The dilemma of packing for a trip

I have procrastinated too long. My suitcases are waiting to be packed, a task I need to do in preparation for my return trip to the US a week from now. The urgency of the chore is to make sure my heavy items purchased for pasalubongs (gifts to family members, friends upon arrival) can be accommodated within the weight restriction: 50 lbs. (or 30 kilos) for each of two check-in luggage. By the looks of it, I may have some excess weight. Now the question is – which do I leave behind? Perhaps, some clothes? Perhaps, some candies? Perhaps, some gifts from relatives here?

Now, see my dilemma? It’s best to procrastinate. I don’t need to make the decision now. But every “now” turns to a yesterday. I’m bushed, just thinking about this. Too much pressure … I’d rather nap over this.

OK, I’m back up. I see my suitcases gaping for action, and lots of big and tiny bags waiting to be loaded. All right, the pasalubongs are important – pili nut candies that I can’t find in California. They go at the bottom, distributed to both luggage. The gift blouses – I can lay them anywhere … or maybe, wear layers to lighten the weight for check-in. The heavy and lovely ethnic souvenirs … especially the mother of pearl caviar spoons and plates — Ah, they’re precious, more than the candies. Wait, I need to wrap the fragile pieces in towels or clothes … they go in the middle. The wooden carvings and tribal trinkets? Hmmm … leave them out for last. No, no – my nephew purposely went to Baguio to purchase them for my son and daughter and their families. OK, I’ll take out the pili nut candies and re-distribute their weight later.

I know, I’ll leave behind my toiletries to accommodate more stuff from the Philippines. The toiletries can be replaced when I get back to CA. What about some clothes, can I leave some behind, too? I guess, they’re replaceable, too. My shoes? Those, too, except for my favorite rubber slippers I use when my knees ache. Definitely not my meds! Can’t leave them behind. And no, no, no! Can’t wrap up my favorite Lapid’s chicharron with laman (meat) and slip it in – abandon that thought! And hey, I console myself – at least this time and this packing, I didn’t have to grapple with the Tilamook cheese, the spam, Vienna sausages, corn beef and chocolates as pasalubongs for the Philippines.

So finally, I look at my two suitcases, and realize, the contents are mostly pasalubongs, souvenir and gift items, and lots of pili nut candies. Where are my clothes? Should I schedule a shopping spree when I get back to Palo Alto? Perhaps, that’s all I wanted in my subconscious – a new wardrobe for the new year. Hmmm … and I blame packing all these stuff, a camouflage for what I secretly want … shopping back home for the new year!

But didn’t I tell relatives, I hate shopping? Worse – I hate packing more.

Linda P. Jacob