chiba · japan · study abroad

Flashback #1: Packing for Studying Abroad

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I’m finally digging old pictures in my hard drive because I’m doing a general clean-up and down sizing of my stuff. This includes actual things like furniture and clothes, but also old pictures and videos in my hard drive that I don’t think I’ll miss anymore.

I got a spot to study abroad in Japan back in 2013. This may not be a big deal to some of you, but because my University doesn’t offer a lot of spots, there is always a big wait-list. Unfortunately a good friend of mine was denied access to the University that we applied for. Fortunately, I got a spot. To be honest, I wasn’t the best student nor was I the brightest. But I was blessed with the opportunity.

This is what I brought. It was a lot of stuff because on top of bringing the usual things, I also brought my text books and a bike. And when you bring a bike with you, you know that you have to bring extra parts and tools a long. I like to commute by bike and even though buying a bike there is obviously an option, but I didn’t really want another bike. I already had a bike that I really like, and I thought that if I went with a mamachari for a year instead, I wouldn’t be able to do any intense or long distance bike rides.

I’m sure I’m not the only one but I totally put off packing until the night before because… you know… stuff comes up. You can see my mess above, where I have 2 main categories; normal stuff that anybody would bring on a study abroad, and my bike stuff (panniers, tools, extra parts.)

I’m sure I’m also not the only one who over packs. If anybody has ever studied abroad before, I think the one thing that we are all not good at is packing what is needed. Instead, we end up packing stuff that we end up not using or wearing much. I’m not referring to my bike though. I actually rode my bike a lot. And I was really glad I brought it. Below is the bike stuffed to the trunk of my parents’ car.

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What I was guilty of is bringing too many clothes. I thought that if I brought a lot of clothes, I wouldn’t need to go shopping there, which is true. But the thing is, Japan has so many cool independent, vintage, one-of-a-kind clothing stores that I ended up buying a lot of clothes there anyways. I’m sure someone out there can relate to that also.

I will always remember that day. That fateful day where even though none of the things that I was doing has sunk in yet, I knew I was in for something that will change my life.

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