A couple of weeks ago I shared with you my wall collage of photos we took while in Thailand. There are touches of Thailand all over our living room, but the thing that I think probably takes the cake as both my favorite souvenir AND my favorite decorating accent in my house is this elephant:

It was one of our very first days in Thailand when I first saw a collection of carved wooden elephants for sale.  I told my husband I wanted one…and he looked at me like I was crazy. He asked me how we were going to get a big wooden elephant back to America…I suggested that it could be his carry-on for the 45-hour trip home. He thought not.

Toward the end of our time there, a man standing outside his shop asked me if I wanted “beautiful, hand-carved, authentic wood elephant.” Even if he had not used so many fabulous English adjectives in his wonderful Thai accent, I think he would have got me….because YES, I did! We bartered for a while about the price and debated over which size to get (this is a medium-sized one).

At this point in the trip, we would still be in Thailand for another 5 weeks or so. We bought our elephant in Chaing Mai, but were still travelling via train to Bangkok the following week, then on to Ranong (by bus I think). We also took a trip to Phuket and Baan Ny Cii before heading back up to Bangkok to fly out. After leaving Thailand, we spent a week at a conference in South Korea before returning to the states. Because we still had so much traveling to do, we decided it would be best to ship him back to the states rather than carry him around with us. I am pretty sure this solid wood variety of elephant weighs almost as much as the real thing. I think we paid around $80 for it (I don’t remember exactly because we paid in baht and were so used to spending baht by that time that we only did rough conversians to dollars in our heads). Anyway, it cost around $100 to ship him home!!! Airmail would have cost twice that, so we let him go the slow boat route (it took 2 full months). When he arrived, there were a number of holes drilled in the bottom of the elephant…we don’t remember them being there when we bought him, so we are pretty sure this was US Customs way to verify that we were not using a wooden elephant to smuggle drugs.

I just think that having a big wooden elephant in my living room is great! It is truly one of my favorite decorating pieces. I think it is unique, modern, and eye-catching. But in my new mommy-mode of home-making, I like that one might also mistake it for a toy:

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