Istanbul, May 2016. What is habitat? What happens with places, where people live and what happens with people if these places change? How do we find identity in our habitat and how do we make the places we live our own habitat?
Erasmus enables you to meet many different people from all around the world. They travelled thousands of kilometres from home to live, love and study in the same city as you. They change their habitat for half a year or more. And their Habitat changes them. But there are tiny pieces of home we all carry with us. Objects that might not have any practical use, they may seem mousy to people who do not know the story behind them. But to us they have a significant emotional value. They are home. They are part of our old and of our new Habitat.
"My sisters gave me this giraffe as a present after a break up almost seven years ago. It’s my favourite animal and it should help me to get over the break up. Her name is Frieda and I take it with me wherever I live. From Stuttgart to Nice in France to Saarbrücken to Freiburg to Cologne.”
Carolin, 26, Germany
"I bought these socks for my dad for father’s day. His name is Leo so I found it pretty funny. Unfortunately, they are much too small for him. But they are my size so he gave them back to me when I was studying in another city to remind me of home. But I’m much too afraid that I could ruin them so I only wear them at home before I go to bed.”
Eefje Hendriks, 20, Netherlands
“I love playing basketball so I search for a possibility to play everywhere I am. And for the case that I should find a basketball court and some people to play with, I always carry these shorts with me since I started playing basketball ten years ago. Seriously. Always.”
Anaïs, 20, France
"This is Enno. I got him as a present from my sister and a good friend before I came to Istanbul. He can hide things in his mouth so the put two letters inside of him I should read when I would ever feel sad. But of course I already read them. I was too curious.”
Leonie, 24, Germany
“I got this handmade bracelet from my best friends Ebru and Seyde. We studied together and now we are living in different parts of the world. I’m in Istanbul, so this bracelet should remind me of our friendship.”
Betül, 23, Germany
“I brought these Clums (we call it Klompen) from my hometown Zaanstreek. I am a writer for my university’s magazine. My co-writes gave them to me together with waffles and candy so I wouldn’t get homesick. Unfortunately I already ate all the waffles so I only have the Clums left to remind me of home.”
Deniz, 24, Netherlands
“I have this dreamcatcher from my ex-boyfriend’s mum, to whom I felt really close to. She bought it for me because I had a lot of bad dreams at that time. Sadly, the dreamcatcher doesn’t seem to work. I still have bad dreams. Maybe because I cannot hang it over my bed because my landlord doesn’t allow holes in the wall.”
Fay Wang, 26, China
“This fluffy christmas tree ball was one of the first gifts of my boyfriend. We met in South Africa and he bought it from a market – yees they indeed have christmas trees in South Africa! Since then it’s always hanging next to my bed and I also put it over my bed here in Istanbul.”
Franziska, 28, Germany
“This bean belongs to a spanish tradition we have for the Three-Kings-Day. We buy a cake in which three king figures and a bean are hidden. If you bite on one of the kings, you are allowed to wear a crown, if you bite on the bean, you have to pay the cake. So my mum bit on it seven years ago, paid the cake and always gave it to me for good luck before exams. I took it to Istanbul for the same reason.”
Gisela, 21, Spain
“I take this book with me everytime I travel. I love this book so much, it’s like my bible. It’s about the artistic aspect of walking, wandering around, getting lost and discovering new places. That’s why I like it. I can never stop wandering.”
Giulia, 23, Italy
“My grandfather died in 1997 when I was three years old. I almost have no remembrance of him except from this tobacco box. I found it in my grandma’s flat when I was 10 years old and I was fascinated about it. My father allowed me to keep it but he warned me to never ever start smoking. I don’t smoke until today but I use the box to put my jewellery inside.”
Irene, 21, Italy
“I like cats and I love tea. A lot of tea. That’s why the cup is that big. I had cats all my life long. My parents are divorced and I was raised by my mother. At her place I always had a cat. So this cup does not only remind me of my cat but also of my mother.”
Lena, 20, Germany
“My father brought me this little viola from a trip to Asia. I play the viola since one and a half years and I brought this little one to remind me to practice the real viola here in Istanbul. It works – I have the small one on my bookshelve and I really practice here from time to time with a real one.”
Linde, 21, Belgium
"My former roommate brought this 10.000 Shilling bill from Tanzania five or six years ago. It’s nothing worth, not even five Euros. I don’t carry it with me consciously, it’s just there in my purse. It’s just fun to have it and it’s a good conversation starter on partys. But everytime my friend sees that I still have it, it reminds him of Tanzania and he gets really happy.”
Niklas, 27, Germany
“I got my Teddy from my parents when I was seven or so. I always take it with me when I travel. It was with me in England, Greece, Ecuador, Chile, Egypt, Peru, Spain and now in Turkey. I only forgot it once in Egypt because I had a real dog at home at that time in Paris. But still I felt really sorry for the poor Teddy.”
Rania, 23, France
“I write into this notebook everytime I’m angry or sad. I write down all my thoughts and feelings, so I feel better by creating something positive out of my negative emotions. I got my first one in high school 2008, this is the second book, but you’re not allowed to look inside.”
Teresa, 21, Italy
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