How to Say Goodbye

img_1722 My packing adventures and sad goodbyes.

So here I go to see the world again. In two days, I will be on a plane to Beijing, and I will be living there for quite a while. A few months ago, I did a post on how to pack for a backpacking trip, and please excuse my stating the obvious, but packing to move overseas for an extended period is a whole different thing. I have done it before when I moved from the US to the UK for graduate school, but it’s no easier the second time.

What do I need?

What do I really want to take with me?

What is impossible for me to take?

What is useful vs what is useless?

All important questions to ask for anyone who is moving, but when you have to fit it into two checked bags and one carry-on, with really no option to have things shipped (shipping to Asia is a lot more expensive than shipping things to Europe), the questions become more vital.

I need clothes for all seasons, because Beijing is in northern China. I need shoes for all seasons, I need all my electronics. I need toiletries to start out with.

And there are creature comforts I have that I would like to take with me, mostly books. Unfortunately, books weight a lot, so I have to choose. I am actually playing the game of “what five books would you want to have while stranded on a deserted island.” Kindle helps with that, but I have collected a lot of hard copies over the years.

Last week I organized everything in my bedroom and made the choices I needed to make, and somehow it all fit into my bags, although some stuff will have to be moved around for the final packing. I also bought a slightly bigger purse that will fit some of my electronics and books, so that helps.

Sadly, I think I may be saying goodbye to my favorite tall black boots, because the only way to bring them seems to be to wear them, and I don’t really want to wear boots on a 14-hour flight…I would rather wear slippers.

However, my stress over what to pack is just a distraction from the hardest part. Saying goodbye to the people I love is never easy.

I will go from seeing my mother everyday (I’ve been living with my parents due to lack of money) and now we will hopefully be able to chat on Skype a few times a month. I saw one of my closest friends who I also have a spiritual connection with about a month ago, visited a close friend when I went to DC, and was thankfully able to see the majority of people who I will miss the most when I’m gone. There’s a few I sadly wasn’t able to see due to distance and timing (the holidays falling on the weekends this year made it more difficult), but thankfully Skype means I can still speak to them throughout my time abroad.

Goodbyes to the people you love are never easy. I haven’t outright cried, which is not unusual for me, I’m not outwardly emotional, but saying goodbye to best friends who have been with me for so much is never easy. Especially since I don’t know when I’ll see them in person again. Some may come to visit, which I would love and look forward to. But from experience, I know it’s not the same for anyone involved.

But one thing I am confident about, based on living abroad before, is that the distance won’t matter to the most important people. As much as my life will change and so will theirs, we have learned that if we at least make the effort to stay in touch when we can, we’ll still have each other regardless of distance. Thank you, technology for making that easier!

Goodbyes are never easy, but they are necessary. And I look forward to saying “hello” to everyone again!

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