The Must-Haves for Africa: What Made the Cut and What Didn't

I am not a fan of packing. Especially when it involves boxing up my entire life and moving halfway around the world.  Fortunately, I can leave some of my belongings at my very generous and kind parents' house, however I am already to the point of ruthlessly tossing or donating a large majority of my things.  Unless it was purchased while traveling or has some sentimental value it probably did not make the cut and now sits sadly in a plastic bin destined for Goodwill. 

Deciding what to take with me is even more difficult.  Since I am still not certain where I will be living or what the dress code is at my new office it is rather difficult to pare down my closet.  I do know however, that the weather ranges between 50-80 degrees year-round which, in my book, is kinda awesome.  What is not awesome is sending away all my "dry clean only" clothes to hang longingly in my childhood closet.  And then there is the jewelry.  Just because I will be in Africa I see no reason not to accessorize.  Of course I will leave all of my nice jewelry here, but I have a pleathora of fabulous costume jewelry begging to make the rotation. 

Books are next on the list.  I have three large bookshelves packed full of books and I love skimming through my collection and randomly picking one to re-read.  Unfortunately, now it's all about space.  With all of the new luggage regulations I imagine I will only be taking 2 (maybe 3, if I fly BA) checked bags with me which will not leave a lot of room for the written word.  That is why the global Kindle has made an appearance on my Amazon Wish List.  I know it's a long shot, but I'm holding out hope that my loving parents will see the need to keep my brain from atrophying and decide to provide me with adequate reading material for the next year.  I imagine I will need to take a few books and articles to complete my studies this semester.  (None of which have been researched much less purchased at this time, I might point out.  I should get on that I suppose.)  However, the following few texts will get a free ride to Africa regardless: Candide by Voltaire, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, Anne Frank Remembered by Miep Gies, A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah, all of David Sedaris' books, a travel guide of East Africa, and my Bible. 

Music lucked out; it is all going on my external hard drive.  The not-so-easy part is tracking down all of my cds and ripping them into my itunes.  My DVD collection was not so fortunate. There are a lot of movies I'd like to take, but am restraining myself to two small cd cases. What finally made the cut  was lots of TV on DVD: How I Met Your Mother: Seasons 1-3, Burn Notice: Season 1, Firefly: The Complete Series, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, The Importance of Being Earnest, Love Actually, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (made it in solely because I only own the first Bridget Jones Diary on VHS and I will need to watch a good man fight between Colin Firth and Hugh Grant at some point), The Special Edition of Pride and Prejudice (A&E version), and, of course, Clueless.  I might have to give in and get another case exclusively for The Office though....

Next comes the packing of the entirety of my medicine cabinet while trying to appear not to be a drug trafficker.  I learned the hard way the importance of having plenty of American over the counter drugs while in Zambia and Rwanda last summer. Their pharmacies are sadly lacking in products and what you find may or may not be the same quality that we are used to.  Therefore I will be stocking up on Pepto and straws, in case Harvey decides to come visit, lots of Tylenol and Aleve, and tons of multi-vitamins to keep my immune system up.

And if there is any room left after packing all of these other necessities I plan to sneak in some tortillas and salsa.

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