June 9, 2012

A Note to Myself

During the past year in Spain, I kept thinking, "I really need to remember that for next year", so I thought I would post some notes to myself on here. If you have any input, please add, I will take any advice!

We are in a unique situation where we are moving every year. We will have fully furnished apartments (including kitchen utensils, etc.) in Europe, so we pretty much just need to bring clothes. But it's tough to know what to bring and also what to buy once here. Almost anything I buy for the apartment will be left behind, and I hate to spend the money to buy the same things again every year.

1. I DO NOT need to pack as much as I think I need to pack. I don't need to pack every piece of clothing that I own, I can do laundry, and Europe is not a third world country, I can buy anything I end up needing. Also, there is always Christmas and family and friends visiting that can bring me something if I need it.
2. Trust the weather - if the reports say the city is cold, it's going to be cold, no matter how warm I wish it was! This past year, I packed for Avila, Spain while living in Orlanod,Florida. I brought lots of sundresses, shorts, sandals, etc. thinking that I could surely wear them in September and May. At Christmas I took all of these things home realizing that I will never wear them in Avila, even in Spring.
3. Don't bring more than one pair of shoes that aren't comfortable, no matter how cute they are. I won't ever wear them because I am walking so much (I guess this depends on which city we live in).
4. Bring an umbrella - small to pack, and not worth buying and throwing away every year.
5. If I have room (yeah, right!), there are some food items that I missed out on last year that would be nice to have, such as brownie or cake mix, a measuring cup and teaspoons, boxes of macaroni and cheese (my favorite), certain items I use for multiple recipes - packets of taco seasoning, ranch dressing mix, etc.
6. Also if I have room, a comfy extra blanket and some extra pillowcases would be nice. I love having a blanket on the couch to watch TV and read with, and also the pillow cases in Europe (at least the ones we had last year) are kind of weird - scratchy and very long.
7. I would like to pick out a few durable (i.e. won't break in suitcase) picture frames and bring a few pictures of family and friends to make our apartment seem more like home.

Things to buy at the beginning of the year next year (some things are just not worth the money unless you can use them all year):
1. Go ahead and buy basic baking and cooking ingredients - spices and flour, sugar, etc. (This year I waited until January, and it was so much better having a fully stocked kitchen).
2. Buy a Swiffer for the wood or tile floors - a broom just doesn't clean good enough.
3. Swiffer dusting rags - wet paper towels just don't work that great.
4. Go ahead and buy necessities - like hangers for the closet.
5. Get a bath mat for the bathroom - using a towel to stand on is no fun for an entire year.
6. Go ahead and get a cell phone at the beginning of the year. I went this entire year without a cell phone and it was doable, but not preferable.

I'm hoping that next year, where ever we are, will be even better because I will be more prepared and will be able to adjust more quickly. It will be different every year - the apartment will always be furnished, but the extent of our kitchen utensils will always be different. This year we had no dishwasher, and a random compilation of mis matched cups, bowls, etc. but next year we could have a fully stocked kitchen complete with measuring cups and cookie sheets (haha-the things I'm getting excited about!). Some of Matt's teammates had a DRYER in their apartment - this is a huge deal in Spain! I would be so excited if we ever had a dryer and didn't have to line dry clothes.

Anyway, we won't know until later this summer where we will be next year, could be Spain, could be a different country, but for now I'm just enjoying the USA!