I’m fascinated by books that transmit knowledge and culture across language barriers, which is why I have whole shelves of familiar books in unfamiliar languages. (I’m not crazy; I’m erudite! At least that’s what I keep telling myself.)
One of the books I own in multiple languages is The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
Above are copies in Lao(atian), Khmer (the language of Cambodia), Vietnamese, Portuguese, the original French, and Italian.
I bought the Lao and Khmer copies at Monument Books in Vientiane in 2015; I just recently bought the Vietnamese one at one of the three Artbook locations in Hanoi; I bought the Portuguese one in Porto, Portugal, in 2004. I unknowingly kicked off the habit of buying Le Petit Prince in other languages when I bought the Italian one in Italy in 2002. I probably bought the English version between 1999 and 2004.
The French copy is the one I used when I was a senior in high school. The book, designed for students, includes a glossary at the back, but I added footnotes.
Do I have an English translation of Le Petit Prince? Yes, but it’s not in the photo because it’s in a box with a bunch of other books we don’t have shelves for. There is more than one such box.
Bottom left, you see 1984? I have that in Portuguese, too.
I went to the National Library to write some snail mail in peace and quiet. When the mail was ready, I went next door to drop it in the postbox at Bras Basah Complex. Then I got snared by the used book bookshop on the corner there. It must have been at least an hour later that I re-emerged with SG$20 less in my wallet and these six books in my backpack.
…but when I do, I use as many old stamps as I can get my hands on.” —Mom
Here are stamps from 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2012. (Because honestly, who restocks their stationery drawer in odd-numbered years?)
Wait, hang on, that Elvis one is from 1993! We Wertses had that stamp several years before we had email!
It’s not worth anything, though; I checked. Apparently the 1993 Elvis stamp was really popular, so the US Postal service printed tons and tons of them. Which is probably (part of) why the Werts house still had some in 2016.*
*Update: Mom says at least some of these stamps (including the Elvis one) came from me! Apparently I gave her a bunch of stamps when I left the US in 2008 and knew I would not be able to use them to mail things from Singapore.
These are some of the smaller rocks I brought back from Maine. I’ve (cleaned them thoroughly and) glued a magnet to each of them. That means they stick in those metal tins! The incense boxes are plastic, but I’m using them because they’re a bit taller and can thus accommodate the two rocks that are a bit taller.
Books and rocks are just about the heaviest things one could imagine bringing back from a vacation, and yet books and rocks are exactly what we brought back from our latest trip to the opposite side of the planet.
In fact, bringing back books and/or rocks from trips is fairly typical for us. What made this trip’s haul particularly absurd was that the books were about rocks.