I always get so sad after I finish a good book. I revisited a trilogy that I started in high school...but had not had the chance, or perhaps the endurance, to finish until today.

Now what. (rhetorical question, thus the lack of a question mark...because it wouldn't quite fit there)

I have recently acquired a copy of Van Gogh's letters to his brother, of course in French. I could have bought the Engish translation, but that wouldn't be the same, and since I can't read Dutch...but can read French, I can at least read the final letters in his life (some of the most important in my opinion, anyway), in their original language. It is such a thrill.

Unlike most sightseeing tourists...my souvenirs (if they exist at all) tend to be mostly ticket stubs and worn out maps. I don't send postcards or letters, which I see as mostly superficial and a waste of time...(as well as presents the dilemma--to whom do I send them)...

So, what do I buy when I do buy things?

Thus far a chess board in Krakow...and books. Lots of books. Ah, while every other backpacker tries to limit the weight they carry around, it seems as if I masochistically continue to add to it. But I cannot resist!

For example, the Van Gogh book. I've been fascinated with him ever since I saw a special exhibition in LACMA when I was either a freshman in high school or at the end of my years in middle school. In any case, it was the first time I actually really appreciated art. There was a narrative behind the pictures, a reason, a history, a feeling behind almost every painting. There was a chronology, some sense...logic...feeling and love as well as despair. He has been my favorite artist ever since.

I remember coming home from the exhibit visibly shaken by the new cultural/emotional window that the art had opened in my mind. I wanted that painting...Wheatfield with Crows. One of his last paintings, which some claim foreshadow his death. I told my parents, who soon went to the exhibit I had so highly acclaimed. They returned...with a huge styrofoam poster of the painting. I was elated.

And they put it up in their room.

It looks like I am a pretty good saleswoman. They loved the painting as well.

So when I went to the largest Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam a couple weeks ago. I wanted that painting. Then I looked in my wallet, and bought the postcard.

Long story short, look for the postcard on my walls of my room next year back at Berkeley. Ooh lala.

Now back to Van Gogh...

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