Like the "Perfect Attendance" awards I'd get in middle school, these certificates herald dubious achievements. And clearly, they slipped in before I started throwing away all the scraps of paper I'd collect on my trips.
Once, I'd treat mementos as sacred. Little slips of paper that would jog my memory. "Remember that hot day we climbed to the top of Borobudur and all the kids crowded around in their headscarves to take photos with the tourists?"
I found them in the bottom of a box and they *did* jog my memory. I'd forgotten all about visiting Prambanan Temple, the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia. It's from another time, since in my life, I measure things in sections. There's pre-college, college, the indie rock years, the East Village years... and all these were pre-MariesWorldTour, pre-2001, pre-Australia, Spain, Uganda, Namibia, Kuwait, pre-Cairo, pre-teaching, pre-revising my expectations, from when hopes and dreams were not hopes and dreams, but rather definites that just needed time to materialize. Another lifetime. Was that really me?
And this will pass. Soon this past decade will be a distant memory, not of scraps of paper. We don't do those anymore. No, the last decade is one of blogs and online photo albums. The lost decade, the second the electricity goes out.