The Things I’ve Carried


While I was in Florida last month, my mother watched me pull out my wallet to pay for something – probably candy.

“Geez,” she said. “Your wallet is huge.”

She was right. My purse has been weighing down my shoulders for weeks and the wallet – stuffed with heaps of euro coins – is the culprit.

So I sat down to clean it out. First, I scooped out the euro coins and put them in one of the pockets of my suitcase. Then I noticed that the business card slots were packed pretty tightly so I began to pull them out one by one, to see which I still needed and which I didn’t.

This is what I found:

My whole life as a serial expat- carried around with me each day, both figuratively and literally.

From Ireland: the KopiKat photocopy card from college, my dermatologist’s business card, member/saver cards from Brown Thomas, Boots, Dunnes, and Zeba. My membership card from the Literary Society at school. My 30-Day Student Bus Rambler Pass. My college ID.

From Japan: My Popeye Media Cafe membership card (ah, 久しぶりね 、 Popeye-san?), my Kenkouhoken card, my gaijin card.

From New York City: Metro cards, my New York State Driver’s License, the new Duane Reade’s club card, more club cards from Sephora and D’Agostino’s. Business cards from my dentist, a supposedly authentic yakiniku restaurant on St. Mark’s, and my friend, Thomas – production and talent.

From Italy: My health insurance card.

Up top, real money and play money.

And finally, the wallet itself – bought at the Tennoji Takashimaya in Osaka.

Countries lived in over a period of forty-three months: 3.

Times I’ve cleaned out my wallet since 2007: 1

Memories: Countless.

What will my wallet – and my shoulders – look like in a year?

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. Daruma says:

    They let you keep your gaijin card? O_o

    1. ieatmypigeon says:

      No one ever asked me for it back – plus, I’m legal to live in Japan until 2011 so I guess I need it. I kind of love having it around….

    2. Nate says:

      I had to surrender mine at the airport. You lucked out, Liv. 🙂

  2. anna says:

    Glad I was the motivator for such a memorable moment!
    Now you have some new space in the wallet to look forward filling up!!! Good Luck and enjoy!

  3. Hoo boy! I can definitely relate.

  4. Travelogged says:

    I’m not an expat, but I have a very overstuffed, messy wallet so this made me laugh. By the way, I love your wallet! Looks like it holds lots of stuff — all the better so you never have to throw anything away.

  5. I remember using “What is in your purse” as an ice breaker at a retreat one time. It is so fascinating to see what people squirrel (or packrat) away.

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