Moving yet again

Since moving up to Fargo and attending North Dakota State University I have lived in five different houses/apartments. I like to think that I have attained some new skills in the moving department along with my college education. However, packing up my apartment this last time proved to be a little more difficult.

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I decided to rent a storage unit that could hold the belongings I have accumulated since high school. Since they will be sitting there for over two years I had to make sure I didn’t just throw things together in random boxes. It looked like it was time to actually put my packing skills to the test! It was fun to think about where I would be in a couple of years when I was opening up these boxes again.

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Now that my apartment is taken care of, it is time to focus on packing for my move to Albania. What I think I would like to bring with seems to change from day-to-day. The only thing that doesn’t change is the fact that I have to fit it into two suitcases. The volunteers living in Albania put together a packing list for us that has proved to be quite helpful.

Packing Suggestions.

What? I only have two suitcases for two years? Peace Corps will pay up to two suitcases that fit the weight requirement. However, that does not mean you can’t bring additional luggage. If you choose to do the latter, than you will have to pay for any extra that you bring with you. If your suitcases are over the weight limit, those are also additional costs that will come out of your pocket. And one last warning, you have to carry all of that yourself. There are of course luggage carts available at the airports and once you get here, that’s all that is the most important part. Please keep in mind that the following are merely suggestions of things that we wish we had packed initially. There is no such thing as a “perfect packing list”. Do take into consideration that we can receive packages so try to pack your heavier items rather than shipping them if you’re on a budget.

“I think the packing lists confuse everyone.  People need different things.”

 

Clothes:

● “Going out” clothes
● Rain jacket
● Diverse accessories to liven up outfits [belts, scarves, cheap non-flashyjewerly]
● A few good quality work outfits 
● Hand bag
● Layer able clothes
● Leggings/tights
● Lounging clothes for cold and warm weather
● Fleece
● Cardigans/blazer
● One outfit for weddings/swearing-in
● Wool socks
● Thermal socks
● Sweat pants
● T-Shirts
● Shorts
● A sports bra
● Swim suit – bikinis are OK

Note: You will be expected to dress business casual during training and at your job.  Bringing components to make a ‘cardigan and flats’ type outfit is smart.  You don’t need to dress like a nun, but not showing cleavage is probably a good idea.  Tight clothes are a little more welcome since Albanian women typically dress this way, but the most important thing is that you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing.Keep in mind you will be held to slightly different standards because you are an American, for better or worse.  

Gadgets:​

● External hard drive with TV/movies/exercise videos [You will have a lot of free time during PST and limited internet access to download]
● Headphones
● MP3 Player 
● Small portable speaker
● rechargeable batteries and charger
● Small flashlight
● Flash drive
● Extra adapter
● Adapter with built-in surge protector for your laptop
● An e-reader
● Extension cord
● Magic jack, you can make/receive free calls to the states for a small subscription fee, or you can just choose to Skype
● Head lamp
● Camera
● Lap top

Bring cases for your things. Investing in some anti-scratch/ anti-impact coating for your mp3 player for instance is probably a good idea and you will want to travel with your laptop at some point.  Things of every category have a way of getting beat up in Albania so taking some precaution is suggested.  Also, anti-virus software is a good idea since your work computers or internet café computers will most likely be infected with at least a few viruses.

Shoes:

● Comfortable and durable walking shoes
● Rain boots
● Hiking boots
● Warm durable slippers
● A pair of heels for special occasions 
● Flip flops

 

Misc:

● Coffee filter
● 1 or 2 person tent
● Measurement spoons
● Ped egg
● Wrinkle releaser spray

Cosmetics:

● Hair elastics
● Q Tips [Poor quality in Albania]
● Razor heads [Poor quality in Albania]
● Makeup
● Moisturizer
● Perfume

 

● Extra sunscreen

 

 

Hobbies:

● Journal
● Art materials
● Yoga mat
● Musical instrument
● Essentially anything that you think you want to pursue or continue, bring it because you’ll have the time to do it.

 

Learning:

● 3 or 4 packs of index cards and or post it notes
● Good pens
● “A good supply of mechanical pencils, crayons, crayola markers, sharpies, highlighters, animal flash cards, note cards, post its, colored chalk, and 3 different dictionaries.”
● Clip board
● Scissors
● Stickers

Important:

● Sunglasses [Poor quality in Albania and the sun is quite strong here]
● A stash of your favorite pain reliever and other meds
● Packing towel [Amazon]
● Camping pack [If you plan on camping or traveling around]
● Pictures from home [A photo album is a great way to connect with locals]
● Umbrella [Poor quality in Albania]
● Hot sauce [Pepper is considered hot here]
● Spare US cash to keep for an emergency and some to spend during PST
● Reusable bags [You will recieve extra materials during training and it’ll be difficult trying to stuff them into your already full bags. Plus they are a great role model for shopping and teaching Albanians about the benefits of not using plastic]
● Compact down sleeping bag
● Sleeping pad
● Small day trip bag

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