23 January 2015

Packing List for China--Updated

 We probably wouldn't survive as backpackers...

About 2 weeks before we left for China, I published a list of what we were planning on packing. Now that we've been in China several months, I thought I'd revisit that list and update it with notes on what we've found most useful, what we didn't really need to bring, and what I wish we could have brought:

Boring, practical clothes and shoes for work (I packed two pairs of black dress pants. I think I underestimated how much I would wear dresses and skirts to work. I have worn my black dress pants only in December and January as defense against the cold, and even then, reluctantly, because I think they are ugly--but still, probably necessary. I could get away with just one pair.)
Clothes and shoes that Rachel is too fond of to let go (I haven't worn either of my pairs of heels more than 2 or 3 times, but I'm glad I have them. Our lifestyle requires a lot of walking, and I don't like painful feet. I'm wearing my ballet flats down to nothing--it's already obvious that both pairs I brought will not make it out of China alive.)
Clothes and shoes that Angel is too fond of to let go (He says he brought the perfect number of pairs of shoes--the running shoes and basketball shoes are getting quite worn--but overpacked on t-shirts and underpacked on collared shirts he can wear to work. He got rid of all of his dress shirts that were slightly too tight for him before we moved, and promptly lost 10 pounds upon arrival in China. Those dress shirts would be useful now!)
Angel's USA, Mexico, and China flags
Our wedding clothes (used them for our anniversary photos, and Angel wore his vest and pants for our formal contract signing ceremony, for his dance performance, and his jacket when we were interviewed for TV, so he's getting good use out of his suit!)
Chacos (sandals) for both of us (near-daily wear until it got cold)
My Doc Martens (my one pair of cold weather shoes--worn daily since the beginning of December)
A miniature pewter nativity scene
2 Laptops
External hard drive (I'm glad I had access to years of old pictures--sometimes we use old pictures in our lesson plans--i.e. having students describe a picture or guess what is happening in a picture)
Angel's iPod touch  (this has been surprisingly useful. We have a Chinese-English dictionary on it so that we can look up needed words while out and about)
Camera/Camera battery charger
My haircutting scissors and comb (I cut a good 3 inches off my hair in December, hurrah!)
My jewelry and accessories
Angel's favorite prism
My little swiss army knife
Chinese/English dictionary
A few, very few, 3
Light jackets for both of us (on cold days I've been wearing 3 shirts plus my jacket, but I've survived!)
A stock of basic meds we might need (ibuprofen, allergy meds, stomach meds, etc.) (Yep, we've used them! Especially the first couple weeks after we arrived!)
Notarized copies of important papers/ids/etc. (never underestimate how much paperwork is involved in living internationally.)
Potato Peeler (didn't actually make it into the suitcase, but I wish I had it)
Can Opener (ditto)
A few makeup/facial skincare products (probably should have brought a little more of this along)
Toms deodorant (our supply will definitely last us the year, after that, I don't know what we'll do. haha!)
Yes To... chapstick
A 31 brand tote someone gave us (we use it to carry groceries since plastic bags cost extra)
Travel Boggle (we play it with students for English practice)
My Fabric USA Map 
Silverware (I do like eating with my nice forks)
Angel's pewter cup
My Purse from the Red Buffalo Road
The extra HK dollars that we had from last time we were in the HK airport (those are, obviously, gone by now)

Last minute things that made it into the suitcase, and have proved very useful:

Angel's LED headlamp (the sidewalks can be pretty dark at night, he wears this whenever we walk in the evening)
About 10 USB drives. (we, like most, have collected USB drives over the years. I've never bought one, but I happen to own many. We use these daily as we each carry at least two to class when we're doing a computer-based lesson.)

What we wish we brought:

A big pot and a big frying pan (I already had them, I thought of bringing them along, but was advised against it. I wish I would  ignored that advice and somehow managed to bring them with me.)
A year's supply of chili powder
A Kindle (I've never had one, never even considered one, as I always had that dream of having the library from the movie My Fair Lady in my house. But at this point, it's probably time to give up on the dream. English books are few here, and expensive. I would have liked to have a Kindle and a bunch of books on it to read while riding the metro or hanging out at the park while Angel flies his kite.)
shelleystirs said...

I have a Kindle (Fire), and I love it! I still prefer an actual book over an e-book. If we go on a trip, it's really nice to bring a Kindle instead of a stack of books.

Heather @ No Bologna Blog said...

I haven't been so great about keeping up with blogs lately, but I'm following up on a lot right now. I love your new (to me) look - you may have changed it a while back haha. Looking forward to keeping up your china adventures! Just thinking about packing for something like this sounds so daunting, kudos to y'all! At least your "wish we brought" list isn't long!

Anonymous said...

Great post, very useful. Hah, I haven't crumpled yet on the Kindle front (even though it would be a lot cheaper....)....I just can't imagine not holding a book in my inflated Amazon shipping fees (and their ridiculous 'up front highly inflated import tax' it is....

Jen Lud said...

Girl I am with you on the Kindle - I cannot imagine how isolating it must be to have little to no access to books! You strike me as an uber-reader, like me, and there's something in our soul that just needs to be fed with the page! I'm wondering if you could somehow participate in one of those online book swaps....the shipping might be insane, though.

I am curious what the medicine is like over there! I noticed you packed pain relievers and they practice holistic medicine primarily? Or is it an antiquated version of the medicine we have here in the states (that's what Germany was like)? said...

I love the list! I have made lists like this for Indonesia too! There are so many things I wished I had and so many things I wished I didn't pack lol
Melanie @

Bethany Carson said...

Sounds like you did a good job on your packing! Most everything proved useful! I agree that a Kindle would have been excellent for you to bring--they are so handy!

Jennifer Prod said...

for some reason, you're one of the last people i would imagine wanting a Kindle -- but you make a pretty good argument for needing one. friends are always telling me how much cheaper it is, and so i'm thinking i might crack soon too.

Tayler Morrell said...

It's interesting. I used to wear heels all the time to teach, then I got pregnant and gave birth and now I don't. But I totally understand with you since you have to walk to school