This morning, my last coffee cup broke. The wind outside picked up the sheets of paper under my coffee cup, knocking it off my outdoor writing perch, shattering it. It was the last of the set, and the end of my procrastination to get new coffee cups.
I’m particular about cups. I don’t like the little 8 oz thimbles that they sell. That means I have to go back and forth, soiling more spoons. No, one must have a coffee cup that one can sit with for periods of time. This requires 16 oz or better, in my experience, but those are difficult to find without having some dopey seasonal message, or some trendy saying on the cup.
In looking around today, I saw the remnants of what had been picked over for Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas… and then there were the religious ones… and lo, even a “Live Love Laugh”, the wisdom of 3 words attempting to summarize a philosophy built simply to make people think the world doesn’t suck. Spoiler: The world sucks.
The pickings were slim. Covid-19 has caused all sorts of problems with getting items into Trinidad and Tobago, and coffee cups are not native. Yet I did find some, two 20 oz cups associated with The Mandalorian.
That should be the end of the post, but it’s not.
Someone I know on Facebook asked, “What are the best things you have read, watched or listened to that relates to ‘belonging’, ‘a sense of home’ and ‘estrangement’?” with the quote to the right – a quote very near and dear to me as a “Third Culture Kid (TCK)“.
Home, for me, is not what home is for others – so what I consider as a sense of belonging or home is not tied to geography.
Today, I realized at least part of it is tied to… cups. Coffee cups. Wherever I have a familiar cup, I am home. I’ve had many over the years. The earliest one I remember was from Hershey, Pennsylvania, and may be the reason for the entire association.
It was a plastic Hershey cup, it said, “Hershey’ on it, and I associated it with my parents before their divorce, before moving to Trinidad and Tobago, of freedoms that I lost when I moved, about culture shifts… it was broken in what I was told was a washing accident by my stepmother, but that never added up. It was plastic, not brittle, and the base broken. Quite a bit of drama for my 11 year old self, where no one else seemed to realize what that cup meant to someone in an alien environment, whose mother was supposed to be coming and suddenly wasn’t, whose father was acting weird at best, a stepmother I didn’t really ask for and who really didn’t seem too interested in having me around… It was the last bit of evidence that I existed somewhere else, once upon a time, in a happier place.
And, until today, I didn’t realize the significance of my cups throughout my life. When something good happened, when I achieved something… I would replace my cup, or get an additional one.
Home? A concept I’ve been trying to understand as others do.