Prepping for Home Leave #2 – Steps for a Successful Journey

I can’t believe its been 3 months already!  On Saturday the 10th of November, I will make my second trip back to the US for home leave.  While the excitement of going home is certainly there – my husband, dog, own bed, real diet coke – it is not as easy as you think to pack.  Its a 2 week trip with a limit of 2 bags and 2 carry-ons, different weather, and I have presents.  Prep for Home Leave #1 was a disaster.

Here’s my plan for the week:

1.  Layout the loot.  August gift giving was about Hello Kitty, the Olympics and my nieces.  It was their first trip to Colorado and I was so excited to share my experiences with them. Hello Kitty is in! How lucky was I!   Pretty much everyone else was left out from presents.  This time, it’s a little more balanced.  Things for my husband, parents and me.  I need to remember to leave room for the Tokyo Bananas at the airport.  That was a squooshing scene in the store.

2.  Dry Cleaning.  Ok, this is where I missed in August.  I was in a very nice hotel and had planned to get all of my dry cleaning done before I went home because I had a 5 day stop in Atlanta for work.  Unfortunately, people were in from France that week and [insert excuses here], it didn’t get done.  So the Friday before my Saturday flight, I had my dry cleaning picked up at 7am to be returned at 5pm.  Only I forgot about it in the closet.  I was on my way out the door – literally – and they told me dry cleaning was found.  I had no room so I grabbed 2 pairs of pants and left the rest with them.  There was a major squooshing scene in the lobby.  This time, dry cleaning to be dropped off Saturday night and back on Tuesday.

3. Laundry.  Last time, all of my belongings had to travel with me.  This time I have a flat so not as much of a problem.  In fact, the laundry is underway with no plans of a refresh.  The air drying process just takes too long and really don’t want musty clothes when I land.  [I know I’m using the word “flat”.  My place is expensive and small and using “flat” makes me feel more like an expat than “apartment”.]

4. Arrange for travel to the airport.  Waiting for my luggage cart from the room and shoving my pants in my bag in the lobby sucked up too much time.  I was later than I had planned and very frazzled.  There was NO WAY I was going to miss my flight.  I still hadn’t mastered any train travel successfully, so I took a cab – a $400 2 hour cab rideNeedless to say, that did not go over well.  I’m booking a bus from the YCAT station to Narita tomorrow.

5. Buy movies on iTunes.  If there’s 1 thing that I cherish about Leg 2 (Aug-Nov), its my pocket wi-fi.  [future blog topic because it was hard-earned].  This modern miracle of Japan goodness will allow me to see some movies.  Of course, said pocket wi-fi will not work on the other end of the flight but at least I will be in the US and can watch TV.

Freedom in your pocket.

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