Two months ago my family packed our bags (all 8 of them) and headed for an overseas stay, a six month overseas stay in our home country of Australia. Now that a little time has passed, and the dust has settled in the pack rooms of my parent's house where we are living, I've learned a few things about what to pack when heading overseas with kids for so, so long.
Here are a few of the things I'm glad I brought:
1. My daughter's favorite blankie. It seems strange to bring a blanket overseas, but the amount of comfort this blanket gives our two-year-old is crazy. Being in a new house, heading to be babysat by a relative she barely knows, all of it is made just that little bit easier by taking her blankie along.
2. Diapers. The price of disposable diapers in the US is about half the price of diapers in Australia. And we have a diaper-wearing two-year-old. We filled an entire suitcase with diapers, and saved over $100! On the way home, I'll fill that suitcase with Christmas presents from friends and family.
3. A couple of Christmas presents. LEGO, Thomas trains, Play-Doh, all of it in Australia is twice the cost of the same in the States. I brought two small presents for each child, and even though Christmas is a fair way away, I'm already glad I brought these to cut back our Christmas spending.
Here are a few things I wish I'd thought to bring:
1. A poster (or something else they love) from their room. The kids talk often about how they miss their room. A poster really wouldn't have taken up too much space in the luggage when rolled, and it would have made a big impact on making their new, temporary room seem like home.
2. A few favorite foods. When I am really homesick for Australia, there's nothing that lifts my spirits like a cup of Aussie tea, or a Tim-Tam. When I see the kids homesick for the country they have mostly known, I wish I could surprise them with box brownies, or some seriously bad mac and cheese.
3. More of their almost worn-out clothes. When preparing to come, I was disgusted at the thought of my kids meeting their relatives in shabby worn out shorts and t-shirts. So I packed a whole lot of dresses and new clothes. But now that I'm here, I realize life in Australia is much like it is in the US - a whole lot of messy play. If only I could go back, I would pack those 5 stained t-shirts after all... and simply throw them out before heading back home.
Has your family ever lived overseas for a period of time? What are you glad you took along or regret not bringing?