Answering the question “Where are you from?” is never easy for me. My family moved around a lot growing up and along the way I learned some critical life skills.
My ability to meet new people and form solid connections even if only for a moment comes (in part) from all the moves we made. But the more important skill I’ve learned is how to pack up my life and ship out.
With all the moves my family made we got pretty good at moving-truck Tetris. At rearranging things to make them fit with no gaps – be it in the car (stuffing with lose towels and other odds & ends) or in a suitcase itself (why leave shoes empty when you can stuff sucks inside them).
This skill has become so engrained in me that yesterday when I found out that my lease ended not on the 31st of the month, but 4 days before – while I’m en route from Tokyo to Montreal – My only concern was where to store my stuff. I knew that given 3-4 hours tops I could clean out my home, pack everything up tight, and be ready to move it somewhere.
I found that place to store my stuff this morning and as a result came home from a long day of work, made some dinner and unpacked the suitcase ‘d already made up for my upcoming trip. Before I had the luxury of using whatever suitcase I wanted. Now I had to maximize space on both my trip and my move.
Now, inside this small backpack, is everything I need for the beaches of Barcelona with a classmate’s last trip before his wedding; the humid climate of Japan including cold-weather gear, a sleeping bag, and hiking shoes for Mt. Fuji; and Montreal bachelor-party attire. All inside this – albeit overstuffed – backpack.
The rest of my belongings, from art, to books, to clothes, to tech, to fencing gear, to chocolate chips, to 9 suits/blazers all are in 1 carry-on roller, 1 school backpack, 1 laptop bag, 1 fencing bag, 1 duffel, and 1 backpacking backpack and 3 garment bags. All packed up in under 3 hours. It would have been done sooner had my big giant roller-bag not broken both zippers needed to close it as I was finishing up causing me to repack everything without that bag.
The only things not packed, are my clothes for tomorrow and Friday, and the laptop I’m writing this blog post on. It may not be as important a skill as cooking or making a perfect powerpoint deck, but it is a critical life skill that I’ve been taught again and again and again.