Monday, August 24, 2009

Packing for Mars

I’m leaving again in a couple days. 8 months and change in the US, about what I expected. I’ve managed to go on 18 or so trips here, and to eat at Taco Bell over 9,000 times. Now, I’m packing, as I have been for the last week, and somehow knowing exactly what I’m getting into makes packing far more difficult than last time around when I had no clue.

As I’m working on my intercontinental move, I’m in the process of getting rid of a bunch of my shit, while at the same time acquiring lots of new shit. After all, if I’m going to moonlight as a fashion blogger, I should probably own some clothes that are “presentable.” I had a few obvious things to get rid of though. For some reason, I own 7 or so flannels, and even more Hawaiian shirts. One flannel actually dates back to 1992. I’d keep it, but like so many other shirts I’m dumping, it has a button missing in the sleeve, and there’s no chance I’ll ever actually fix it.

It is, kinda like the title indicates, a little like packing for a trip to Mars. The first time I went to Korea, I assumed it wouldn’t be that much different from Europe, that I’d be able to get the same things there that I can here. In some ways, that’s true, but in so many ways it isn’t. I’m bringing tons of books this time, because buying books in Korea sucks. So does buying jeans (Levi’s are $180 there) and shoes (Adidas are over $100, or the fake ones on the street are $10 but fall apart in a week). With all of the books, DS games, and Taco Bell Fire Sauce packets I’m bringing, I should be able to survive over there for at least a week.

I think I’m done with it now though. Spent all day packing, so now I have two check bags, 49 and a half pounds each, and two backpacks to carry on, along with my awesome old fishing vest that I haven’t worn since the mid 90s but will wear on the plane since I can carry 10 pounds of miscellaneous crap in it. I hope that TSA doesn’t come after me for that, since on my person (in the vest) I’m carrying some pretty damn strange items, such as an external hard drive, a Korean phrase book, a large number of match books, and a copy of Machiavelli’s The Prince.

Of course, I am not flying straight to Korea. That would be too simple and logical. No, I’m getting on a Southwest Flight to Chicago tomorrow/this evening to hang out with my brother and other people, then I’m flying to Oakland on Thursday to go boozing with Wiley before catching an early Friday afternoon flight from SFO to Seoul. All this is after trips to St. Pete (FL), Orlando, Kansas, and Philadelphia over the last three weeks.

I’ll miss all of you in the US, friends and family. I’ll be happy to see all my friends in Korea. Just the opposite of what I felt 8 months ago, and what I’m sure I’ll feel whenever I get around to leaving Asia again. Such are the perils of expat life. I’m at home everywhere and nowhere. The next thing I post will probably be from the other side, and will likely involve some drunken misadventure and be considerably more interesting than this one. Smell ya later.

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