Growing up in Slovakia from age 9-18, I can remember looking for Christmas presents for my siblings each year and my dad encouraging us younger siblings to get or go in together to get Slovak pottery for our older sisters as they would have less time in Slovakia before leaving for college one day. For a number of years, that was my focus—finding traditional and beautiful Slovak gifts they’d be able to take with them one day, wherever in the world they ended up.
Fast forward to when I moved to the US for college and I realized just how few things from Slovakia I had to bring with me for my home one day. When Andrew and I got married, our budget was incredibly tight and nice things for our home were dependent on gifts from friends and things we found from our local thrift store. One day, we said—one day we’d put some money aside to support a pottery shop in Slovakia that I grew up visiting, and we’d get a few pieces of that part of my home and life to bring into our joint home with our family here in the US. One day.
Years passed and a friend from Austria passed on some of her Slovak pieces to me and I split those between myself and my younger sister. My pieces were immediately split into decorative ones and daily use ones, and every time I saw one of my kids carefully using a Modra pottery piece or asking about my memories in Slovakia while we’d sit together enjoying the pottery pieces, it warmed my heart.
And then we were moving states and buying our first house and with knowing a trip back to Slovakia isn’t going to be able to happen again for a few years, I asked Andrew what would he think if maybe, possibly, we pulled some of the money we’d set aside for the practical parts of setting up the house and got a few things from that pottery shop as a housewarming gift to our family to christen our new house? My heart’s country brought to our new home in his home state.
And today, weeks after ordering, everything arrived in perfect condition. The kids can’t wait to use their new tea cups, and I’ve been beaming all day, so thrilled to unpack a bit of my heart and tuck it into our new Tennessee home.
A big thanks to Slovenská ľudová majolika MODRA for working with me to figure out the logistics of getting pottery shipped to the US as safely and inexpensively as possible, and to each of the talented artists who created, painted, and fired the pottery. These are pieces we’ll cherish—for the beauty of the pieces, for the function they serve, for the country they represent, for the talent they showcase, for the home they help build.
Andrew and Melanie fell in love over late night snacks, dozing off in the middle of studying for exams, words, and a shared love for stories. We see stories everywhere: in the little day to day incidents and in the bigger sagas over days, months, and years of our time. We cherish the stories that root us and we rest in the Story that gives our lives meaning. We love seeing the threads of stories come together in gut-busting, belly-laugh-inducing, choke-on-your spit ways, and we love the gentle, quiet, easily missed stories that ultimately can play a bigger part in our lives than many other more obvious stories. We're young, we're old, we're growing, we're learning. We make a lot of mistakes, fall down a lot, struggle with life, sometimes sit in our sadness, but ultimately we pick ourselves back up again and keep on trekking. We're on a journey of parenthood now and have been for over ten years, learning and growing into it right along with our six children.