What I wish I'd brought

10:10 PM

It's been almost a year since my husband and I gave away all of our stuff, packed a couple of suitcases, and caught a plane for Taiwan.

Before we moved, I read a lot of posts on things people wish they'd brought when they moved abroad. Things like crockpots or knives, measuring cups or blankets. I read posts on towels and why you shouldn't trust the ones you buy overseas (um, okay?) or why you really, really, really need to pack Christmas decorations.

Luckily, I ignored most of that garbage advice and packed things I felt were appropriate for our family and our particular needs. Now, as I look back over the last year, there really aren't many things I wish I had brought that I didn't.

To sum up, here's what I brought:
5 everyday outfits per person, including socks, underwear, and shoes.
1 dressy outfit per person.
A handful of books, including homeschool books
Important tax documents (since I'm self-employed)
Flash drives with all of our family photos and my novels on them
2 tablets
2 cell phones
1 travel battery charger
2 laptops
Snacks
Medications
A quilt my mom gave us as an anniversary gift

We ended up with 2 large suitcases, 2 small suitcases, 1 duffel bag, 3 backpacks, 1 purse, and 1 shoulder bag. This was for four people for an undetermined amount of time. We knew we wanted to come for a few years, but weren't sure exactly how many.

Now, I knew a few things about traveling abroad, like I might not be able to get children's Tylenol, which is true. In Taiwan, at least, kids are taught to swallow pills at a very young age, so medication literally goes from liquid for babies to capsules for toddlers. That said, it wasn't a big deal because when my son needed medication he couldn't swallow, the pharmacy ground up the pills for us. Very simple, very easy, very not-a-big-deal.

The only thing, after all this time, I wished I had brought was an extra pair of curvy-girl American-hips flare jeans. That's it. Maybe an extra pair of flip-flops, 'cause I wore mine out really quickly. That's it, though. And BTW, most stores offer international shipping. If you're a Wal-Mart girl, like I am, you can mail stuff to a friend or relative's house and ask them to kindly mail those parcels to you.

A lot of things we use all the time in the U.S. aren't really necessary or needed here. Microwaves, for example. Anything you buy can be heated in the microwave at Family Mart or 7-11, so you don't really need one for your home. And it's cheaper to eat at convenience stores than to buy microwave meals, so you might as well eat there, if saving money is your goal. And while I get the appeal of buying a crockpot, it costs me $9 USD to buy a big, cooked dinner for my family, so I'm not saving any money by cooking at home.

There have been times when I've purchased things online that I couldn't get here, but again, it wasn't really a big deal and didn't make me "wish I had brought" anything. We chose Taiwan because it is modern, and while it's not even close to being like home, it's not so bad that I needed to bring that many items from home.

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