Tuesday, September 05, 2006


What do you fit into 107 inches of luggage plus a carry-on (plus a tote bag in my case...hope that's OK)? I am over the limit of 50 pounds per bag and 80 pounds total - as far as I can tell, I pay a fee - that's fine. I just don't want to have to leave anything behind! I've already re-packed twice, allocating items to boxes to be sent to me at my site. And this after packing two boxes specifically to be sent to me at my site. I'll list those items too.

I used the Peace Corps Morocco Welcome Handbook as a guide and packed almost everything that it recommended that I already had (i.e. I didn't go out and buy a Coleman lamp or hand shower). So I have a sleeping bag and pad, a set of double bed sheets (it recommended one or two sets - so I set aside another set to be sent to me), towels - all of this took up quite a bit of space! Clothing-wise, I kept paring things down - so I have a few short-sleeved shirts, a few 3/4-sleeve shirts, a few long-sleeved shirts (one or two less of each than I originally set aside). I have a few skirts (that was one of the purchases I made - washable skirts. At the last minute I substituted a windbreaker with a light jacket that is not washable, but hopefully it won't need cleaning. I've already used the jacket here in New York, so I am happy with the decision). And a few pairs of slacks. They say to bring something dressy - I put in two dressy blouses that I can wear with the skirts, and I am having a dress sent (though it's not very dressy...but it is washable). Lots of underwear, and I had to take out some stockings and some socks and put them in the box to be sent to me (there are already stockings and socks in the box I had set aside, but in the repacking I decided I had to make do with fewer in order to close the suitcase without a big bulge). I'm not going to elaborate on the thinking involved there - I'll just leave it at that. A couple of sweaters. A fleece jacket, and I brought the waterproof shell that goes with it - they say it's the Cold Country with the Hot Sun and I hope that will be enough for the winter. Long underwear, hat, gloves, scarf - again, all of these take space - though I did have some of those packers that remove all the air from things. Don't know if they helped. A travel pillow - not my beloved Icelandic pillow, but something smaller and almost, though noticeably not, as soft.

Several travel books on Morocco and a few crossword puzzle books. There is an entire box of books from my bookshelf that are desginated to get sent to me one at a time, as well as a jigsaw puzzle. I may finally get to those books I've always meant to get to! And then I can pass them along! No pleasure reading in the suitcase though - I hope that wasn't a mistake. I found a compact (but heavy) crochet kit in Borders last week - I was planning to take my needlepoint (that I started in 1981 or thereabouts) but it wasn't as compact as I thought, so that's in storage marked with an X for "maybe send me on request," as is my knitting and my jewelry-making stuff (somehow I feel I will need a craft after helping artisans all day). I haven't crocheted in years, but since it was the most compact, it came along. A short-wave radio, extra batteries (at the June meeting they said those would not make their way to me so I have some). Digital camera and extra memory cards and USB attachment, film camera and film, iPod (a going-away present - including the loading - very nice), speakers, charger, camera connector, converter for same (so the present cost me a lot of money - but I think I will use it), other converters.

I didn't actually make a list - I'm just going from memory here (and I am not going to open the suitcases now to see what I might be forgetting about). T-shirts and shorts and longer workout pants as pajamas. Had to take the bathrobe out at the last minute - I hope that's not a faux pas. It wasn't on the packing list (nor were pajamas in general, or underwear or socks...it wasn't a complete list, in other words). My Chaco shoes for sandals, my Merrells for most daily use, a nice pair of shoes (mentioned more than once), and hiking boots that can be used for running (as opposed to running shoes that can be used for hiking - this was a purchase and I hope it works out. Took my running shorts out in the final repack, and my bike jersey. Left in my bike shorts, bike gloves and running shirt.

A notebook that can be a journal or other writing book. A book of notes people wrote to me and small photo albums with pictures of Chicago and of friends. Gifts for my host family - books on Chicago, baseball hats (not recommended in the guide but also not a no - I hope they're OK), beanie babies. Toiletries, makeup and a food stash (goji berries and Starbucks mints) - both of these had to have some last-minute reduction and will be sent along, and there are other toiletries in the box of things previously designated to be sent to me - and other cold-weather gear - more sweaters, warmer Merrells, fleece pants.

Incense. I wonder what former Peace Corps volunteer thought it was necessary and why. But I was visiting a friend's boutique and she had some so she gave it to me! A maglite. A 2006 and a 2007 calendar. Two decks of cards, Yahtzee dice and scorecards, a Boggle keychain. Some stationery and pens. And one frivolous - but relatively compact - item. At the going-away party held for me, the host, my predecessor as president of the Princeton Club of Chicago, had a banner made for me that says Princeton Club of Morocco. That was really sweet. So were some of the other things I got (not that I expected anything - the only thing I asked for was the writings and pictures from people) - but that one found a place in my suitcase and maybe will find a place on my wall.

I didn't need to confine myself to 107 inches between Chicago and New York, so I used the "expandable" feature to bring my holiday/change-of-address cards here so that I could write a little note and send them from here. They're now on their way!

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