203492 unusual things to pack, or a little less.

good good, very good.
right now i’m on a plane, because what kind of wannabe-internet-rambler am i if i haven’t written a post on a giant steel machine?!, flying over the tiny upper corner of france, about to go over the blue monstrous sea that i believe is called ocean, headed to new york city.

i’m bringing with me an unexpectedly chill attitude after the whole delta server shutdown bananas thing and subsequent three-hour-delay (that, let’s be honest, i spent mostly eating chips and reading – hence the chill attitude), a bag of insane outta-this-world oatmeal cookies i very wisely made last night and a huge green suitcase filled with bits of my life.

i expect to bring back a wide-gaping mouth and an empty ziplock.

that suitcase, though, i will leave in new york, in the custody of one of my mom’s amazing ex-students who will keep it safe for two weeks, (i’m trusting you on this, k!), until september 1st, when i will officially move.

for two weeks, that chunk of my life will be sort of suspended. suspended in new york! waiting for me!!!!!!!

how strange is it to have your life ahead of you? 

disclaimer: i have never moved from this little town in italy since i was six, and even back then, well, my parents did the job. i’m not sure i remember, but i’m sure they did an exceptional one.
thus, i am only used to packing for short trips and week-long vacations. i am damn good at it and my suitcases are a highly instagrammable work of art, but…

i am used to thinking about things i wouldn’t usually need in a short-time-frame mindset. i pack bobby pins, hair ties, more painkillers/antacids/general meds than actually safe for human consumption during travel time, a camping plastic cup to drink said meds out of, plenty of tissues, disinfectant hand gel, a little flashlight, spare batteries, phone chargers, aaaaaall the food…

and guess what? now i have to do the exact opposite. rework it. blooow.

long term move means it has no sense to pack meds or bobby pins or tissues or batteries – if i need them i will just buy them at my new place, hopefully my new home. it’s useless to pack plastic cups because hopefully i will have proper glasses to drink out of. and it is clearly out of discussion to pack food. let’s not even start on the food matter, please.
instead i have to pack all the stuff i usually don’t worry about because i “will come home to it just after a week”. nay nay.

my brain took a little while to get used just to the idea of it. i googled “unexpected things to pack when you move” “things you don’t know you will need when you move” “dumb stuff you forget moving abroad”, trying to make time pass in the illusion of being productive.

and in the end this is kind of how my list + added thoughts went. “stuff i have to remember to get”:

•  all the tote bags. i collect them and i have loads… but who needs more than one bag on a short trip? it’s not like i’ll be changing them multiple times a da- damn. multiple times a-damn.

• a backpack?  who the hell gets a backpack if they’re already traveling with a bag? …oh. oh, i do. smart, clever me. man, i’m really starting to get the hang of it by now, i can feel it.

• all the shoes. this is something people normally do when going on vacation, right? but now, because i got it!, instead of the usual pair-that-i-have-on-my-feet-when-i-close-the-door-behind-me, i’m gonna take them all. see? wow wow wow. wait, three pairs of high heels? oh, i don’t know how that makes me feel. 

• tons of empty, crisp clear notebooks. that i refuse to let rot in my room, because i will need them anyways and there is no chance i’m buying new ones.

• books. okay, so: not books i haven’t read. life books. the one i will actually be willing and eager to read two, maybe three times.
enter, kurt vonnegut’s “if this isn’t nice, what is?”, safran foer’s “extremely close, incredibly loud” and the whole harry potter series.

• that box of fleur de sel i bought in france and i love but i haven’t even gone through 1/8 of it and i know i don’t want to live without it but i don’t want to buy it again because i have a whole f-in’ box. no added thoughts. see the “let’s not get started on the food matter, please” above.

• all those stickers and patches i never used. because there’s also the “starting a new chunk of life” part, am i right?! something about “fully embodying the person you have become, but feel like you haven’t been showing because old stuff keeps clouding you up”. something that will make me leave behind that sweater i only wear because i have it in my closet. fresh start. yessssss.

and now, before we get all sentimental, after this brilliant demonstration, with this improved knowledge, yadda yadda, i feel like it’s your turn. a global turn.

i feel like talking to you, fellow movers. fellow big-change-ahead-ers. i know there are some of you out theeeeerrrre. i’m giving you a big pat on the back. we’re all in this together à la HSM.

so. after you’ve made your own personal list just like i made mine, here are some things we might consider getting in our suitcase too. don’t worry, they don’t weigh a lot on the scale – in fact, i’d rather say they can all be made virtual and weightless.

they are what i like to think as the GROUNDING LIST.

some stuff that might help in making the world seem a little less confused when we get somewhere we don’t know with 0 familiar people and we are completely disoriented. at least for the first couple days or the first week or whatever amount of time it’s gonna take to adjust.

(and even if it ends up not working, it’s going to give me some sort of illusion i’ve got this all figured out. ha ha.)

onwards, drumroll:

• a collection of fav recipes. breakfasts that set your day up all right and send you beaming out into the world, simple meals that make you feel 100/100 in tune with yourself – and don’t attempt to put in there “mom’s something” or “grandma’s whatever” because this is about you being you and you don’t want to intentionally throw yourself into a missing-your-family fit!!!!! -, cakes that are begging to be shared and awesome for making new friends, that cookie recipe that is foolproof and thus perfect for a baking party… things like that.

• a list of things you love to eat = have to find in your fridge to be truly happy ’n’ surviving. hint: this is gonna turn into your first grocery shopping list.

• if you’re a sappy bish, a scrapbook / folder of all the stuff your friends made for ya, like birthday cards, day trip train tickets, bored-time sketches, that movie ticket from the day you all went to see that horribly trash film… things like that pt. 2.

• skype / facetime contacts. because people keep existing even on the other side of the world.

• openness and willingness to try new stuff. non-negotiable, sorry.

• the notion that transitions are scary.


all the time, in-between digging for woolen socks and debating which shirt to bring, i kept thinking: how do i pack it all?
how do i pack everything up, including my friends – my mom – my dad – my grandmas – my dog who licks me on me nose – even my crazy, crazy cat who sometimes scratches me, but who always sleeps on my back?
i will have to leave something over and stretch across the seas to grab it with my mind.

because in fact, you see, “transitions are scary and you will cry”.

it’s not me, it’s the title of one of my favourite posts from this blog here. (go read it all.) shannon’s. (she is a beaut, a force of nature and an amazing lady. and she knows it all about transitions. read on.)

my fav part of that fav post goes like this:

[…] my first year at college taught me how to be okay with not being at my happiest. Transitions can be tough. They will always be messy. What I really remember when I look back on that year was being the most in pain and the most myself that I have ever been. 

If you’re heading into college or making any sort of big life change in the next year, you are going to bring baggage. It doesn’t matter if that baggage is a broken heart or an undiagnosed disease or the simple fact that you have never made a meal for yourself. Embrace it– it’s not going anywhere, but you still are.

The first year of that transition will be shocking, but you will learn so much about yourself. You will look back on pictures and ache with how much you miss that version of yourself, the one who was scared but did the scary thing anyway. Keep your chin up and your heart open.

And for goodness sake, learn how to do your laundry first.”

and if that isn’t enough, may i paste the caption shan wrote on one of her most recent instagram pics? the one that, coincidentally, re-opened the whole issue in my mind, along with a simple goodbye at a train station i had to unwillingly, reluctantly give:

“They tell you that the first night will be scary. That much you are expecting.

And you’ve had your fair share of leaving home before: the thrill of the send off and the crash into reality that follows when all of your stuff is in boxes and you’re sitting alone in that empty room for the first time. It’s hard. You knew it would be.

It is unfamiliar, but it won’t be forever. But we are not concerned with the way it will feel in two weeks or two months or two years, when your feet know all of the right sidewalks and your favorite place for dinner remembers your face each time you walk in. That is the future, when it will be easy. This is right now, when it is still hard.

It’s going to hurt, so lean into it. You only get a few of these. A few chances to go to sleep in a room that is new. Life is full of endings, but they don’t always come with beginnings so neatly packaged right after. This is the kind of loneliness you’ll want to remember: the kind that proves you can live through it.

So you head into it knowing full well that the first night will be scary. You are prepared for that. But you are not expecting the moment that comes the next morning, when you wake up inexplicably just in time to see the sun rise over the mountains (are they mountains? You wouldn’t know, where you come from the view is always flat) and you think the scariest thing of all: what if you really love it here? What if this is where your life has been waiting for you all along?

Because if that’s the case, there are no more excuses. Your future is out there, and you have to go and get it.

and with that, that’s a wrap.
i don’t feel qualified to add any more words. (cheering from the sides)

if everything goes according to plans (fingers crossed holy cannoli), in 5 hours or so i will land in new york city and hit send.
in the meanwhile, i think of all my friends and all the people who are going through this right now and are gonna be scattered in different parts of the world but don’t feel the supremely annoying need to voice it out like i do.
i love you, i love you all, and what you’re doing is going to be awesomely amazing. even if there are definitely going to be moments where you don’t even want to start thinking about it.

now i’ll let this jet lagged soul crash to bed. apologies as usual. out.

– x c.

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