Mathilde Shares Stories
#4 Black Swallows
Hey there 👋 I’m Mathilde. Every week I explore the intersection of consumerism, myth, satisfaction, desire, joy and pride. Not specifically in that order. To brag at your next dinner, Objet is the french word for 'object' and should be pronounced 'OB-JEH'. You're welcome.
#4 Black Swallows
My dear little swallows. As nossas andorinhas.
They symbolize an important chapter of my life. Three years in a city that saw me through quite a radical life change: from a woman to a mãe, a mother. Twice, baby.
These andorinhas were a gift from our sweet neighbors, the rare kind of neighbors who become friends. Meet Inês and João.
For almost three years, we've shared a sunny spot outside our homes, through normal times, and through pandemic times. Inês was my daily buddy: from regular help on my Portuguese pronunciations (she's a professional voice maker, Angelina Jolie’s Portuguese voice, don't try her) to updates on recent political measures (oh really, we're in lockdown?), from neighborhood gossips to entertaining our respective kids (school closed, uh?), from comparing our radish sprouts (hers were always growing way faster 🤷🏻♀️) to almost falling from the generous lemon tree, from sharing food deliveries to sneaking in for an egg or a bottle of wine (Saúde! We're in this together).
December 2020, another covid peak, and me being 6-month pregnant, we stay in Lisbon for Christmas. Knock knock. Here come our Portuguese Santas, handing over these two swallows. I didn't know much about their meaning, aside from being a Portuguese symbol. Now I know (you will soon, too 😎).
1896. Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro (a Portuguese artist and one of Portugal's 1st comics creator) patented these clay swallows, as we know them today. They soon became part of the Portuguese culture, and symbolize love and loyalty, anchor and family. "When we have a swallow inside or outside the house, this bird carries along the nostalgia of the one who offered it, a good memory. (...) It is said that when we offer a swallow, we are basically giving a part of ourselves that remains there. We are creating a connection”, says archeologist Ricardo Brochado.
I am and will be forever grateful of this friendship, that made these years so, so special.
Fun facts about swallows now - so you can brag at your Valentine’s 💝 : they fly up to 6000 kilometers twice a year, escaping the insect scarcity of cold winters. They live up to 10 years, in average 6. They usually have one life-long partner, yep. The couple builds the nest together, a permanent one that will be used for several years (like, they’re coming back to the exact same nest year after year). 1100 back and forth are necessary to build a nest. Call it commitment.
Objet is a mobile app that helps you build your collection of possessions, so that you can train the skill of knowing what you want and need.
Objet is also a community of people who want to be at peace with what they have.
In case you missed our come back, here’s a snapshot of the past months:
📰 |🇫🇷 French public agency for Ecological Transition (ADEME) reveals the results of a 7-month study with 21 households, on our consumption and decluttering habits (🙏 Flo). Although far from being a statistical truth (sample is so tiny), interesting to see how 1. estimating then 2. counting objects per category triggers a “aha” moment. Question now: is this feeling dragging you down? Don’t worry, we’re working on it! 🤓
PS1: yellow: estimation | green: reality
PS2: looks like lying to one’s self is pretty gender agnostic 😎
Til next week,
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élucubration n.f. : production déraisonnable, absurde, issue de recherches laborieuses ; divagation, extravagance. Pardon our french.