37 In Expat Life

Packing Your Life in 2 Suitcases

1 life 2 suitcases

Oh boy packing…it’s one of those things that perhaps I should get used to because it’s my third time moving across the ocean, but every time I’m overwhelmed!  I’m okay with packing for a short trip – I’ve actually become super good at packing light and having everything in one simple backpack (thanks Ryanair). However, packing your life away in two suitcases isn’t easy at all…

So many questions : How many pair of shoes to bring? Should I bring my entire closet? How many books to bring? Will my cans of maple syrup fit in there?  You know, important questions!

I’ve already written a post about this, but it was a retrospective look to almost 2 years prior. Today I’m writing and I’m folding (well more like rolling) clothes at the same time. I’m leaving in about 5 days and I’m going crazy – I wish I could pack up the entire room and ship it (with no fees obviously!) across the ocean.

I put my suitcases in the living room – sorry family, you can’t use it for the next week! – and I did a first selection. I picked everything from my room that I wanted to bring. Keyword is ‘want’. Then I started with a second selection – the ‘essentials’.

With the essentials, I started the puzzle that is fitting stuff in a suitcase. I told myself that by only starting with the essentials, if I still have space (or weight is more like it) left, then I could add stuff that didn’t make the cut and therefore I would be happy to be able to include more stuff. It’s like I’m trying to surprised myself…it’s weird I know.

While my budget is growing smaller with every week and it will take a huge hit after I transfer my money in GBP (damn you stupid exchange rate) and paying for everything in that first month, I know that this time around I’m going to work. I still don’t have a job for those who are asking themselves, but I know that eventually (hopefully soon) I will get a job and money will be coming in! This is a very different situation than back when I moved to go study at St Andrews. This time around, it’s ‘easier’ to go with the essentials because I know I’ll be able to buy some stuff once i get there!

Also, this time around I know the UK – or at least I kind of do – I know that they do sell peanut butter! I know that they sell shampoo…What? No I didn’t believe that, but my luggage seemed to…

For clothes – I decided to ‘try’ and keep in mind that I want the essentials. I’m trying to keep my wardrobe classic, kind of French. I love straight cut trousers, stripped shirts, and lots of black and white as you can see. I’m clearly missing the point of ‘essentials though…

piles of clothes

For coats – Ah man this one is a tough one because, since I grew up in Canada and we have to own so many different coats, I just love my coats! I sent one away with my boyfriend when he was here earlier this summer, and I will be wearing one upon my departure, but that leaves so many other jackets. I haven’t even taken them out of the closet yet…

For footware – There are easy ones: flats, converse, running shoes. However, this one is hard because while a classic pair of black heels is always a good choice – these are only 3 of my pairs of black pumps. How can I choose?? This one will really come down to space! Boots wise, I decided to leave behind my pair of wellies because I think they have a hole in it – and also because they are damn heavy! I will be buying a pair with my first paycheck!


For food – As expats, we should get used to the food of the place we live in. I totally get that and I’m lucky that the UK isn’t really such a different country. Yes I still don’t understand the point of pies with meat, but I can easily pick things to eat. However – we’ve had this discussion many times – I literally cannot live without maple syrup. And while they sell it in the UK, it’s crazy overpriced and also (mostly in restaurants) it’s not actual pure maple syrup. What a rip off! Anyhow, I need me lots of cans of Quebec maple syrup!

For books – I have SO many books and I love them all! Leaving them behind feels like a heartbreak. Also, not going to lie, a huge part of the guilt of leaving books behind is the fact that I bought them but haven’t read so many of them! This is one of my ‘essentials’ pile, but I will for sure have to cut it down even more due to weight requirements.


For memorabilia/photos – I haven’t even started with this one….I’m doomed…

How do you chose what is most important when packing? Do you have any tips?xx

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