3 weeks out and I can final­ly edit the pack­ing pic­tures with­out the pan­icky feel­ing com­ing back. Every­thing fit and made it back. I would say with no prob­lems, but pack­ing day was stress­ful enough that it was a prob­lem at the time. I made it down to Mex­i­co for Peace Corps ser­vice with 2 huge checked bags, 1 large car­ry-on suit­case, and 1 stuffed com­put­er bag. How­ev­er, I then pro­ceed­ed to bring my climb­ing stuff down to Mex­i­co and buy new clothes and plen­ty of sou­venirs. I took one suit­case of stuff back at Christ­mas-time to leave in tem­po­rary stor­age (a.k.a. the parent’s attic) for future retrieval. On the real trip back, I had 3 checked bags, 1 large car­ry-on suit­case, and 1 stuffed com­put­er bag. Tech­ni­cal­ly only 1 extra bag, for which I paid dear­ly, but mov­ing always costs mon­ey and 2 years of climb­ing and camp­ing in Mex­i­co were not only worth it but some of the high­lights.

luggage-pano2
packing-after-PeaceCorps-2
packing-after-PeaceCorps-1
packing-after-PeaceCorps-4
packing-after-PeaceCorps-5

If you have already been liv­ing out of suit­cas­es for a few weeks, then the first step is to unpack.

Just the clothes, and not even all of them

The pack­ing has begun. One suit­case is full, and so begins the real freak­ing out.

And Bam! It all some­how mag­i­cal­ly con­tracts into a few very over­weight bags. I was too focused on freak­ing out and pack­ing to take more pic­tures of the process.

And it is nice to see your bags en route.

The “What to bring for Peace Corps?” is a live­ly and impor­tant top­ic for those at that stage. Over­all, I think I did pret­ty well. I prob­a­bly brought too many busi­ness clothes. I should have brought my stove-top espres­so mak­er and my kitchen knives, but those were fair­ly eas­i­ly re-pur­chas­es and couri­ered down on the “fam­i­ly is com­ing to vis­it, who needs some­thing?” express. The busi­ness clothes are a some­what con­tro­ver­sial top­ic. For me, what I expe­ri­enced,  is that even in top-notch research cen­ters, peo­ple still wear jeans. Oth­er Vol­un­teers in Mex­i­co are in truer busi­ness envi­ron­ments, so I know they are get­ting more use out of slacks and but­ton-downs. Or, that is just how they roll. I tran­si­tioned my navy and black pants to every­day use and tried to wear them out. I suc­ceed­ed in this plan with a lot of cloth­ing, even more shoes, but then I bought even more. Also, I say that you always have some per­son­al fash­ion choice. I feel strong­ly that it is impor­tant to main­tain a pro­fes­sion­al rela­tion­ship with work part­ners and this involves appear­ance, but there is still some lee­way con­cern­ing wardrobe. Take my advice at your own risk. I don’t always play well with author­i­ty and may have worn flip-flops a few times just to make a point.

I’m not try­ing to des­per­ate­ly cling onto my Peace Corps expe­ri­ences, but it is hard to come up with posts when the days involve most­ly going to the gym and sit­ting in front of a com­put­er. Things are in motion, and that feels good. I will say that there was a bit more emo­tion­al stuff to the tran­si­tion back than I expect­ed. Things seem more even now. Com­ing back from a large city in Mex­i­co to Texas is also not the most extreme change to make. I real­ly respect what oth­er Vol­un­teers must have to go through on their tran­si­tions back.