I love shawls and scarves. They bring warmth on a cold day. They’re versatile. You can fold them so that they only take a small space in your bag (or sometimes tie them to the bag handle), and bring them out when the temperature drops or when the cold wind blows. They also add a bit of color to an otherwise dull attire of blacks and grays and browns, worn during winter or autumn.
More than these reasons, my shawls and scarves bring with them a bit of memory of each place I went to and each experience I had. These 14 shawls are more than rectangular pieces of fabric to me. They are a colorful tapestry of experiences, people and places.
The first and second from the left are gifts from my Ate (older sister) when I visited the UK for the first time in 2019 so these are really special to me. The third one (light blue) is from Manila; I bought it during my last Christmas there prior to my foreign assignment. The fourth (purple) is from Vienna during my first visit in December 2018. The 5th is from SM North, a popular mall in Quezon City; I bought it just a week before I left for Paris.
The 6th is from Abu Dhabi; its maroon color and gold threads show the richness of Middle Eastern art. I got it as a souvenir during our apprenticeship/training there prior to posting. The 7th is from Myeong-dong, South Korea, during one of our side trips after the work meeting ended. The 8th is from a Pylones shop in Paris during my 1st walk around the area near the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. It’s one of three designs I got and I really like its vibrant colors; the others are already with two of my dear friends. The 9th is also from Paris; I bought it 2018 during the Christmas market in Jardin des Tuileries. Featuring a painting of the Eiffel Tower, it is my second favorite. I bought three others from the same stall, all featuring famous paintings. Those three were given as gifts to my three sisters.
The 10th is from Koh Samui, Thailand; I got it from a stall in an open market. I noticed that elephant prints are common in Thai designs but I chose the three nicest ones—one each for me, my mom and my friend’s mom. The 11th (maroon/gray with flower prints) is from an open market in Paris which is only open from 7am-1pm every Saturday. My work colleagues brought me there to be familiar with the area during my first few months in Paris. The 12th (pink with embroidered flowerets, and gold threads in each pistil) is my favorite. It is from Pakistan and my Ate’s gift to me. The 13th (red) is from the Charminar area in Hyderabad, India. The last one (light brown, checkered) is from a shopping mall in Paris and the last one I bought.
I really love the designs in Pylones. This French gift shop chain brings out the child in me. Whenever I visit one, I have to stop myself from buying many things especially that I’m not a child anymore. Haha! A shawl is alright. 🙂
I can’t help but miss the warmth and enthusiasm of vendors and sellers in the Philippines, especially in open markets or tiangge when I happen to go to similar places abroad. For example, the lady seller in Myeong-dong was so irritable. I think she considered it a waste of time that I was looking for more than a minute among her wares. The good thing was, I found two I really liked and that was enough for me to still smile and thank her after I bought the shawls.
With regard to the elephant designs of the shawls in Thailand, I was sure they’re distinct. But imagine my surprise mixed with dismay when I saw a similar design in Divisoria (a popular tiangge in Manila). I remember thinking, “Oh why?” 😦 But it’s okay, the one I have is still much more special. (Remember the haughty rose in “The Little Prince”? It’s something like that.) 😉
Some open markets have more selections than the shops in malls. With a discerning eye for quality, one can buy a lot of shawls and home accessories for just the price of three items in malls.
I have many more thoughts, but I’ll end here. Just remember that when I give you a shawl, it doesn’t mean I ran out of gift ideas. It means you’re special to me. Oh, I have more thing to add: No matter how warm a shawl makes me feel, I still prefer the warmth from a heartfelt hug. 🙂