Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Notes on Packing

I've never packed for an extended stay anywhere. The thought that goes into this adventure is taking up too much of my brain power lately. I have many questions and many people have helped with the answers.

How do I pack when the temperatures will vary depending on the country I'm visiting?
Don't take too many clothes, but make sure they all work together and layer.
Black goes together.

What kind of toys should I bring?
Send a box to yourself over in Europe and have Buttons pick out a portion by herself.
I have yet to do that, but as the packing reaches its climax, I'm thinking it's a good idea.

What should I pack so I don't stand out too much?
Black clothing always works and avoid sneakers.
Well, I'm not taking tennis shoes (probably) or jeans and I have a fair amount of black which is European, but is also good for hiding stains. When I told Buttons we won't be taking jeans she asked why and I told her that people in Europe don't wear jeans as much and she said "but I do". Yup, you do and we'll take a pair for you. I know when she's 13 her need to fit in may be in high gear, so I'm definitely going to honor her desire to be herself and not conform. It's a good lesson for me too. Besides, when I told a friend I was trying not to stand out, she gave me a look that said "who are you trying to fool, you will stand out no matter how much black you wear". Yes, a large blonde woman with a thin, handsome man and a dark-haired Chinese American daughter full of questions and silliness is not going to fade into the woodwork (or stonework) and I'm ok with that.

How much should I take?
Pack like you're going away for 2 weeks, not 2 months.
Ok, I put that in a previous post and I'm putting it here again to try and get it into my head. It's not easy advice to follow, let me tell you. I refuse to take less than 7 pairs of underwear and am a little inclined to take 10. But you know I'm going to do laundry at least once or twice a week since I'm not taking too many clothes.

Anyway, I could go on, but I won't because at this point, it all seems rather boring and annoying and I'm just ready to be on that plane. Save me now from my crazy list of things to do, to remember and to pack. Please.*

*Ok, I realize now I'm asking for a bit of sympathy about packing up for a fabulous long trip to Europe and Russia. Yeah, I don't expect the comments to be too nice. I'm very lucky and thankful, but also a bit crazed right now.

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At April 15, 2008 at 6:56 AM, Blogger Beth said...

Of course, you'te crazed! It's fun to read your thoughts as you get ready. I'll be happy to ship anything over if you find you need something once you're there. Did you remember to do your taxes?

At April 15, 2008 at 8:29 AM, Blogger Katie J said...

Thank you Beth. Taxes are done. We even have absentee ballots for the primary!

At April 15, 2008 at 8:47 AM, OpenID Marsha said...

It used to be the case that jeans were a rarity in Europe. But on my last few visits there, pretty much everyone was wearing them. So go ahead and pack jeans if you like!

At April 15, 2008 at 1:59 PM, Blogger Imperatrix said...

Babe, people wear jeans in Europe. Don't stress over that! (it's like when I was a kid and my mom would say, "oh, no, girls in Belgium don't wear jeans -- they were skirts!" and I'd get to Belgium and EVERYONE wore jeans and I looked like a dork in a skirt!)

Travelers get very used to washing underwear in bathroom sinks. Also, you can wear things like tops or slacks several times before washing them (not Buttons, of course).

About the shipping toys: I'd be wary of that. Packages are super costly to ship and can end up taking lots of time to get there. I'd say, minimize the number of toys you bring, and buy some cheap things there (the amount you had been planning to spend on shipping Button's toys, for example; then donate them when you leave).

Oh -- if you plan to visit churches, etc., make sure you have a long-sleeved shirt to cover up. That's still a big deal in some churches.

Have fun!

At April 16, 2008 at 6:51 PM, Blogger Robin said...

Yeah, totally agree with the other commenter that jeans are just fine!! Shorts and sleeveless tops are what they don't want you to wear in the churches, etc. So you're ok. I'd go for the 10 prs of underwear myself. I think about showering/changing twice a day (morning then later for dinner) and how quick these can be gone through. They don't take up much space but they can require immediate laundry emergencies if you don't bring enough.


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