Vicki’s End-of-Year Nondenominational Gift List

Do you like to engage in mindless consumerism like me? Are you also weird and international-y? Perhaps you might be interested in some of these offerings for your New Year celebration.  I know I would. Even more than I am interested in this gift list.

*nudge nudge wink wink elbow elbow*

P.S. I don’t actually need any of this stuff. Just peace on Earth and a permanent address.

1.  Apples are From Kazkahstan: More than a travelogue, it is a wonderful book exploring a country that few know about except for when it comes up in Borat. I finished this in a couple weeks.  It is charming, like having tea with your favorite British professor that also happened to have traveled the world about 10 years ago and peels back its layers for you as you eat tea cakes.

2.  Kiva-One of the ways I give to charity is through Kiva. Not only is it an anagram of my name in Russian, it’s also a good way to not just mindlessly pour money into donations you’ll never see again.  The concept is that of microfinance, and you get all the money you lend back so that you can re-give it to someone else.  I currently have loans out in Mongolia, Armenia, and Lebanon, and I try to give to women entrepreneurs as much as possible.  Can I guarantee with certainty that the money is being used and distributed efficiently?  No.  Can I feel smug about giving to charity AND practicing microeconomics? Yes.

3. Baba Yagada’s Prints of Tel Aviv Series-Her whole shop is pretty great, but her Tel Aviv pictures so perfectly capture the essence of the city that I want four of them in a room so the room can start smelling like sand and cool tile.

4. Washington DC Metro Canvas-Self-explanatory.  I miss my boo. The DC Metro system. (I also miss Yuppie Food Riots)

5.  Gift Certificate to Zahav, Continental, and Max Brenner-If I’m going to live here, I’m going to eat here.  And I want to eat some good things. Especially chocolate by the bald man!

6. Henri Bendel bling-I’ve opened and closed the tab on this one at least 100 times since November because I want to buy myself some big girl jewelry, but I just can’t bring myself to pull the trigger. It’s probably better that way, because now it’s sold out and can’t tempt me. Love is not fair.

7. Maya Zankoul‘s Amalgam (and Amalgam 2)-I don’t agree with some of her more political cartoons but her doodles about life in Lebanon are so fantastic and so cute and so colorful and it gives me insight to a culture I would otherwise never have access to.

8. The Instructions-Is the book bigger than a rabbit?  If yes, then I want it.

9. Silver Duck Mirror-Makes the perfect addition to my fantasy Alice in Wonderland room that I have all planned out in my mind.

10. New Year’s Card from Russia from the 1980s-WHOANOSTALGIAWAVE.

“Happy New Year Children-Happy New Year 1989. I wish you health and health again and a cheerful holiday mood.  Thank you for your congratulations….somethingsomethingsomething that my horrible Russian cursive reading skills fail me at deciphering.” They even have the zip code dots connected and everything *sniff* I remember those suckers. They were tricky.  Addressed to Riga, Latvia, from Leningrad in December 1988.  Here’s one more from my parents’ youth.  Ok. I have to stop before I break out in tears for my childhood.  But the dots.  The dots.

11. Veuve Clicquot Travel Case-Since we travel so much, it’s only appropriate.  I am actually planning on buying this and, when we buy a house and close on it, we will sit in the empty house with our travel case, two glasses, and the champagne, and drink it, glass by glass, until it’s gone and we can’t feel feelings anymore.  Then we’ll fall asleep on the floor of our house and not do another thing or go anywhere because we won’t have to.

Vicki

6 thoughts on “Vicki’s End-of-Year Nondenominational Gift List

  1. OH MY GOD THE POSTAL CODE DOTS. They still have those, and we still receive them on envelopes from technophobe grandparents at Rozhdistvo Khristovo and Paskha. I love that there’s an official “how to fill the numbers in” guide in the Russian bureaucracy too and that they’ll frown at you if you do them wrong.

    My interpretation of the rest of the sloppy cursive:
    Спасибо за поздравления с днем рождения, жду посылку, может быть мне в начале выслать деньги, пиши я вышлю, сколько?
    Целую и обнимаю вас, Варя

    Or not. It’s a crapshoot.

    1. Could be! Thanks for deciphering it. I’ll wait until some other Russian mangled cursive experts weigh in.
      There’s something about reading peoples’ handwriting on old postcards, reading about quotidien problems from 20 years ago, that really appeals to me.

      At first I thought Rozhdistvo Khristovo and Paskha were towns and I’m like, your grandparents live in crazy red state territory in Russia and then I realized.

  2. I don’t know how to explain that I completely get what you mean about the dots despite never having heard of them before this post — but I completely get it.

    It’s like the asimon I saw someone in Israel wearing on a chain around her neck. An asimon! (and if you don’t know what that is, you are officially Too Young).

  3. Oh the dots, I had forgotten all about them!

    Now where can I find notebooks with diagonal lines for which to practice the appropriate degree of slant of my cursive?

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