I learned a new phrase this week to add to my ever-growing Aussie vocabulary:
Growing up in Canada (and particularly when hanging out with my treasure-hunting mom), I am used to places known as thrift stores, charity shops, or second-hand stores. Here in Australia, the places where used donated items are sold to raise money for charity organisations are called Op Shops – which stands for Opportunity Shops.
Even when my mom came to visit last year, we went into a “Vinnies”
(that we know by their full name “St. Vincent de Paul” in Canada).
…I think my mom would like this definition from Urban Dictionary.com 🙂
When watching the news this week, I learned that it is National Op Shop Week, a volunteer charity initiative from ‘Do Something Near You‘ – and yes, there’s even a Twitter account for raising awareness:
Did you know…? Each year in Australia, 2 billion donated items are processed and sorted by charities. If you have been following my blog, you’ll know I love research 🙂 So here are some survey results I found (click on the image to learn more):
So in honour of “op shop week,”
here is a recent treasure hunting success story from my mom:
Just three days before Tracy’s Ph.D defense, I was browsing with my mom, sister, and niece in the SOS “Society of Organized Societies” a second-hand store in Parksville, BC and I found myself in the art and framed prints section. I gravitated to a numbered, framed watercolour print titled “U of A Arts Bldg.”
Wow, I thought, the University of Alberta Arts Building! I had previously been there with Tracy on a visit to Edmonton and our feet had walked up those very steps of the Arts Bldg. I loved the watercolours and noted that the print by an artist “J Heine” was numbered 137/450. I had no knowledge of the artist but loved the painting. With a nudge from my sister, hinting that I could gift it to Tracy, I purchased it for a mere $14.99!
Coming home I Googled the artist, J Heine, curious to find out more about him and his work. He was listed in the Mountain Galleries in Alberta (here and here). He is quite famous! I further investigated by emailing the Mountain Galleries inquiring if this watercolour was his work and received a resounding yes, and that this very piece of art had been gifted to a retired staff member of the University of Alberta! What a find!
To personalise the piece for our “Dr. Tracy Durksen,” I had a small brushed-silver plate engraved and affixed to the bottom of the glass as a congratulations on her successful Ph.D. journey.
One never knows what treasures can be found and how the perfect gift can have such an interesting story!
Thank you mom, for such a perfect gift. I love it! xoxo
For other charity information,
check out my charity spotlight page.