An Ink Well of Memories

Over the weekend I cleaned out my desk, an ongoing, never ending task it seems.  There were the usual items like paper clips and highlighters, a plethora of sticky notes and sticky tabs (which I can not live without) and all manner of minutiae commonly found in a desk drawer. 
The one thing I noticed as I sorted through my collection of pens is that they come from near and far.  Literally.  Each one also seems to have a story.
The first pen, if you can’t read it, says Brussels. And yes it is from Brussels. I didn’t actually buy this pen.  The family and I went up to Brussels one weekend (a two hour-ish drive from our former home in Bonn).  While we were there we stopped in to have dinner with a colleague of CP’s, also an American abroad.  During the course of waiting for dinner Thor wanted to draw. I had paper but nothing to write with. It simply wasn’t going to cut it. CP’s colleague gave Thor the pen shown above and told him to keep it. I hadn’t thought about that dinner, now three or four years ago, in a long time until I came across this pen.
The next pen I use a lot because it usually sits next to my bed for when I get that In the Middle of the Night Idea and need to jot it down.  It’s from London’s Sheraton Heathrow Airport Hotel.  In the summer before the Chick joined our family, Thor and I tagged along on one of CP’s many business trips to London.  While CP was off doing whatever it is he does, Thor and I were left to take the Underground into the city and be wild and free.  As wild and free as any mom and five year old can anyway.
This pen is from Paris.  The TimHotel Louvre (like the name suggests, just behind the Louvre Museum) was the chosen sleeping venue when my mom and I went to Paris two years ago.  A surprise trip arranged by CP and my dad months before my parents came to visit us in Bonn for Christmas.  It was my mom’s first trip to Paris and I got to impress her with my mediocre high school French (see mom, I actually did study!).  We ate good, saw the sights and did plenty of bonding.
The last pen is a bittersweet one.  It’s from the Hilton in Bonn.  This was were I spent my last two nights as a American with a German residence visa.  When we left the hotel the final morning, it was for a last glimpse of my former nearly four year life as an expat.  At the time I was delighted to say goodbye.  Looking back now, I’m wondering when or if I’m ever going back.
So that’s my Ink Well of Memories.  Do you have some small, practically worthless item that brings back memories?  Do you take the free pen from hotels like I do (or do you prefer to steal soaps)?

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