London Day 1/Show 1

Arrived in London. After searching out the many options for taking a bus/train/cab to the city I just randomly chose one which took quite a while to get to my hotel. I ended up with a bus to a major underground station to buy a underground pass, then taking the underground to my hotel. After finally arriving I started to head out to the half price ticket counter to get a ticket for a show that night. It happened that my hotel also offered half price tickets through the TKTS. I was able to buy a ticket without even leaving my hotel. This allowed me to slowly unpack and get settled before heading out for a quick meal and the always crazy search for the theater. I decided to take the underground but there was a problem at one of the train platforms and I ended up walking down Regent Street. I didn’t have much time to make it 4 underground stops so I had to walk quite quickly, however it was great for getting a good outline of where things were.

I ended up getting a ticket to Dreamboats and Petticoats mostly because I wanted to go to the Playhouse Theater. When I was looking at the current shows in London, online I realized I had never heard of this show. I love musicals and love love love to go see them live. One of my favorite trips in recent years was to NYC with my best friend where we went to see multiple shows. In Chicago, I was a constant visitor to the traveling Broadway shows, the ballet, and the symphony. By looking at the information about Dreamboats and Petticoats it was obviously not a new show and was a British classic so I thought it would be a great introduction to London Theater.

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The theater was gorgeous. The show was so much fun. It was cute and campy. It was the British equivalent to Grease. The staging was good and the singers were really talented.  A good first night!

Side Note: only buy discount tickets from TKTS…all others are just like the guy selling tickets on the street…no matter how fancy they look.

Moving around the world with 3 suitcases and a computer bag!

So the crazy (expensive) charges for luggage have become excessive and annoying but when you are moving across the world on a flight they mean the difference between another dress you love and the shampoo that makes your hair not crazy (that they don’t sell in the new country). Disclaimer: I am a “stuff” person…my suitcases are always at the weight limit and I always over pack, thinking of all eventualities…so when packing to live abroad for 2 years what makes the cut?

Packing for me is a puzzle…how much can you fit in and how do you stuff just one more jersey dress into the corner of the case or between the heal and bottom of a pair of shoes. I have nesting suitcases where the smallest fits in the overhead bin. I see packing them as a challenge, fitting everything is almost never an issue but weight always is.

2nd Disclaimer: I was in Sweden in May for one of my cousin’s bröllop (wedding). Since I had a cheap plane ticket from Chicago to Copenhagen with one free checked bag I decided to pack my bag full of things to leave; however, my parents were also attending the wedding and they bought expensive tickets that came with 2 free checked bags…so I shipped 50 lbs of stuff from Chicago to Texas for my parents to bring on the plane. So how much did I really move to Sweden with? Well I left 2 suitcases full of stuff in Sweden at my aunt’s house. I took shoes, clothes I don’t wear often, bottles of bathroom products, and all of my winter coats and clothes.

After the wedding in May I had to move out of my apartment and into a dorm room so I put all of my belongings I was keeping in storage and packed up my 3 suitcases plus about 10 bags of extra stuff and moved into the dorm (purge #1). While in the dorm I sorted mercilessly, clothes that weren’t flattering or I hadn’t worn in a year = gone, medicine that was old/expired = gone, makeup and bathroom products that I could buy in Sweden = gone, shoes that weren’t my favorite = gone (purge #2). Then I started packing to move out of the dorm at the end of October and realized I still had too much “stuff” for it all to fit into my cases so the great purge began (purge #3). I made a huge box of stuff I couldn’t fit, could replace, or didn’t really need, plus some stuff I probably will need at some point but not right away or not often.

After this great purge I got everything to fit into my suitcases but was pretty sure they were all over weight. Of my nesting suitcases, the largest case is 20 lbs with almost nothing in it so keeping it under the 50 lb normal limit means leaving it partially empty. Full of just clothes this case is easily 60+ lbs. When I began weighing my cases after getting all of my stuff to fit in them the largest was 83+ lbs, the middle one was 50 lbs exactly (score) and the small was 38 lbs (but I have lifted much heavier cases into the overhead bin. Now to get the cases down to weight was a tricky business…what more wasn’t really necessary (purge #4)? Things like my cutting board that I have had since my dorm room in college that I had kept to use in the dorm had to go. That one extra dress I don’t really need = gone. Finally after much juggling I got the cases down to 70, 50, and 30+.

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I got one free case up to 50 lbs and then would have to pay for the second checked case and the extra 20 lbs of weight. All packed! Nalle (in the picture) and I are ready to move to SWEDEN!