We’ve been having some single digit temperature days here in Michigan this week with wind chills well below zero. It doesn’t take too many of those before I start to fantasize about my favorite beaches. I was in Costa Rica at the beginning of the month and my tan/sunburn lines are still fading so it’s a not so distant a memory. I was glad that I had taken time while I was in Tamarindo to bring a little bit of the beach back home with me.
When I first arrived at the beach, of course I was immediately drawn to the water. The waves crashing on some rocks exposed by the low tide. The boats bobbing in the water in the distance. Then my attention returned to the beach itself. There were families there enjoying a hot afternoon, playing in the water. Then I noticed a girl who was focused down and not out like I had been. I looked down too and found a ribbon of tiny seashells running along the beach. They too had been exposed with the tide rolling out and had been the crunch below my feet.
I was amazed at how tiny they all were. And there were thousands and thousands. Usually when I visit the beach, serious shell collectors have already been there and gleaned the best. But these were fresh and there were so many! The closer I looked, the more I noticed how each one was a tiny perfect shell. Some were pink. Others were purple. Some were striped and others had spots. Mixed in were little bits of coral. I instinctively reached down and picked up a few that stood out to me. My driver for the day noticed me examining the shells and he came over and started to collect some of his favorites. He shared with me on a previous day that his favorite beach was Playa Conchal, the next beach north of Playa Tamarindo, and that he was an admirer of shells. We worked together for the next 10 minutes gathering the best the beach had to offer. He would stop occasionally and bring me his collection to add to my own. In the end, we had around 50 perfect little memories of Tamarindo.
I brought my collection of shells home. I always bring a little candle with me when I travel to help make my hotel room more like home. It was one of those ones you can find in a tin with a little lid. I had burned the last of it the night before I left so I put my shells in the tin for the trip home. I had wanted to make sure they were really protected as some were quite delicate. Once home, I washed and rinsed all the shells several times to make sure they were all clean and would smell a little less oceany.
I knew that I wanted to display my shells in some way so that I could enjoy them on days when I needed a beach pick-me-up. While stopping by my local import store, I found several good candidates. First I found a glass spice jar that of course came with a lid. I like this idea because it gives the shells some extra protection as they are encased. Additionally, it will keep the shells dust free so they don’t require a bath again. Over in the candle section, I found a small globe bowl that I also liked for the shells. It was clear so all could easily be seen. I think it would be a nice choice to display the shells on a shelf. The last candidate was intended to be a soap dish. It was blown glass with faint swirls of blue. It was the largest in diameter (at a whopping 4 inches!) and would allow most of the shells to be seen. I also liked the blue swirl as it reminded me of the waves of the ocean.
So, in the end, I have decided to use the soap dish. For now, I want to be able to admire all the shells easily. You could also mix in some potpourri. The kind that maybe has some small sticks or driftwood looking pieces. That would allow your shells to do double duty and be a treat visually and have some aromatherapy benefits. I could see this displayed on the counter in your bathroom, on an end table by a chair or on your dresser. Have no trips planned to the beach in your near future? You can get this same look by purchasing shells from an import or craft store. No one but you will know your source and it can still represent a vacation you really enjoyed!
I really like the idea of this souvenir. First, it is nearly free, especially if you used a container you already have on hand. Also, it involved me exploring the beach in a minute way. Collecting mini shells require you to slow down and just appreciate the day. It will also remind me of the friendship I developed with my driver who had helped me to explore many places during my week in Costa Rica. A collection of shells becomes a collection of memories.
What items have you collected during a vacation and how have you displayed them in your home?