Monday, January 24, 2011

Packing up my Ziplocks and Heading Home

I'm going home in a couple of days and packing is in full motion.  All bags and belongings are downstairs and organized.

You see, when you are an expat, you have a tendency to stock up when you visit home. I have a list a mile long of random and very important items I have to bring back to Rio. # 1 on the list is taco and fajita seasoning packets.

Oh yes, you heard me right!  Those McCormick 89 cent wannabe Mexican food seasoning packets are gold for this expat American.  It makes it possible to make my very own medium quality tex-mex in the privacy of my own home.  This is much better than paying a fortune to get it outside the house. Hell, I even make my own semi sour-cream now.

Along with seasoning packets, I bring good peanut butter, licorice, lotions/potions, and the kitchen sink. Ok, the last one is a big of an exaggeration, but I did bring a facet back with me once.

Now add a half dozen items I found in the Target $1 isle, I'm a sucker for a deal.

You see, I'm a compulsive packer. If there's an empty spot, I must fill it.  I'm even bringing back tupperwear.  Tupperwear!

In my defense, it's the coolest freaking tupperwear ever. The lids snap to the bottom so you don't have to search around for them in your cabinet! Very practical, if I do say so myself.

Oh my goodness, I just turned into my Mother. Right now, at this very moment. But that's another post...

So here is your goal, fit it all in the alloted suitcases!  Don't forget the Christmas toys from Santa!

And GO

Really, it's not as bad as you think. You get very creative with your space. It's surprising how many ziplock bags (out of the box) can be stuffed into a Fisher Price toy.  You'll be covered for the year!

In reality, the problem is not the packing, it's customs.  No, not that they'll stop you. Brazilians normally bring in a stupidly large amount of stuff from the US.  I'm worried about physically getting there.

I have five 70 kilos (154lbs) suitcases to get from the carousel to the professional bag perusers.  Even with the "guys" that help out with bags in Rio de Janeiro's international airport, that's a feat.  Let us not forget that my Mother has 2 of her own.  So that's 7 bags of Christmas toys, Mexican seasoning packets, and ziplock baggies.

Eventually we'll get there, into the car(s), and back home.  Then the problem will switch from how to pack it to where to put it all! Whatever, I'll cross that beach when I come to it. 


  1. Good luck. Don't pull a muscle in the airport!

    Our friends have been very good to us. We have quart size, gallon size, sandwich size, double zipper freezer storage size -- Ziplock bags that should last over a year. (And they make lovely leave-behind gifts when we go to parties. Bring the cookies in a ziplock, then see that same ziplock bag when you visit again in 6 months.)

    Safe travels.

  2. taco, enchilada and fajita spice mixes are always on my list too!

  3. Just found your blog through twitter (I just started following you @snackygirl). Love the subject matter...totally interesting. Stop by sometime

  4. Welcome Hungri! Thanks for the visit! I'll come around your way very soon.

    Exactly Jim and Corinne

  5. It's so similar to when I go back home from Switzerland - We get peanut butter, ranch dressing packets, oreos and i should buy taco things because they are so expensive here!

  6. Some day I'll have to post a photo of my Tupperware-lined cabinets. BIG-as in HUUUGE- fan of the modular mates and they made moving around so much easier over the years. Am also quite the ziplock bag whore when it comes to traveling. They are hard to find in Italy, too, but they exist. The same with peanut butter - sometimes you just gotta have it. Happy trails back to Rio!

  7. I started stuffing zip lock bags in my can never have enough :)

  8. HAHA im heading to the US soon and a faucet is actually on my list. And a shower head and a toilet seat. I shared my list of items with a few american friends to remind them how lucky they are not to have to spend over 60$ on a decent toilet seat that doesn't stick to their butt and try to go with them when they stand up! Oh yea and Im trying for a ceiling fan too... thank goodness I dont have kids yet! Good luck!

  9. Lovin' this! I know this routine so well and it's so great that your Mom is going to be with you to help, otherwise, like you said, upon arrival in Rio, that's a whole lot of heavily stacked carts and kids to deal with! I think the MOST stressful thing is waiting for ALL of your bags to come around the baggage carousel at GIG. Seriously, after all of the very calculated shopping, detailed packing, weighing and repacking, schlepping...I find myself mentally chanting "please come, please come, don't be lost"...It's that last thing and once I have the bags, then I can truly relax, be enveloped by the heat and humidity and be super-happy to be home again, with lots of loot! Boa viagem e boa sorte! = )

  10. Good luck!!! Very cool your mom is going with you! Whew, that would be even more stressful without her!

  11. Rachel, Jana,

    Do you know if the faucets or shower heads will fit? Aren't the pipes all different sizes?
    Please let me know. These are very expensive items in Brazil and it would probably be cool to be able to bring them from the US.
    The only food item I think I would really want to bring is impossible, BLOOD ORANGE SORBET by the NEW YORK company CIO BELLA :(



  12. I'm laughing because anytime I go back to home I always return with an empty suitcase full of the most random items. It's the little things we miss (like Ranch dressing seasoning packets)

  13. OMG I brought tupperware back last time too. And seasoning packets... and ziplocks... ok I will try and finish catching up soon!

  14. Gil and Ray, It can fit if you get the right one. You have to ask which kind of connection they have. I have brought both :)