I arrived in Montreal yesterday morning around 11, after 12 hours of delayed flights and other airport frustrations. The redeye was worth it to spend an extra day with my family, and while running on minimal sleep, I managed to get most of my packing done yesterday afternoon. The only thing left to pack are my toiletries, which will happen this afternoon after I spend a ridiculously long time in a hot steamy shower. It seems reasonable as it will likely be my hot shower for a few months; lukewarm/cold showers are available at ASSA.
Anyways! Back to packing. If you dont care in the slightest what I am bringing, then you should probably stop reading here so you’re not bored to tears.
For starters, the other two students and myself reached out to a few people around Montreal that are involved in health care supplies and received so many donations! (Thank you to everyone!!!) Their generosity is amazing, but also provides some logistical challenges. We received 3 wheelchairs and 1 special needs stroller (all of which are sitting in my studio apartment right now… for anyone who’s come to see me, its as cramped as it sounds) but as S. is flying in from Toronto and meeting us on her connection in Montreal, we most likely wont be able to get her a wheelchair, so that means just E. and I will be taking one over each… leaving me with a stroller and a wheelchair to somehow get to India when I come back, with the help of the organization we’re going with, HandiCare International. I’ve decided that’s a “later me” problem.
We also received a ton of thermoplastic, finger/extremity bandages, strapping materials, wheelchair backs and some other things like handheld urinals, ROHO cushions and a bath seat. To my surprise, the things I’ve been responsible for have somehow managed to fit nicely into my bags. I am taking 2 checked bags, I was really hoping to take 1, but I think I’ll be able to consolidate on the way home (fingers crossed!). This really shouldnt be a surprise, considering anyone who’s ever travelled with me knows I tend to overpack…
In terms of clothes, I think I am more than adequately prepared… I did some good thrifting/shopping with my mom before she went back to work, she was super helpful and I would still be scrambling if it wasnt for her.
Here’s a rough breakdown of everything I’m taking:
Shoes – 2 pairs of canvas flats, running shoes (whether I can actually run in +30 and humidity… thats another story, but they’ll come in handy for hiking too), Birks, 2 pairs of sandals (yes those are Cooper’s teethmarks in my flip flops.. they’ve been well loved). I’m not overly attached to my sandals (besides my Birks) so if they fall apart while I’m gone, that just means more room in my bag for souvenirs!
Scarves – these will come in handy for a variety of reasons; I need to be fairly covered up during my placement and while I’m travelling around ASSA, especially in the rural villages we will be visiting. Im sure I will be coming home with wayyyyy more than the 3 I’m taking.
Long sleeve shirts – thanks Old Navy. These are lightweight and good to layer if we are in the mountains but also light enough (and not sheer!) to wear during work hours.
Tank tops – I wanted wide straps to hide my bra straps for modesty’s sake, and be able to layer under more sheer tops. Im also taking a couple white, thin strap tanks that I didnt bother taking a photo of.
Tights – grey and navy.. I’ll probably add one of my Lulu tights in too.
Dresses – 2 knee length, 3/4 sleeved dresses. I’ll still have to wear tights with them (women dont show their legs in the area I am travelling to) but they are light enough I hopefully wont completely melt. I also bought a traditional Indian top that is a lovely magenta/purple with beautiful beading.
Skirts – 3 max length skirts
Tunic/long tops – 5 tops of various colors; I will need to wear tights or pants with these
Shorter length tops – 5 in various colors/prints; the white and navy have longer sleeves, but they are all very light weight. I’ll pair these with my maxi shirts or pants.
Pants – all 3 of these are really loose, and reach my ankles. I’ll most likely wear one of these on the plane.
Misc – running shorts/sports bra, swimsuit for when we travel to beaches (we’ll have to check, as some places are not open to Western style dress/swimsuits), socks, underwear; travel towel, regular towel, facecloth, hair towel (my friends that I went to Vegas with know how obsessed I am with this on a regular basis, SO handy. There is along story of me searching for mine after a late night that no one is in the mood for I’m sure, right girls?). Rain coat from MEC (this thing has gotten me through everything) and umbrella (I have a red rain coat I love, but to be honest, it would have clashed with my pink umbrella, a lovely gift from my dear friend).
Other things that didnt make the photo cut include: travel adapter, camera and charger, laptop and plug, cellphone and charger, Shantaram and it’s sequel The Mountain Shadow, pens/highliters, waterbottle, travel mug, cards, sweater for the plane (I havent decided which one I want yet…), travel pillow, iPad to watch all the netflix, toilet paper (it’s not a thing there), peanut butter (also hard to come by), granola bars, gum, medication (pain killers, cold meds, nausea medication etc etc.) and toiletries
I *think* that’s everything, and will update this if it’s really something important, otherwise I’ll spare you the agony of reading through this again. You made it!