I arrived home from my homeland holidays last week and have finally managed to finish unpacking and organising all my luggage. It was a bit harder this time, as I brought so much extra baggage back with me!
I always carry too much baggage on my travels. Too much clothing; too many in-flight snacks; too much unnecessary carry-on entertainment. And much too much emotional worry and stress related to the conflicts of expat life.
But I seem to carry even more stuff on my return journeys – especially when I am visiting The Homeland! That’s because I use trips to America to stock up on some of my favourite goodies that I can’t get in Scotland.
Indeed, it is not uncommon for me to have to bring an extra bag home with me to carry all the goodies.
On my last trip home, I thought I could avoid that extra bag because I had a flight that allowed me to take two checked bags in the first place. So, I filled the bags with (too much) clothes, gifts for my family, and bubble wrap to fill in the gaps. I felt confident that I would be able to get all the extra goodies into the two bags, as they would take up the space from the gifts and the bubble wrap.
Only on my last trip home, I ended up with far, far more than I would ordinarily bring home. And so, I had to check an extra bag: A third bag for my return journey.
There are both sad and happy reasons for the larger than normal haul, but I won’t go into that today. Instead, I’ll just share with you the kinds of wonderful stuff I brought home with me from my two-month holiday in the homeland.
There was food. Lots of food, including a couple of boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix for a fellow American expat.
There was candy. Lots and lots and lots of candy of different types. Christmas candy; Valentine’s and Easter candy; Washington State candy; and my favourite “every day” candies.
There were homemade goodies from my folks’ and my eldest sister’s kitchens.
There was Mum’s homemade cough syrup and mock cognac.
There were several hand-me-down dresses from my youngest sister.
There was lots of hand-me-down jewellery from my youngest sister, too.
There were even two jewellery boxes of my own, one Paul’s and one mine that we gave each other for our wedding – without knowing we were each buying each other such things!
And there were various bits-and-bobs from my parents’ house (gifts and “stuff” that was going spare).
In between all the goodies and “stuff” I brought home, I tried to stuff as much love and joy into the bags. It was a lot harder to pack for my return journey this time around because my Mum wasn’t there to help (it was always bitter-sweet packing my bags together). And it’s a lot harder unpacking them this time because some of the lovely goodies are the last of my Mum’s “cough syrup” and lots of little things of hers that I’ve brought home with me (some to be used up, and others to be used and kept).
So, as you can see, I really did need to check that third bag for my return journey.
I will return to The Homeland in the spring or summer for my Mum’s funeral, with the knowledge that there will be plenty of extra baggage again – emotional and otherwise. But for now, I will do my best to keep my baggage in check. And I will try not to eat all these goodies too quickly!