I often have trouble sleeping, but this week I’ve woken up in the night with various objects tumbling through my brain.
Brochures about Arkansas. My favorite dictionary. Extra contacts.
Raincoat, yes or no? I’m already taking an umbrella, so does it really matter if I pack a raincoat? The space in my bag can be put to better use, I’ll switch a book for the coat. No, I’ll regret it the moment a downpour begins and I realize that I am now a car-less commuter who is walking to work. Wait, but I really wanted to take that book, and now I won’t have room for it. True, but I don’t want to buy another raincoat. Do I even need a raincoat?
The question is not simply “to raincoat or not to raincoat?” but rather, how does one pack for a ten-month trip? Ten months is not a simple hop and skip and back, not a wallet-emptying, I’ll-buy-what-I-want-cuz-I’m-on-vacation!!! spree. Ten months is a swimsuit plus a winter wardrobe. Where packing is concerned, ten months means bare essentials and goodbyes and the realization that I won’t beat the postcard back.
So, what have I decided to put in my checked bag?
Besides copies of my contract, clothes, toiletries, and electrical converters, here are some pictures to give you an idea:
Here you can see a thermometer (Celsius time!), and those stretchy bands that are all the rage in schools here. I wonder if this fad is also popular in Spain? I’ll have to share ’em with the students. Say, what’s that in the background?
Why, these are bilingual stamps! Aren’t they awesome? I actually received these as a Christmas gift and was hoping I would actually get to use them in a school setting.
You don’t think I’d leave home without a guidebook, did you? You’re right. Tucked inside will be this note, an inspiring one from a close friend. The cover reads, “Mas vale un hoy que cien mañanas,” which means, “Today is worth a hundred tomorrows.”
Here we have: King Arthur Pizza Seasoning, a Wild West word search, an expandable bag to carry groceries in, and postcards from my home state.
Here are those contacts. And some socks. And a book in case I travel out of the country or end up with German roommates. And some measuring teaspoons (do I need these? Yes/No/Maybe). Ack, it’s time to evaluate the bag again.