Monday, October 19, 2009

Packing List

So there are limitations as to how much you can take with you for Peace Corps and basically its even less than the airlines will let you. 107 linear inches total for 2 bags (height+length+width of bag 1+height+length+width of bag 2) and the bags should be less than 40 lbs total (no more than 50 for the heavier one) and you should be able to carry this all. As some traditions go, Peace Corps Trainees leaving often post a list of all the things they find invaluable and manage to cram into this tiny amount of space. So here are the things I carried:

Clothes:
3 Skirts (well below knee length)
1 Magic Skirt
2 Pairs Loose Jeans
4 Pairs Light Pants/Capris
2 Pairs Sleeping Shorts
4 Tank Tops
8 Shirts that cover shoulders
Underwear (Thanks Lisa!)
6 Bras
4 Sports Bras
4 Pair Black Socks
2 Pair Reef Flip flops
1 Pair Flojo Flip flops
1 Pair Merrel Strap on Sandals (Thanks Mom!)
1 Pair Running Shoes
2 Pairs Sunglasses with cases
1 Bikini
1 Rain Jacket
1 Sweatshirt
1 Baseball Cap
1 Fedora
1 Pair Gloves

Toiletries:
Lip Balm (Thanks Mom!)
Shampoo
Conditioner
Face Wash
2 Wash Cloths
2 Face Towels
1 MSR Packtowl
Hairbrush
Deva Cup
Hair Ties
2 Bars Soap
2 Toothbrushes
2 Flosses
Makeup
Makeup Remover

Luggage:
Gregory Deva 60 Backpack (Thanks Dad!)
Daypack (packed inside of a duffel)
Small Duffel (carry-on)
Medium Duffel
Voltaic Generator Solar Bag (Thanks Mom and Dad!)

Electronics
DSLR Camera
Water/Drop Resistant Camera
Camcorder (Thanks Grandma, Peter, and Ellen!)
iPod
iSound iPod Speakers
Laptop
2 Portable External Hard drives (iomega ego blackbelt)
Chargers!
Tons of Batteries
Headlamp
Crank Flashlight
Regular Flashlight
Phone (for staging)

Fun:
Settlers of Catan Travel Version
2 Decks Waterproof Cards (Thanks Julio!)
3 Puzzle Magazines (Thanks Julio!)
World Map
Amelia Earhart Poster
Beach Poster
Small Fan
2 Books
Pictures of Friends and Family (Thanks All!)
Nail Polish
Snacks (Thanks Mom and Dad!)

Utility:
3 Knives
Fork, Spoon, and Knife set
1 Leatherman
1 Fishing Knife
Duct Tape
2 Nalgene Bottles
2 Aluminum Water Bottles
Pens
Pencils
Flash Drives
Ziplock Bags (holding all items)
Plastic Food Containers
Wallet
Stamps
Envelopes
Paper
Notebooks
Sharpies
Safety Pins

Sleeping:
Portable Mosquito Tent
Sleeping Bag
Pillow
2 Twin Flat Sheets

For Host Family:
Aluminum Water Bottle Filled with Candies

Being a habitual overpacker this list seems short to me, but then looking back I can't believe all this stuff fits into just a few bags. I'm getting pretty stressed about leaving. Off on my adventure I go!

P.S. My best advice for future Peace Corps packers is see if you can get into contact with current PCVs so that your list is country specific and even possibly job specific. My staging group had a Facebook group so maybe yours does too!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Getting Ready

Well there are 2 and a half weeks left until I leave and the closer it gets the more nervous I get. I'm working on making sure I have everything I need and that it fits in my bags. The luggage limit is annoying but I'm trying to make it work. I finished working on Tuesday and now the rest of my time will be spent with friends and family. Lately I find it interesting to talk to people in LA doing study abroad and listening to their coping techniques for being a foreigner with no friends, trying to speak a language that they are still learning. Thankfully the way Peace Corps sets it up I wont be completely friendless when I arrive and most of our group has actually already introduced themselves to one another. It is still going to be a major adjustment so I'm mostly trying to mentally prepare myself. I just purchased Settlers of Catan to bring with me so that is pretty good insurance on my mental health. Now I just need to learn the Hausa and Zarma words for Wood, Brick, Ore, and Sheep and I'll be ready to go.