Guess what I got for Christmas? A suitcase! Actually, it was a set of three suitcases and they are currently propped up in the back of my closet stacked one inside the other like little Russian matroyshka dolls. My old suitcase was retired after one of its plastic wheels was maimed coming back on a flight from New York City. Because classes at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland don’t start until mid-February, I have been slow to begin packing. Instead, I have been focusing on filling my belly with delicious BBQ (which I might not have easy access to in Europe) and enjoying time with my family and our dog, a cocker-spaniel poodle mix named Grover.
When the thought of packing does cross my mind, I always think of the show Tiny House Nation on FYI. If you haven’t seen the show, it’s about two guys who travel around the country helping people build and transition from regular sized homes to a “tiny houses” which are typically under 300 sq. feet (the size of a small trailer). In the show, they ask each family to “pare down” their belongings to only the essentials and a few special items. Seeing the families in the show painstakingly select which things they will take with them into their new home reminds me a lot of packing to study abroad! I am a chronic over packer and the thought of arriving to a brand new place and not having something is truly terrifying to me.
To motivate myself to start packing and planning what I will be taking abroad, I think of the people living in their tiny houses. If they can live for years with only a few suitcases full of belongings, then surely I can make it a few months abroad with nothing but the contents of my three green suitcases!
My flight to Zurich takes off on Monday and I’ll be doing light traveling in the area around St. Gallen until my German course begins on February 10th. I might hop over the border to Germany to see some castles! Suggestions? Leave them in the comments below.