Okay, so, late November 2010. I had been living in Glasgow, Scotland for approximately 18 months, and now my degree (and my student loans) were over. It was time to go home.
You never think of how complicated it is to move out of a place when you’re leaving the entire country the next day. There’s no “Oh, I’ll come back tomorrow to finish cleaning once I’ve got all my stuff out.” You leave. The country.
Flight leaves at 6:00am from Glasgow, which means I need to be at the airport right when it opens at 5am (yes, the airport in Glasgow closes for the night – very strange), which means I need to get a taxi at about 4:30am, which means I need to start moving all of my shit downstairs at about 3:30am, which means I’m just not going to sleep. Will spend day before cleaning, emptying fridge, etc. Will get takeaway dinner so as to be able to throw everything away at the end of the night. Will stay up all night, so as to be GUARANTEED to sleep on the plane.*
And I live alone, so no one’s gonna help me haul my suitcases down five flights of stairs, and I’ll have to do it at 3am, so definitely no one’s gonna help.
SIDENOTE: Nothing like moving internationally to make you acutely aware of how single you are. This also goes for reading 50 Shades of Grey.
So here’s the thing: I had WAY too much stuff. For some reason, when I moved to Scotland, I thought it would be a great idea to take 98.2%** of my wardrobe, too many pairs of shoes (like, high heels? Really? In a city where I’d be walking a couple miles – at least – a day?), and a ton of books (what the hell was I thinking?!). Then I lived in Scotland for 18 months, where there’s a lot of cute clothing stores, really cheap books, and shoe stores that would give any girly girl (not how I would describe myself until it comes to shoes) heart palpitations. Oh, and also I did a master’s degree or whatever, so I had a lot of paper to bring back with me.
So I think I had five suitcases, plus my purse, plus my laptop bag. Which is insane. And that’s after getting rid of a TON of stuff, giving away books, DVDs, etc. to friends from the city. Ridiculous. I should be ashamed of myself. Instead I’m telling you about it so that you can judge me.
Never mind about all of the cleaning I had to do: making sure all the rubbish was taken outside, all the dishes were clean, the bed linens were off, etc., just the logistics of getting my shit downstairs were complex. I knew it was going to be a sweaty process, but I also knew that I couldn’t just leave all my stuff at the front door of the flat and then go upstairs to get showered and dressed. I’d get robbed. So I had to do it the other way around.
Guys, I was sweating by the time I was on my second trip up and down the five flights of stairs with over-sized, overweight luggage. I was dripping by the time I got the last bag down and had to go back upstairs to lock my flat up and throw the keys through the mail slot for my landlord to gather the following morning. And then I got back downstairs – FINALLY – and breathed a sigh of relief. Done.
SO NOT DONE.
For some reason, I didn’t account for the fact that I would also have to carry my bags from my door into a taxi (thanks for barely helping me, guy!), from the taxi into the airport (I had TWO full luggage carts that I had to push simultaneously while holding my purse and laptop AND it was pouring rain and I kept veering off into mud puddles), and from the luggage carts onto the airport conveyor belt (thanks, desk lady!!!! FOR NOTHING!). I was standing in line for security with a giant wet mark on my back, panting and sweating like a nervous first-time criminal who had just gotten away with something huge. (And we all know I was no first timer, because I stole a LOT of bubblegum when I was in grade 3…)
I don’t know if I’ve ever wanted a shower so badly in my life. And I had to wait like, 24 hours for one.***
So, what did I learn on that day?
(a) YOU DON’T NEED SO MUCH SHIT. (You know when you go away for a weekend and you pack like, four outfits and then you basically wear one with a few minor changes for the whole weekend because it’s most comfortable? Yeah, that.)
(b) YOU WILL NOT SLEEP ON THE PLANE. (Well, I will not, because apparently I have a superpower or something and it’s just working against me until I figure out how to use it for good.)
(c) YOU SHOULD ONLY MOVE INTERNATIONALLY A COUPLE TIMES IN LIFE. (Just…so…much…work.)***
(d) YOU SHOULD STICK TO NOT CAMPING. (You, meaning me, because I like showers, smelling like delicious body wash, and not being anywhere near bugs.)
P.S. Still wouldn’t trade my time in Scotland for the world! And would still move back if I had the opportunity and finances!
*Didn’t sleep AT ALL. Of course. I’m STILL tired, two years later.
***FIRST WORLD PROBLEM ALERT.
****Travel? Do it. Do it all the time. But actually moving? Ugh.