Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fitting 2 years in 30 kgs

I’ve always been a relatively light packer.  But the challenge of fitting 2 years in 30 kgs got me stumped. I never thought that packing would present me such an existential dilemma.  All of a sudden the choices I make with what I should fill my baggage space and weight matter so dearly.  What makes it worse is that these decisions are made at a time when I am at a crossroads – of how do I really define myself?  Case in point: am I a working woman or a homemaker?  The choice of clothes definitely comes into play.  Do I bring work stuff or more the laid back ones?  Choice of shoes is also highly correlated: more flats or high heeled ones?  How about accessories – my mother’s beads (I would call my mom a therapeutic jewelry designer – as in it’s her creative outlet and one of the things in her pre-retirement life that keeps her sane) would need some weight allocation.

Looking On To The Future
Aside from the fashionable things in life I would also need to think about what I should do with the “free” time I am now gifted.  I have a couple of HR / OD books that I have not finished.  Yet I also need to bring cookbooks, DVDs, office supplies (I’m Laking National eh!), traveling mugs and jugs and kitchen accessories (as in some heavy duty can opener my husband asked me to bring!).  I’ve even crossed out my hubby’s list of spices, chocolates and truffle oil from the shopping list.  Of course I would also need my running gear (I’m going to strike it up in the streets of Colombo!) and yoga stuff (not to mention my yoga mat).  Medicines and toiletries also come into play.  The tablets are fine and easy to handle.  But the shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, liquid soaps, etc. also weigh a lot!  What if Pureology or Kiehl’s are not available in Colombo?  Mind you, I’m just a low maintenance kind of girl!  (My friend Ward would disagree – but dude, believe me, I am!)  

And my art works!  My framed paintings definitely weigh much and not to mention are difficult to handle.  I would love to bring a (Ninang) Migs Villanueva to adorn our flat’s barren walls.  And my humble Ugu Bigyan pottery collection (well, it’s just a motley crew of cups and bowls).  My Starbucks City Mugs have definitely taken a backseat – I comfort myself with the fact that I will be collecting more from new places (a plea to Starbucks, please set up shop in Colombo! I don’t know how I could last long without you.).

Finding Contentment With The Right Baggage
With that one question – who am I or rather who would I like to be – brings up all these (seemingly) mini and unrelated decisions!  What should I buy in Colombo?  What should I take from Manila?  I really don’t want to spend unless utterly necessary.  Yet, will my thriftiness result in something more costly – say, over baggage?  Is it cheaper to ship than buy?  Or is it even a question of money?  Is it, at the end of the day, really a question of what are you holding on to?  What are you willing to let go of?  How much space will you leave for the adventure ahead?  What items of home will keep you anchored?  What things are holding you down? 

Needless to say you can’t bring everything.  My bestfriend even said she couldn’t fit 2 years in a 4 x 4 container van!  It is true what my good friend Eric Santillan once texted me:  “…In life, some things just got to give.  Decisions will always mean some kind of dying to self.”  Indeed it is, but with this “some kind of dying to self” you are given a new life.  And here I am, standing at the cusp – taking with me some of home, diligently staying within 30 kgs, making my way through my new life without too much baggage.


  1. awww Tala!!! im so excited for you! enjoy the move!!!

  2. Awww Mrs. O... I can feel your pain! And 30Kg is JUST INSANE. How dare they think 2 years is only worthy of such a minute baggage allowance?!?

    To be honest though when I got to Jakarta there were so many things in that 4x4 meter shipment that I thought I couldn't live without that I didn't even end up using because they didn't really match my Jakarta life any more. But I learned so many things packing for our very first posting and I'm confident that I will be better prepared for the next. I'm sure it will be the same for you. (Though I still can't believe you let go of the spices and the truffle oil! Whaaaat?!?)

    Congratulations on staying within your weight limit!
    You're completely right about one thing though: You've to decide who you want to be and the rest will follow. I brought some clothes and shoes that I used for work before... and here they are after one year, not once used at post and I'm about to give them away. Lesson learned.

  3. Thanks for sharing your experience Diplo Wife! And I appreciate all the help and tips! Keep them coming :-)


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