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How do you pack for a year away?

February 18, 2011

Great question.

Well, you don’t.  You do the best you can with the space you have.  I’ve got 2 suitcases which need to be under 50lbs each, and two carry ons.  So basically, I am doing a lot of strategizing to get the most of my space.

For my previous trips, I’ve never prepared this much.  Of course I was only gone 3/4 months at a time, but the biggest difference is that I always knew that whatever I needed while away I could pretty easily obtain.  In South America, American brands are frequent and I had the language capability to track down what I needed to buy.  South Korea will be different since I don’t speak the language and there are many cultural differences.  From what I’ve heard so far, Koreans don’t use deodorant (but also don’t smell. huh?!), use less than pleasant toothpaste  (to American standards), and most of the shopping will resemble the fact they are ridiculously skinny and have small feet (I hope no one is taking offense to these generalizations..).  In a homogeneous country where body types and appearances are close to similar (and its best not to stand out) , I can understand why the markets don’t cater to  needs of foreigners.  This is why I have done a large amount of I know that I will at least have what I need until I get settled in.  I am probably over preparing myself….the last thing I want to do is track down some Advil when I can’t read Korean and don’t know where the pharmacies are yet!

Monday morning at 7am my flight leaves from San Diego to San Fransisco for a layover, and then 12/13 hours later I’ll arrive in Seoul!  Luckily, I have already met (via Facebook) a few girls that will be on my same flight.  And from the airport we will all be shuttled to a 9 day orientation held at a university in Seoul.  Jet lag, 10-12 hour days, and 170 excited/anxious foreigners…I’m sure it will make for a good time.

Though goodbyes are never easy or fun, I feel lucky to have the internet and programs like skype to keep me close to the ones I love.   Next time you hear from me…I’ll be on the other side of the world!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 21, 2011 6:12 am

    Don’t worry about trying to find what you need. Especially since you will be in Seoul. And many Koreans, compared to Japanese, speak English. There are a lot more Western brands than you think (like I have thought about flying over there for a weekend just to eat!). And there are several international super markets in Seoul, especially Itaewon. But yes, their bodies proportions are different from us westerners, unless you buy from somewhere like Zara, Gap or A&F (which Tokyo has the only store in Asia). And Uniqlo (Uniglo, I believe it is known in Korea) has pretty good value and will fit most western people, but you may have to buy several sizes larger than you do in the States.


    • February 22, 2011 9:30 pm

      Thanks JJ! Yay, for having a Zara around again! P.S. Jet lag blows…and I can’t wait to see you over here too!!

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