Friday, February 27, 2009

Creature Comforts.

If you were packing for three-and-a-half months in a foreign country, what would you bring? I am not the world's best packer, in any situation, so this one flummoxed me a bit, and now that I've been here just shy of five weeks, I have come to a few realizations.

First, after the crying jag and emotional stress of last Friday and the alarm night... I soothed myself with The West Wing. Yes, that's right. My obsession with that show dominates the tiny, 12-disc carrying case I brought. The iPod and the iTunes mean you never have to waste space with a CD again, so I brought 13 DVDs:

High Fidelity

Almost Famous (the director's cut)

Marie Antionette

and ten discs of the West Wing. (In case you care, I brought the last two discs of season 1 and all of season 2.)

The West Wing is like chamomile tea for my soul, it's like a glass of whiskey at night or a toddler's la-la. It was definitely the right choice.

High Fidelity is my number one movie of all time (yeah, yeah, Bill, I KNOW, shut up! on the WW too!) and Almost Famous is a close second. Marie Antionette, the Coppola one, is the kind of thing I would normally hate, but it is a movie I love to watch when I need some mental reorganization. It's like a film version of meditation for me.

But I would have, should have, sacrificed two spots for Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. What was I thinking!?!?!? That's got talking, love, humor, foreign countries, and everything I need. Big mistake. I miss them.

On the clothes front... I didn't bring enough nice stuff - it's all beat up cotton tanks and boring tee shirts. I did not bring enough shoes, I am bored with my choices and one pair of sneakers? Am I an idiot? I did bring more than enough underthings (thank goodness) and I wish I had more light, cardigan-y things for the cool evenings.

I caught a little Oprah the other day, it was a special on how the recession is affecting real people. The people interviewed, living in shelters, cars and tent camps (or one couple living in their office after losing the house), were all former car-owners, homeowners, and employed in middle class jobs. The thing they all shared was, when asked what things they missed most: a hot shower whenever they wanted it. It made me grateful for my toothpaste, my hot shower, my soft bed, and also to have the luck to enjoy the silly, indulgent, time-wasting, reassuring desserts I brought with me: DVDs, two great long juicy books, a couple pretty scarves.


  1. I highly recommend This is the site MP uses to watch all her favorite shows and movies, it's a lifesaver!!

    On another note, our friend Berg who just got back from 11 weeks of traveling, only brought one pair of REI underwear! I'm glad you didn't follow this "light packing" method.

  2. I feel the EXACT same way about West Wing. It's always what I want to watch when I'm feeling sick or sad or out of sorts. I guess that must be in our genes.

  3. Berg (sigh)...why was I even the least bit surprised by that comment. One pair! Seriously? That boy. I bet that had Shannon turning up her cute, little nose. And How I love thee. Movies are like comfort food. Especially in a foreign place. Though currently I'm using it to work my way through Heros. What a great show! Why didn't I know this earlier?