The past 3 years I have skipped the song, "I'll be home for Christmas" on my Christmas playlists because it made me cry.
The past week or so I have been playing it on repeat!
I'm chilling at Burger King in the departures terminal of the Shanghai Int. Airport waiting for my flight to board. This is old hat by now. I always leave out of the same gate because I always fly United.
I love airports. Sometimes I dream of quitting all my professor/writer/Chi.nese speaker ambitions and being an airport check-in person. I just love the energy in airports. The anticipation is intoxicating. Everyone is going somewhere. There's stories, emotion, agendas.
So I'm sitting here in my usual perch at Burger King participating in operation: poop and hydrate. It is a ritual before I fly across the world. Water and fiber capsules are my friends. And my skin's friends.
This is my 12th flight between the US and Ch.ina. That's a lot of air time. Therefore, this trip is extremely easy by now.
My time-line is streamlined. I started packing at 2am this morning. Was in bed by 2:30am. Woke up at 8:30, left my dorm at 9:30 (after a scuffle with the dorm workers over adding my monthly electricity). Got a bus to Shanghai at 10:30. Arrived at the airport at 2pm. It's 3:20pm and I board in an hour.
I'm so ready to get the heck out of dodge. America is like a bright shining light in the smoggy and spit-infested world I inhabit.
Packing is super simple also.
I open a bag and think "what do I want to wear?" For this 17 day trip, I chose 3 outfits and one Christmas dress. One bag of dirty laundry to do at home (gym clothes) and then one pair each of boots, tennis shoes, and flats. I bring home no toiletries except my makeup. That's the beautiful thing about America...24 hour Walmart with everything your heart could desire. There's no reason to overpack on this leg of the journey, the world awaits me on the other side. (coming back to Ch.ina is another story).
I pack gifts, chargers, and books that won't be read on the plane, and then wa-lah! Done.
The carry on is trickier. Things I must have every flight are: books, chapstick, eye drops, eye mask, spare underwear (you never know what could happen), contact case, passport, school ID, American credit cards, US and Chin.ese money, small bag of makeup, hand sanitizer, camera, hair ties, mints/gum, socks, neck pillow, wet wipes, Pepto Bismol.
I pack up and do a checkover that includes this checklist: passport? wallet? camera?
If I have all three of those things, I'm good. Anything else is bonus.
And that my friends, is how to pack for an international flight in 30 minutes.
If you'll excuse me, I must concentrate on Operation Hydration! In Ch.ina, you are not allowed to bring any liquids on international flights, which means that I have 2 water bottles to finish in the next 20 minutes.
Cheers. See you on the other side.
America, I'm ready for your Christmas glory.
walk slow. xoxo