One Girl, Two Suitcases, Six Months…

I’ve done a lot of moving around in my life, and mostly alone.

When I was sixteen, I packed two huge suitcases full of stuff and went to the States for a year. When I was nineteen, I did the same thing again with a single suitcase and an even further destination: Australia. From there, I went to Peru for a few months, and then proceeded to move to college 8 hours away from where I grew up. I moved back this June, but only temporarily. At the moment, I’m packing my bags to go work in Berlin for six months. You’d think by now I’m a total pro at stuffing my life into a suitcase and leaving places to go elsewhere.

Well, I guess I am, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m nervous, and that I’ve never managed to go about packing in as orderly a fashion as I’d like. My move to Berlin is happening exactly like all the other times I went on longer travels.

Judith’s Moving Timeline

Two weeks to go

You consider getting a head-start on packing. Get the suitcase into your room and look at it for a while. Then decide that it’s really a bit early to start already. What about the clothes you’ll wear in the next two weeks?

One week to go

You realize you have only a vague idea where the bus terminal is. Promise your mother that you’ll look it up asap. Forget about it again. Spend some minutes every day eyeing your suitcase, but it’s definitely still to early to pack.

3 days to go

You finally remember to look up the bus terminal. Groan when you realise you’ll be rising before the sun for sure. You hate travelling. At the same time – in three days you are finally independent again! No longer will there be your brother’s wet towels on the bathroom floor and no longer will your sister steal your make up. You’re really just too grown up to live at home, it’s good to be leaving. Your suitcase catches your eye from the corner of your room and you get all excited and smile. Finally!

24 hours to go

Oops, now it’s really past time you started packing!

20 hours to go

You’ve neatly folded your clothes in several small piles. Pants, shirts, workout clothes, sweaters, underwear. All of this should fit nicely into your suitcase with the towels and still leave the bag for the duvet you have carry across the country.

19 hours to go

All the clothing fits very nicely. You’re a packing genius.

18 hours to go

Wait, that sweater, you meant to take that for sure. And you can’t leave your boyfriend’s hoodie! Oh, and the teddy bear your best friends gave you as a goodbye present. And shoes, hold on, you do need shoes. And a belt. And – ooooooohhhhh, how cute, you haven’t worn that top in years but now that you just found it at the back of the drawer, surely you can find an occasion to wear it in Berlin? Wait, and where are you going to put your coat?

17 hours to go

Your stuff is never ever going to fit into that suitcase. You’ll just have to find a way to squeeze some of those things into the bag with the duvet. And a way to transport a heavy suitcase and a heavy bag by yourself, across two cities. Pfft, you’ve had worse packing arrangements. You can totally do it.

15 hours to go

You decide to get up an hour earlier and leave the rest of your packing until the morning. You write a list of all the stuff you need to take but still want to use before the morning, because knowing how your brain works in the morning, you would forget half of this stuff otherwise. As an afterthought, you write LAPTOP!!!!!!! on the bottom of the list. Phew, that would have been an issue. Your mother is getting sentimental about you leaving. You are getting increasingly nervous. You don’t actually want to leave. Living at home is not so bad. Who knows how this new place will be. Newer is not always better. Maybe you should just stay.

12 hours to go

You spontaneously decide, new city, new hair colour, and forego your usual dark brown for something called “Grand Canyon Red” which supposedly also works on dark brown hair. An hour later, your hair is dark brown with a red shimmer. After you were so nervous about the dye, this is a bit of an anticlimax. Maybe your entire trip is going to be like that?

10 hours to go

You stake out your new place with the Google Street view. It seems to be a normal place in a somewhat substandard, but not unsafe, neighbourhood. That, too, is a bit anticlimactic, but also relaxes you. Actually, you’re just oddly calm now. Like someone else is moving. That other person can get nervous then. You just don’t really want to think about it anyways. You set an alarm for a terribly early morning hour and turn on the TV.

7 hours to go

You realize you will never, ever get enough sleep anyways. Briefly consider just pulling an all-nighter. Instead, double-check your alarm and try to close your eyes at least for a little while.

2 hours to go

You awake from confused nightmares about missing your bus and getting yelled at on your first day of work. Stuff everything that seems important into the bag. Consult the list you wrote, but also just take random things your foggy brain thinks you might need.

And then…

It’s time! With a backpack, two suitcases and a thermos of coffee (and struggling to figure out how to carry all of it), you make your way into the next six months of your life… wohoo!


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