The worst part about a long trip is the packing of the suitcases. But short trips are no easier to pack for. Those involve the equally gargantuan task of deciding which clothes and shoes to leave behind.
I finally took out two of the larger suitcases I have sitting in my coat closet. Besides 6 suitcases, the closet also holds clothes, fall boots, winter boots, rain boots, 7-8 blankets that have been tucked away now that the mercury’s soaring, nice paper bags I’ve been given by stores I love, umbrellas, empty shoe boxes (to hold shoes I might need to put away depending on which season it is)…and now I’m wondering how it manages to fit all these things. This one-bedroom apartment is growing increasingly smaller and I need to get out of here soon and find myself a bigger space. I’m not a minimalist and I’m not ashamed of it. Although I’m not proud of it either.
I also don’t pack light. Ever. Well, unless I’m just going to see my parents for a weekend, in which case it really doesn’t matter what I wear, what shoes I have, etc. New Jersey hasn’t proved to be a very exciting place. For me, that is. Jersey-Shoreans would beg to differ, I’m sure.
So I took out these two suitcases and fit one into the other. I know I’ll do a fair bit of shopping there (for myself and gifts for some wonderful people here) and will definitely need another suitcase when returning. And I refuse to come back with a new suitcase. I have more than enough of them and no space to store any more. And this is when my favourite suitcase is lying in my parents’ house in NJ. If anything, that one’s going to come home before a new one does.
The suitcase on the inside will have all the “stuff” I’m taking with me. But I don’t know what to pack. I might be able to make decisions with respect to the clothes, but what about the shoes? Which ones do I take? Which ones will survive the monsoon? I can’t have any of them ruined. Even in Toronto I decide which shoes to wear based on the hourly weather report, I debate whether I should or shouldn’t take a chance with leather when there’s a 20% chance of rain, going up to 30% in a few hours. (The other day, we had a thunderstorm when there was a 10% chance of precipitation.) But being in the middle of the monsoon means it rains almost all the time! Do you see how perplexing it is for me to pack for this trip?
And then the interview itself, which is the main purpose of said trip. At the US Consulate in Mumbai, I don’t want them to see the tattoo on my arm and make snap judgements. I know they’re not supposed to, but what goes on in a person’s mind is something you can’t really help. What if the immigration officer is prejudiced against tattooed girls and grills me harder than he would otherwise? And I can’t risk the immigration not being approved. I’ll wear something full-sleeved. Maybe just a basic, classic outfit, like blue jeans with a white shirt. And shoes? Something understated, that’s for sure. Maybe just regular black, pointy-toed heels. Or antique-blue pumps with a shorter heel and an almond-shaped toe? I don’t know. Tough decisions lie ahead.
The interview being in Mumbai (where the yucky monsoon is on in full swing) means that I’ll get to catch up with some old, old friends whom I haven’t seen in ages. (One is my best friend from boarding school! The last time I saw her was in 2003, I think.) While getting drenched, no doubt. The rest of my time will be spent in New Delhi where, besides other people I love, my favourite aunt (in the whole wide world) resides. Two weeks in Mumbai, two weeks in New Delhi, and at least 5 days of travel.
Like I did with my trip to Rome, I want to do my best to write about the experience, adventures, stories, etc. Unless I am completely unenamoured, in which case I will try to write about that. Either way, unlike Rome it probably won’t end up being a daily thing because, trust me, some days I’m just going to stay in and sulk and complain about either the constant rain or the scorching heat. I’m going to the country I grew up in so I won’t be able to write from the perspective of an outsider. But it won’t be that of an insider either. However, it will be interesting. I think I can promise that bit.
I have exactly two weeks to prepare for it. I won’t write about the packing though. It’ll be mostly along the lines of “Hmmmm, should I take red shoes or green shoes or both or neither, or should I buy some there instead?” And no one deserves to be subjected to that.