Friday, July 19, 2013


I have friends who can compact all of their lives into carry-on baggage—the smart, clean, rolling suitcases that make people want to bang in little airplane bathrooms. I have friends who roll their clothes and squeeze out the air so that they can form little plastic towers of ready-made outfits for their holidays. These friends have underground secrets of Swiss-efficient packing that are lost on me.

When I came back from my year in Ireland with a mere two suitcases, they were both laden with so much stuff that they sunk the trunk of my friend’s aunt’s car quite noticeably. I hadn’t had much time to pack between all of my farewells. I hadn’t slept the night before, and I even threw some of my things underneath a stairwell in panic.

I knew that I would have to pay an overweight luggage fee. My red crocodile suitcases were almost immovable. I did however, in my thrifty save-a-buck mentality, want to pay the minimum overweight baggage fee. I decided to take out a few books and stow them in my carry-on. But when I started to move the zipper, the suitcase started to burst open. And right there were all of the inappropriate things that I seemed to own. My tampons threatened to erupt like a science fair volcano, and my lover at the time had bought me a toy… and although I thought that I had hid it in copious layers of socks, there it was, right in my face.

I hastily zipped the suitcase back up before anyone else could see, and decided to pay the extra fee. Seeing my flustered face, and thinking that it was to do with the money, the woman at the desk lowered my fee by a few hundred euros. I love Irish people.

When I got home I unpacked and threw away nearly half of everything I had brought back anyway. Who needs 8 mugs and a Connacht Rugby flag?!