - May. 20th, 2015 02:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Did you? - unmodern_person - May. 20th, 2015 08:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Did you? - unmodern_person - May. 20th, 2015 01:47 am (UTC) - Expand
Sorry - onkel_hans - May. 20th, 2015 12:20 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 19th, 2015 10:15 pm (UTC)
I never understood the habit of eating the Easter bunnies!
May. 20th, 2015 01:12 am (UTC)
You don't give your daughter chocolate bunnies at Easter? I always feel guilty eating the cute eggs my nephew decorates for me at Easter. I feel like I'm squashing all his creative and artistic efforts in doing so! :)
(no subject) - onkel_hans - May. 20th, 2015 01:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - May. 20th, 2015 01:31 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - onkel_hans - May. 20th, 2015 01:42 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 20th, 2015 02:35 am (UTC)
I had a collection of stones from my childhood but I wasn't so attached to it over the years and lost all the stones. So I don't have no such particular thing like you have but I had been planning many years ago, to do a shelf with the items from all the trips I made instead of the photos only. It is very helpful for the remembering what had happened there, like traveling in the past.
May. 20th, 2015 02:28 pm (UTC)
I have only one stone, which I picked up recently from the Baltic Sea in Lithuania. It sits on the bookcase in my room. :)
May. 20th, 2015 03:29 am (UTC)
We had plenty of different sweets but...
I don't remember anything like bunny :) So it was quite unusual sweet. Among figurines we usually had colorful transparent caramel roosters or chocolate Ded Moroz or something like this (as I remember, we had chocolate bunnies also but no colorful bunnies; I don't mean color foil in which bunnies are packed).
May. 20th, 2015 02:25 pm (UTC)
Re: We had plenty of different sweets but...
I did not imply that there was NO candy for Soviet children, only that they weren't usually as decorative as this bunny. :) And my Russian friend told me this, I didn't create the statement on my own.
May. 20th, 2015 06:24 am (UTC)
Shannon, I did the same thing 5 years ago :) like this little boy)

In 2010 I was in Moscow and my friend gave me a chocolate cat as a present for my birthday. The cat was so pretty and cute!
I brought it to my home to Tashkent and then to my mother's home to Chirchik town.
We decided not to it the cat immediately, it was so nice :)

Now 5 years passed, but the Kitty is still in my refrigerator) She lives there on shelve) And we will eat her never, I suppose))
May. 20th, 2015 02:28 pm (UTC)
Most Russians have such strong attachments and reactions to kitties. :)) There doesn't seem to be as many dog lovers there as in the USA.
May. 21st, 2015 07:20 pm (UTC)
There are also cute candles, made like kittens. I was given two of those once. I didn't want them to be melted by fire, so I cut the wicks off and thus turned the candles into figurines.
May. 21st, 2015 07:22 pm (UTC)
Creative idea! :)
(no subject) - stella_vega - May. 22nd, 2015 07:46 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 22nd, 2015 12:59 pm (UTC)
When I was a child I used to "help" my grandmother when she baked pies. Once I made a human figure from pastry and when it was ready I decided not to eat it. It was being kept in her sideboard for more than 15 years...
Btw nowadays I can't understand an idea of making candies and cakes and so on like animate beings, I just can't eat a lollipop looking like rabbit of a chocolate looking like Santa. For me such figures are living things!
Once I used to keep things just as traces of some events but now I do not do such things. All I need is digital or in my memory. ;)))

Edited at 2015-05-22 01:02 pm (UTC)
May. 22nd, 2015 01:04 pm (UTC)
It's funny how some people have this reaction, because I never once hesitated to eat animate objects in candy forms. :) I think nowadays almost all candies are made in the shape or some animal or character. Otherwise, such sweets will not catch the eyes of kids. They're more demanding consumers nowadays. :)
May. 27th, 2015 05:24 am (UTC)
Oh my gosh look at baby A!! So cute!! I love this story. On a superficial note, I have never been able to eat things with faces or in the shapes of animals, etc...
When I was 15 my first crush/boy best friend came to see me when I was very very sick. I looked and felt terrible and didn't want to see him, so he sat and visited with my mom for hours downstairs, when he left he yelled up to me, "feel better, I love you!" My mom came up and told me how sweet he was and what they talked about and how cute it was that he came by... he had brought me a red rose... to this day I still have the petals in my jewelry box. It was just one of the simplest, selfless, warmest things I've ever felt. And it touches my heart when I open the box and come across the dried petals amd remember feeling so loved.
May. 27th, 2015 01:48 pm (UTC)
Yeah, baby "A" was so cute! :)) Now, he's a big boy and "dude." :) It's a nice story about the rose. I also have similar momentos in a memory box from my first love.
(no subject) - amandakysses - May. 28th, 2015 05:56 am (UTC) - Expand
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