I mentioned before that we've spent every summer since 2006 Somewhere Else. It may sound glamorous and adventurous to spend our summers away from home, and in some ways, it is. But there are plenty of aspects of summer temp living that get tiresome after a while.
The one I struggle with the most is what to pack, what to buy when we get there, and what to do without. You can only pack so much in a suitcase, so when we get to our destination (and the apartment whose furnishings I usually have no information about before we arrive), it's time to take stock. What did I bring that I shouldn't have? What did I leave behind that would have been really nice to have right about now? What should we buy, even though we will only use it for a few months? What should we just do without for those few months?
What did I bring that I shouldn't have? A booster seat, it looks like. We have a portable booster that folds up very compactly and we've brought it with us overseas a few times already, with great success. The glitch this time around is that in this apartment, we don't have any chairs to put it on. Oops.
What did I leave behind that would have been really nice to have right about now? Peanut butter and chocolate instant breakfast. You can buy peanut butter in Egypt but it's expensive and it's not the kind I like, and I had a jar in the pantry in Ithaca, so why didn't I just bring it?? And I forgot instant breakfast, too. I always bring instant breakfast. Not this time, I guess. Sigh.
What should we buy, even though we will only use it for a few months? This is the hardest category for me, because it goes against my cheapskate instincts. Plus, this decision has to be made immediately, because if we're going to buy it, it should be NOW so we get the most use out of it. This summer, we ended up buying two (2) children's plastic chairs (see 'no chairs in the apartment,' above), a laundry drying rack (more on that in another post), and a small foam mattress for Miriam to sleep on (because there is only one double bed). AND THAT'S IT. Or at least it had better be.
What should we just do without for these few months? This category is too populated to list in great detail. Let's just say that if it doesn't fit in a suitcase, you can bet we're doing without it. And there are a great many things that might fit in a suitcase but didn't make it into ours.
The kids' chairs we bought at a small store for 20 pounds (about $4) each. I thought that was astronomically expensive, and I told the store owner so. He made a big show of punching numbers into his calculator and showing me the result, as if he thought I was questioning his math, not his pricing. It hurts even more because, like I said, we will not be taking our massive $8 investment back to America with us.
Coming soon: the back story of the drying rack, featuring our lack of washing machine; and the mystery of our disappearing stroller - did we end up buying another one?!?