Right now I feel like this…
….like I just want to give up.
On Friday at the super early time of 5am I am finally out of here and going to Korea. Although I am totally excited, I still managed to have a mini freak out today (some would say it was a major one but I know that I am capable of more). Even though I have had all this time to plan it seems like there was a lot I left to the last minute, like buying enough shoes and pants to take, or visiting all my friends to say goodbye. This week has been rushed trips to the mall and millions of coffee dates with people, not to mention the dreaded packing. I bought one of those fancy scales that weighs your luggage for you, it is super awesome and has come in handy because lets face it – packing for a whole damn year is impossible!! Asian clothes do not fit me! That means I have to bring a years worth of clothes, shoes, underwear, bras, nice winter jackets for the -11 degrees I will be living in. I can’t take everything so will be posting a bunch of stuff later in the year to myself, but today I thought I would do a trial pack just to see how it went. Tears were shed.
I managed to close my suitcase but have so much stuff to send which I am sure will cost a bundle, plus it is just on the weight limit which is never good. I overheard the boy saying his was pretty light so I am going to have to sneak a bunch of stuff into his suitcase. Anyway after an hour of stuffing crap in, weighing my bag and having a brutal throw out of clothes I don’t need, I had to force myself to walk away and eat some lunch. Right now my head is a mess of people I need to see tomorrow and the dreaded final pack. Sorry for the vent!
Besides this, I am so excited to get back to beautiful Korea!! Having lived there before has been a major bonus with packing as I know what to take. The first time around I was so naive and bought crap like my flute and badmington racket because I thought they would come in handy (and for some reason I didn’t think I would be able to buy a racket). If you are one of the many many expats about to head of to Korea, here are a few things you do and don’t need…
– clothes, clothes and clothes! Korean women are really tiny and even though I have lost a bit of weight recently, I know I will never fit their beautiful clothes. So sad because you can get some awesome stuff over there, they know how to dress! I needed to bring clothes that I can teach in and that I can wear casually and for going out (Korea nightlife=amazeballs) so have an abundance of pants, cardigans, skirts, tshirts and underwear. It seems excessive right now but a year is a long time!
– A laptop. Most teaching jobs in Korea see you spending a lot of time sitting at a desk, planning classes or just wasting time on the internet. The general concept is they like you at work the whole day, even if there is nothing to do or you have done all of your work like a good girl. If your work doesn’t supply a computer then this can make for some really long days.
– An ipod. Let’s face it, we need music in our lives these days. When you are having a bad day due to cultural shock or just the general blues, music from home can really help you mood. It is an easy way to connect back to home and feel a little better. Plus it helps to have an ipod on a bus trip whether it be to Seoul for the weekend or just to work.
– An ereader like a kindle. I really love to read and there is no way I could bring books with me overseas, therefore the kindle is my best friend ever. Your tiny apartment feels a bit more like a home when you can relax with a book or a magazine in the evenings. I also loved to spend many a weekend sitting in a coffee shop with my kindle, it made me feel like I really did live in Korea. There are English book stores in larger cities in Korea but if you are a reader (and living overseas i have found gives me more time to read), then an ereader is essential.
– If you are a lady you may not know that Korea doesn’t really do tampons. Seriously. They can be found in larger cities but are really expensive. The general idea is to bring a shitload.
– A first aid kit. Deodorant is also hard to find and can be really pricey so i like to bring a large supply and chuck it in what I call my first aid kit (but is really just stuff you would buy at a chemists). This includes panadol and throaties in it in case you get sick before you have worked out where the pharmacy is, and iron pills for the early ramen days when I have little money and don’t know where to buy good whole foods.
– Photos or other such comforts from home. I made the mistake when I went to China last year of not bringing any photos to decorate my walls with and it really sucked. The place you are going to will be your home for a year or maybe more, it makes it feel a bit more like your place if you have pictures of friends or family on the walls. I also bring a few comforts like a couple of snacks to get me through the first two weeks in Korea. Culture shock sucks but having something like your favorite chocolate bar can help.
– An abundance of shampoo, towels and makeup. I have been guilty of this, but Korea is a normal country. The people who live there do wash their face and hair! Unless you have a specific brand that is magic for your hair type then don’t bother stocking up on shampoo. Plus makeup and skin products are insanely cheap and plentiful (just make sure you check to see if they have any whitener in them first). I am bringing a mini shampoo and will buy a big one when I get there, as for the towel I have decided to go without until I arrive. It makes a huge difference in the suitcase situation.
– Accessories. Things like warm hats and scarves for winter or every single belt in your closet are so not important. These can all be bought in Korea at a crazy cheap price and again they just take up annoying space in your luggage. It seems strange leaving these things behind, but just remember you don’t need to bring your winter hat when you can buy an awesome panda one overseas.
So that’s it from me today. Thanks for listening to me clear my head and also find some more excitement for Friday!