Emotions and Packing

Sarah Noah
Ritsumeikan University
Kyoto, Japan
Majors: Japanese, Tourism & Travel

In just over a week I will be getting on a plane that will take me to Japan… Are you sure it isn’t in four months? Because the last time I checked I had just taken my last final and summer had started… Oh well.  Here I am, spending the last few moments of summer packing, frantically running around town doing official type errands, and saying goodbyes.

I’m not sure if it helps that I am one of my last friends to leave for college or if that is making it harder.  On the one hand, it feels a bit better having them leave before I do, but on the other hand, it feels like I’ll be on my own when I leave.  Then again, I obviously have my family who I love very dearly and will probably make me cry my eyes out when they drop me off at the airport.  Either way, I plan on being quite emotional in the coming week.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very excited to be studying abroad in Japan for almost a year!  Not many people get this opportunity and I am more than thrilled to be making this journey, but along with the excitement are a few other emotions that will be at the control panel in the next few days, and probably the next couple of weeks.  These emotions (anxiety, sadness, confusion, etc…) have been popping in and out as I have begun to fully grasp the fact that I am leaving so soon.  It’s difficult to deal with such a big change, but I know it will be more than worth it.

But before I even step foot in Japan, there is one hurdle I really need to tackle. Packing. Like many people, I have packed before.  I have packed for weekend trips countless times and for college at least twice.  But this? This is packing on a whole other level.  When you think about it, I am packing for 11 months, just a little over what I would normally pack for school.  But there is obviously a catch.  I only live about two and a half hours away from Western so when I pack, I pack for the seasons.  I’ll bring my summer and start of fall clothes and switch them out once I go home for Thanksgiving or if I need to on a random weekend.  But I can’t do that this time.  With airfare being the way it is (expensive) and my fear of shipping internationally (I would rather not have my favorite sweater lost in the mail), my best option is to pack everything I need in one go.

At orientation for study abroad I heard some really great advice.  It was something along the lines of: “When you are travelling, lay out the clothes and money you plan on taking.  Now take half the clothes and twice the money.”  While I think most of us wish we could easily do the latter, I am definitely taking the clothes advice to heart.  I’ve already started packing my sweaters, and although it is going to be difficult.  I need to go through it and put back half of them.  I mean, do I really need to bring four WMU sweaters?  While I always love to represent my Bronco Pride, if it’ll save me a pound or two when it comes to luggage weight caps, I think I’ll survive.  Plus! That just means I’ll have more room to bring back all the cute sweaters I’ll find in Japan!

The Golden Pavilion in Kyoto. Photo by Cameron Carson.
The Golden Pavilion in Kyoto. Photo by Cameron Carson.

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