Saturday, August 6, 2016

A Mad Ginger's Packing Tips

There are a few things I'm known for in my family. Procrastination, lateness, and messiness being three of many (just to give you all some examples). So it just goes to show just how excited I am to be moving to Tucson that I am partway packed a full three days before I'm actually leaving. Three days! Do you know how often this happens to me? I didn't even have this much done before I left on a life changing journey to a different country! An entirely new continent couldn't even get me packing up so early! And yet, here I am. My room is now the kind of messy that says a person is leaving rather than the kind of messy that says some creature has been living in its own filth for the past few months.

That's a big step for me. 

And I know a lot of people are going through the same things I'm going through at this moment. Universities are starting soon all over the country, prompting our mass exodus from the safety of our own homes into the nonsense that is sharing your living space with other young people. For those of you who, like me, are able to snatch up housing with roommates you actually know, congratulations! For those of you who, like me last year, have to take the gamble of unknown roomies, may the odds be ever in your favor. 

I have a packing list I'd like to share, but hopefully it won't be like the many that are strewn around pinterest. Those are all useful, but also they're all exactly the same. Of course you need a laptop. Don't be a dummy and forget your laptop, you shouldn't need to consult a list on the internet for that. No, the things I'll be mentioning are what you need to bring to keep out the crazy that will inevitably come knocking at some point in the semester.

I'm bringing a shit ton of books. Some are literary classics and some are the fantasy novels I've been reading since I was 8. I firmly believe in taking the time to read books that aren't assigned to you in class before you lose all the joy that comes from running the pages through your fingers so you can smell that amazing book smell. Bring books. (My favorites are Harry Potter, anything by Tamora Pierce, and a history of cancer)

Art. Get yourself some nice paintings. Not stupid paintings of flowers you get from Ross. Get yourself some actual art that grownups buy. I got lucky; I come from a family of artists who just loved sharing their work with their granddaughters. My inheritance from my grandparents came mostly in painting form, something I'm eternally grateful for. Art gives me pride in my house; in my room. It makes a house feel like a home without a lot of effort. I refuse to live in a trap house. I did that shit already and now it's time for something nicer that reminds me of my amazing family every time I look at it. 

I have a memory box that I take everywhere I'll be staying long term. It's for those times when nostalgia hits and going through Facebook isn't enough (so, always). The "diamond" my very first boyfriend gave me is in that box. So is the letter my grandma wrote to me when she found out she was going to die. By those are the family pictures my ma keeps printing out and sending to me. And under all that paper are my journals from high school for when I need to laugh at myself. Memory boxes store everything that, you guessed it, you want future you to have for eternity. The number of times I've cried over the contents of my box is slightly embarrassing, and it's worth having it around. 

A piggy bank. I don't know about you all, but I'm the worst with money. I spent over seven months with my credit card a mere 3 dollars from maxing out entirely. In Turkey I actually had to choose between food and booze because I couldn't pay for both. That is not a choice I make lightly as someone who loves both those items more than a lot of things in life. So a piggy bank is necessary. I want to go places and do things! I can't do that if I put all my cash on my cards and then blow it on trips to the mall because my love of flannel overrides my common sense. Flannel is amazing, but travel is better. 

This one might be a little on the common side, but whatever, it's important to me. I have my fancy camera charged, packed, and ready to go by the door. That is not something I'll be forgetting. Having a camera simultaneously encourages me to be present in the moment that I feel is beautiful enough to capture while fulfilling my nostalgic urges when I go back and look at all the pretty pictures. It also helps me keep up with this blog when I run out of things to say but still want to share what's happening in my life. It's a handy device my ma got me and I plan on making her proud of her investment. 

Yes, it is important to bring a planner, and that cute bathroom tote you bought on Amazon, and your pillows. But those are things that come in handy rather than keep you sane. Free time isn't something a lot of college students have, but it's important to carve some out. Take a mini trip with the money you save in your piggybank. Take lots of pictures with your camera. Put them in your memory box! And when you're done with that sit down and read about the first lady knight in the realm of Tortall next to the big abstract painting that gives you something to admire in your room. The little artsy things are just as important as a printer and computer, mmkay? Remember that.