My Pre-Packing To-Do List

I got a new haircut today, and I’m feeling much less anxiety than I did yesterday! Now that I’ve admitted that I am a little scared–now that I’ve named that feeling–I can deal with it.

I’m dealing with it by completing a checklist of things to do “Pre-Packing.” In these last few weeks before my flight, there is more motivation for me to take care of myself:

  • I don’t want to look like a slob when I arrive
  • Some things are cheaper in the USA
  • It’s fun!

It’s fun because every little thing I do is no longer just delayed gratification. When I go to the dentist, there’s the instant gratification of marking something off my “Pre-Packing” to-do list (long-term gratification: not having to drop my teeth in a glass on my nightstand every night).

And with every new item checked off my “Pre-Packing” list, I feel a little different. My teeth are sparklier. My hair is neater. My eyes are more focused. My underwear is less saggy. It’s like I’m becoming a more polished version of myself: I’m Megan 2.0.

Pre-Packing List
This list of things/accounts to do and purchase is based on my current health insurance coverage and what I’ve heard is more expensive in Spain than in the United States. This isn’t a packing list!

  • Dentist
  • Contacts — 9 months
  • Prescriptions — 9 months
  • Immunizations
  • New basic clothes/shoes
  • Haircut that will grow out nicely
  • Travel credit card
  • Travel insurance
  • Travel phone/plan
  • Kindle/account
  • New toiletries (shampoo, toothpaste, contact solution)
  • New make-up

Do you think my list is complete? Am I forgetting something? What else should I take care of before I go?


The Last Fig Newmans

The past few weeks I have made a few drafts, but then I would get overwhelmed and stop. A list is faster:

  1. My visa is ready for pick-up in Chicago! It was processed in less than 2 weeks. Hallelujah!
  2. I sent my Acceptance Letter to the Junta AndalucĂ­a and my school. I haven’t heard back from my school yet, but the Junta got back to me in just one business day to let me know my paperwork was wrong. Oops!
  3. I “e-met” a couple auxiliars who are connected to my school; one was an auxiliar at my school last year, and another will be a part-time auxiliar in the upcoming year with me. They’re both nice, friendly, and I’m looking forward to meeting them in person! They’ve already been very helpful with housing and general will-I-know-anyone-when-I-get-there stress.
  4. Momma and Randy got me a fancy camera for my birthday. Every day I think of 10 new things I wish I was taking pictures of. This gift is going to mean so much to me in Spain. Thanks, you two!

I had a fabulous birthday in general. I’m so lucky for my family and friends. I feel like it’s the last week of summer camp, once all the campers hit that clicking point and realize:

Everyone at camp is Your Best Friend. No One Knows Anyone At Camp The Way That Other Campers Do. Recreating This Bond Outside Of Camp Will Be A Challenge Against The Patriarchy, Against Capitalism, Against The Media, Against Reality Television; This. Is. The End.

Suddenly I love my job so much that I want to do it, just for fun, on the weekends. I can’t stop hugging my friends. I can’t pack up my room (I move out in just two weeks); I just shift things into piles and page through my photos, old mix-tapes, journals, and everything else that has memories I can’t fit in my luggage.

My emotions are a mixed bag of clinging, denial, and delirious excitement (and whatever else is in the moment). I look out my window and wonder what that simple motion, upward-from-the-keyboard, will bring me when I’m in Sevilla. I spend way more time on Facebook in one week than I used to spend on it in 6 months, caring deeply about people I haven’t really spoken to since high school.

I try to tell myself that it’s not such a big step. I’ll be fine. I’ll be chill. It will be great. But at the same time, I don’t want it to be just another thing. I want it to be a big step. I want it to change my life. But I don’t want to get my hopes up. But I don’t want to be unprepared.

You know what? I want:

  • To be able to carry on a conversation in Spanish about, say, feminism; or at least more than how much the box of truffles costs at Carrefour
  • To engage my students with thoughtful, awesome lessons on the English language and American culture; or at least break a few stereotypes (we don’t all carry guns!); or at least impress upon them how great Fig Newmans are
  • To keep in touch with old friends and remind them how much I still care about them while meeting and making new friends all over Europe (hello, CouchSurfing!)

Can you believe it? This might be my last package of Fig Newmans for the year!