Question: Can one typical American family of 5 fit everything they might need to live in another country, minus the stuff they keep leaving in friend’s garages all over the world, in 10 suitcases?
Please discuss and offer suggestions.
I’ll give you a hint. Before you attempt to answer this question, find out if any of the above-mentioned family like to read. Or like Legos. Or like heavy photographic equipment. These will all make a difference.
Me, I want to be a 13 year old boy. NO! I didn’t say that! I would hate it, in most ways. I’m just a little envious of Elliot, who on Tuesday packed one suitcase, got it in under 50 pounds, and is done. It has his board games, his books, a couple cool little items. He doesn’t care if I bring any of his clothes. He will buy a new soccer ball there. Abel’s carrying the GameCube in his carry-on. Life is simple, and he doesn’t quite understand the agony and sweatiness of the grown-up part of the family.
On the other extreme are the avid readers, the Sick Ones, the ones who think they need to bring 6 different books in their new laptop case/tote bag so that they can decide what to read based on their mood at the time, although a practical person could pretty much know ahead of time what sort of mood she was likely to be in at 3 a.m. Also, the Sick One realizes that the more books in the carry-on, the more books make it to Morocco. I’m not stupid. Ilsa, on the other hand, wants to not only bring piles of notebooks with only half the pages blank, but wants to bring the notebooks she made herself out of scrap paper. Also the painting of the horse that she did at art camp, although our recycling is full of horse paintings, and this one is, in my eyes, nothing exceptional. The realities of an international move continue to elude her. And don’t even get me started on the twins’ stuffed animals!
In brighter news, we did manage to get through all those berries. I made pies, Ilsa made muffins, we ate berries on cereal and ice-cream and by the handful, and we powered through. In spite of how I look after helping to eat all those pies, I am ecstatic to report that, according to a borrowed scale, I’m down to 113 pounds. Of course that same scale also tagged me at 168 pounds, but that was earlier. If I’m to be completely transparent here, I must say that the scale never gives the same reading twice, which should make things interesting when we lug our 10 suitcases up to the airline counter to check them all in. But I like living on the edge. My case is either 22 or 67 pounds, and we’re allowed 50 so we should be okay.
We have even gotten someone who has agreed to take all our stuff–couches, TV, beds, dressers, etc. Apparently, a friend of a friend knows someone who just moved here from Australia with 10 suitcases and they want our furniture. I’m not making this up!
The furniture starts going out tomorrow, and Monday we’ll move most suitcases to my friend Heather’s, where we’ll stay for the last couple of weeks. Tuesday we clean (want to help?) and say our last goodbyes to this house and neighbourhood. It’s been fun, but I knew going in that it wasn’t going to last.

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