Teacher Diaries: Mr. James – Treasures

Many things in our lives are valuable to us, but at the present moment we may not always realise how precious they really are to us. Sometimes, we need to take a step back to reflect upon what matters in our lives.

When I was 7 years old, my parents suggested that my sister and I should make a time capsule to bury in our garden. This capsule was a small box that my mother made us fill with ten things from our lives at that time.

I put in various objects in my time capsule, including a cassette recording of me and my sister talking together, a picture of my two cats at the time, and a toy that I had loved a lot as a child. For the first few months, I would look at the flowerbed where it lay just a few feet below the ground. I initially had to fight back the temptation to dig it up, but over the years, I gradually began to forget about the existence of my time capsule.

It was fourteen years later, in 2016, when my parents were due to move house and I was about to leave for Hong Kong, that my eyes fell upon the same spot where I had buried my time capsule. I struggled to remember anything I had put inside – I thought to myself that they obviously hadn’t been particularly valuable things, since I hadn’t spared them a single thought in so long.

Yet when I wiped the decade of soil away from the plastic box and opened it up, the memories that had been trapped in there for so long came back to me in a flash. I listened to the tape recording of the conversation with my sister (I actually struggled to find a cassette player!), looked at the faded photo of my two cats who had since died, and remembered how much I liked the toy that I had placed in there.

There is a saying in English: “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Although this usually refers to people far away from you, I think that its meaning still rings true for the contents of my time capsule. By rediscovering these records from my childhood, I came to reflect upon how much I treasure them as memories.

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