I want my stuff.
This is the refrain you start to hear from new overseas teaching staff around this time of year. Listen closely: you can pick out my voice in the chorus.
Actually, when it comes to personal belongings, there are three types of new hires.
There are those who travel light, packing everything they need from home in a suitcase or two. Anything else they might want, they’ll buy local. These folks tend to be the seasoned ex-pats, the international teachers who know exactly what they’ll need to get by, and what is just excess baggage. There is always a legendary character remembered for arriving in the country with only a daypack. Someday I would like to be like that, but I doubt I ever will.
The second type are those who either don’t trust the shippers or who feel they must have all their stuff immediately on arrival. This species brings everything they need with them in 20 suitcases. I didn’t know you could do this until we started teaching overseas, but you are allowed to bring as much as you want on a plane as long as you are willing to pay extra. It gives me a headache just to think about this. I don’t like airports to begin with, and we have a pretty lousy track record when it comes to airlines losing our luggage.
Finally there are those like us, who bring two suitcases containing enough essentials to get us through two or three months, with the rest of our stuff coming later. It’s fine for a few weeks. Then those two or three months start to feel like forever.
We fantasize about our faraway stuff. My life would be complete if only I had my memory foam pillow… my brain bowl practice questions.. my Settlers of Catan game… my Kitchenaid mixer… my black raincoat… my external speakers… my chocolate chips… my fluffy bath towels… my box of Pilot Precise pens… my taco seasoning…
I want my stuff.