Thursday, July 13, 2017

Seven Suitcases

Six suitcases started; plus a bag and a box of things that didn't
make the cut. I've also got to get the hex bug track into the
We get seven checked suitcases. Seven suitcases to pack for a year or more. The problem is, I honestly don't know what to put in them. We packed them the first time, by just throwing things in an open suitcase as we cleared out the house. I rearranged the suitcases, then went back through and discarded more things. The boys don't need five pairs of jeans... it's topical. It doesn't matter how cute that cardigan is, Declan isn't going to wear it. If I'm being realistic with myself, I will wear that sequined mini skirt, but only once, and I'll probably regret my behavior that night. (The skirt goes to the attic- I'm not done with behaving badly just yet).

Realistically, I can buy clothing in Laos. Kicking it t-shirts, comfy yoga pants- I can pick that up at the night market for less than 4$. Somewhat harder to find are good shoes, especially sneakers, nice dress shoes, crocs-- don't judge me, but I've got three pairs of colorful croc ballet shoes. They all made the cut.

But I'm not packing for vacation. This is for my life. My coffee pot won't fit in the suitcase. Do I need to bring kitchen items? Will I be able to find american measuring spoons or cups? My apartment won't have an oven... why on earth am I bringing baking supplies? What if I want to grate a lemon peel??

And body products. I'm brown. My hair is curly and frizzy. In my two short trips to Laos, I only saw one other natural hair woman, and she was on her way to Cambodia, backpacking. How much foundation and leave-in conditioner will fit in my suitcases, before I start to look paranoid? Can I find my shade of foundation? Be honest, ladies. I've seen Lao, Cambodian, and Thai women. Some are just as brown as me-- where do they shop???

So I become proactive. I scour Pintrest, searching "move abroad," "packing list for Asia," "essentials for southeast Asia." I comb through google searches, find expat groups, and contact people I know already living there. I get almost no response from the locals. But they know me, and probably know I'm being a little type-A right now. The responses I do get are "just come on, if you can't find it, we can go to Thailand for it." I find the same suggestions online: electronics converters (check), deodorant (check! check!), bras and underwear (um, check?), and something small to remind you of home.

Declan is done packing.
Just ready to get this show on the road. 

It's just another country. It's not another planet. I take a deep breath. Gulp down another glass of pinot noir. Take the citrus grater out of the suitcase. It's going to be fine.

(c) amanda harris souvannamethy 2017


  1. I'm so proud of you! You are so brave!!! I can't wait to read about your adventures!!! Love you!!

  2. Being an Army near, this is just another grand adventure so not really surprised you and family are taking this on. You have great memories I am sure of living all over with your parents so this will be your chance to broaden the minds of your little ones or at the very least make them appreciate American toilet paper. Lol.... looking forward to all your daily life posts and you can always grate that lemon just for entertainment. Bon voyage...