Packing is proving to be easier than expected. Since I can only take 100 lbs of luggage, I know I can only bring the essentials. This means no ‘what if’s or ‘but I love this shirt’. No, I can only take the practical and the essential. Not to mention all the clothes I take will be ruthlessly hand washed until they are shreds of fabric. So anything I want to have in 2014 when I return to the states, should not come to Ukraine with me.

The hardest part of packing is finding a combination of clothes that are both professional and compatible with sub-zero temperatures. The teaching dress code is professional, but most schools are not heated well. Therefore, all my dress clothes are big enough to fit a layer or two of long underwear beneath them. Layering is key.

Another difficult task is gathering photographs and memories to bring. I’ve decided to make an online scrapbook of my life to show curious Ukrainians as well as a handful of prints to hang in my room. The scrapbook is a great (and lightweight) way to organize photos of everything in my life from a family tree to my house and school.

One month to go!