Putting my entire life in a suitcase was a daunting task. I’ve been talking with @BrentHuggins about his impending semester abroad, which has led me to consider the good and bad decisions I made when packing.
Without further ado, the items I’m glad I brought, aka The Things
They I Carried:
1. My computer. While this is kind of a no-brainer, I am constantly grateful for the technology that allows me to communicate with everyone back home. I’m also grateful for the websites I found that let me watch old tv shows #sidereel.com. It was a pain to lug through the airport, but tots #Penny worth it.
2. Fork, knife, and bowl:
When I was 9(ish), my dad somehow got us bowls with all the Kelloggs brand characters #boxtops?. My favorite was Tucan Sam, and I always fought with the bros to use it #andsometimeshiditsoIcouldhavedibs. The fam still has the bowls #neverthrowanythingaway, and I brought good ol’ Tucan Sam with me as a reminder of home. The knife has been helpful for PJ&Js #forbreakfastofcourse. The fork has been used twice #pasta. Reminders of childhood.
3. Rain Jacket
It seems that no one in China, regardless of the fact that it rains all the time, sells rain jackets. Ponchos, yes, but not a real jacket. It came in handy for Wales #wettestplaceonearth, so I figured it would come in handy again.
4. Extra toiletries
As I learned in Wales #learnedsomuchthere, deodorant in countries that are not America are different #sprays, and are also only deodorants, not anti-antiperspirants. I recommend bringing extra of any toiletry used that is specific (deodorant, facewash, lip balm, etc.). Items like shampoo and soap are common, so they’re not worth the precious suitcase weight.
Bringing a towel #preferrablyonetoleave is a convenience. Some locations provide towels. Others do not. Saves a trip to the store #butbringasmallonetosavesuitcasespace.
6. Pictures and Tack
Small reminders of home are essential for me. I printed pictures and bought tack before I left #preparednesswin.
7. Several Pairs of Shoes
My love affair with shoes is notorious in the Green House. It was recommended #bymymother that I reduce the number of shoes I was bringing. This turned out to be a bad idea #goodthingIdidn’tlisten because everyone in China has small feet, thus the shoes don’t fit me here. Also, I didn’t want to buy shoes I didn’t really like just because I needed them. I made sure the shoes I brought were well worn #comfortable and I had some I could wear in the rain.
8. Travel Backpack
I learned in Wales #bigsurprise the importance of a good backpack. Weekend travel doesn’t require a huge bag, and a backpack is the easiest way to go. Again, it’s best to have one you know is sturdy and will fit all of your crap.
9. Layering Clothes
Since I’m here for three seasons #summerfallandwinter, I decided to pack more for cold weather than hot. Reasoning: I figured it would be easier to find a shirt to fit than a sweater/jacket/jeans #alsocheaper. Since I packed a coat, boots, and lots of socks #coldfeet, I didn’t have buy them here #pickyshopper. The only flaw in my plan is that I have to constantly do laundry because half my wardrobe is not suitable for the current weather #makingitwork.
Basically, my packing goal was to include all the stuff I needed so I wouldn’t have to be standing at the counter thinking, ‘I have this exact thing at home. If only I had had the foresight to bring it with me to China, I wouldn’t have to buy a knockoff duplicate I’ll use for 3 months and leave.’ So far, accomplished.
One question remains: how did I get it all here?
Answer: I used two ‘put-all-the-clothes-in-and-squish-them’
begs bags, which saved a lot of space. I also took everything I wanted to bring and put it in a huge pile #inthelivingroom. Then I took the pile and divided it in half. I made sure each of my bags weighed only 40 pounds #50poundweightlimit so I’ll have room for items I buy on the way back.
I packed extra toiletries, so they won’t be considered in my coming-back weight total #givesmeabout10morepounds. I’m adamantly refusing to go over the weight limit so I don’t pay extra….packing with no scale will be an adventure on the return (so not worried…I was 3 pounds over coming back from Wales and started grabbing stuff out of the bag until it was underweight #stuffedmycarryon).
Fun fact: The airline doesn’t weigh the carry-on. All I have to do is be able to lift it #guesswheretheheavyitemsaregoing.