“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”Matthew 13:45-46
Friday evening, after a twenty-one and a half days and more than 15,000 miles, Rebekah arrived safely home in Wake Forest. This included literally running through Washington’s Dulles International, negotiating with customs and security personnel at every airport (her ticket was somehow flagged “security risk”), and being thankful that – for the third international trip in succession – she was not checking any baggage.
She is exhausted but happy, having successfully won the heart of our two and a half year old grandson and experienced the Bahraini culture of grace and hospitality at its best.
Loot (a.k.a. souvenirs) is hard to haul when all you have is an 18-pound carry-on, but Rebekah managed to bring back some representations of the place and the history.
My favorite is what I call, “The Pearl of Great Price.” Earlier posts mentioned the importance of the pearl trade to Bahrain. It is a protected and highly regulated industry – no cultured pearls allowed. There was a time in the early 20th Century when Bahraini pearls were valued more than diamonds.
So Rebekah found some amazing examples, both the rare pear-shaped pearl and a unique bracelet made of dozens of tiny natural seed pearls – and they say “Bahrain” as well as anything. The following paragraph captures the story well
Bahrain means ‘two seas’ in Arabic, referring to both its salty waters and its submarine freshwater springs – one possible explanation behind the fact that the quality of Bahraini pearls is unrivaled and their appeal universal. Before the age of air travel, jeweler Jacques Cartier visited Bahrain to source gems himself…“String of Pearls” by Manon Mollard
Rebekah found some interesting pottery, including reproduction Dilmun era pottery from the 3rd Millennium BCE.
You may remember the photo featuring Rebekah and a Bahraini merchant at the spice shop from a recent post…? Well, she brought back some wonderful examples for me, including some beautiful saffron, along with a brass mortar and pestle.
Here are a few examples. I have arranged the photos in a gallery featuring a short label on each image.
The most priceless souvenir Rebekah returned with, however, was a growing relationship with our grandson, Mr. T. I could see it in his eyes when they did a video chat this morning.
This is a huge, expansive, diverse, colorful, wide wide world; but it is only as precious as the connections we make, and maintain, and commit ourselves too. – DEREK