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Packing February 26, 2009

Posted by jorkat in Toronto.

img_5400This was by far the most stressful part of planning this entire trip. Everyone kept asking if we were excited or nervous and I wasn’t really feeling either. Don’t get me wrong, I was looking forward to this, but excitement didn’t really hit until we walked off the plane and realized where we were. I would describe the last week or so as similar to the build-up to our wedding. You’ve been thinking about, talking about and planning something for so long, that as it gets real close, you just want to get on with it. And once it gets there, it’s everything you expected and more.

Anyway, back to packing. Uncharacteristically, I didn’t start packing at all until Sunday (We left on Monday night). Partially because I didn’t want all my stuff cramped in a suitcase/backpack for more than 3 days, but mostly because I knew it was going to be tough. I’ve never been away from home for more than a few weeks. I’ve been away at camp for the entire summer but we had breaks every few weeks so I could go home if I needed something. This was a whole new ballgame. What do you pack when you’re moving to the other side of the world for a year and then travelling for 3 months afterwards in a series of countries with varying climates? Keep in mind that the place we were moving into was fully furnished so all we really needed to bring was clothes, toiletries and personal effects. This shouldn’t have been that hard.

We also had to consider the weight and luggage restrictions of the airlines but we weren’t all that concerned about it as we both had one large backpack and a large suitcase each and didn’t anticipate coming anywhere near the weight limit with just clothes and what not. Thanks to Katie’s experience in Australia for a year, we were very careful not to bring anything but necessities. If there was a chance that we wouldn’t wear it or use it, leave it behind. We recognized that it was likely that we would realize at some point that we should have brought something that we hadn’t or vice versa, but overall I thought we were pretty good. The hardest omissions for me were my snowboard pants (which I wear everywhere in the winter) and obviously my golf clubs and hockey stick (Sorry Mullin, couldn’t do it). I did manage to include my rollerblades and and football which I know I won’t regret bringing, but outside of that I’m pretty happy with the contents of what I had laid out. Now I just had to get it on the backpack and suitcase. Katie had starting packing well before I did and it didn’t look promising at first so I was that much more leary of the task ahead. She wasn’t able to fit her rollerblades although I suspect her collection of feminine hygiene products may have played a role.

I can’t believe I’ve written this much about packing. It’s 7:30am and we’ve been awake for a few hours as our bodies adjust to the time change. Oh, and we were awoken by some sort of S&M orgy in the room above us. For those of you who haven’t heard, we currently reside in a dingy hotel that caters to prostitutes and their clientele. Our room is smaller than the guest room in our old condo and they were nice enough to provide condoms and Korean porn free of charge. But this is a topic for a whole other post. Let’s get back to packing! Buckle up.

img_54031 As you can see from the picture, we managed to get everything into our luggage, but the suitcases were ridiculously heavy. In retrospect, the only mistake we made was bringing too many books as we clearly could have bought some of them here, but I was pretty sure that they wouldn’t have many of the obscure sports titles that I had set aside and was looking forward to reading this year. We came to grips with the fact that we would likely have to pay a charge the excessive weight, but that it wouldn’t be exorbitant and we had only packed the bare essentials.

Quick tangent. Katie and I had talked recently about how we were going to meet new friends and that some of them could develop into lifelong friendships. We also recognized that we were going to meet some toolboxes but whatever, hopefully they would be mildly entertaining and at least we’d have someone to make fun of. Kinda like Sub.

So we’re standing in line at Pearson airport getting ready to check it when Ron (father-in-law) starts chatting with the couple behind us and their son who is flying to Korea to teach english for a year as well. We exchanged introductions and I immediately notice that he’s  at least 6’5″, he’s wearing a Titleist hat and has a Leafs pin on the lapel of his jacket. Needless to say, he had me at hello. We ended up spending the entire trip with him, including the 5- hour layover in Chicago and agreed to keep in touch and hang out. He’s a little bit further north in Seoul but has friends currently living in the same region as us, so we’ll definetly be seeing some more of Jeff Hamilton (or as we call him, Zeff)

While discussing our respective trips with Zeff and his family they pointed out that the charge for a third bag was much less than the charge for an overweight one. They had done the research and although they got different answers from different people at United Airlines, it appeard to make more sense to have a third bag. They were right. Both of our backpacks weighed just under 50 pounds, so no penalty there. However, both of our suitcases tipped the scales at a whopping 95+ pounds and we were informed that the penalty for baggage in this weight category was $350 USD…per bag. After the initial shock subsided, we decided that it made more sense to buy another bag and redistribute the weight accordingly and simply pay the third bag charge of only $150 USD. This still probably sounds excessive to some of you but when $700 USD is the alternative, it was no brainer. I quickly rushed to a wildly overpriced luggage store and purchased a Team Canada duffle bag on wheels that was 2/3 the size of a regular bag and doled out a cool $75 for a bag that I could have bought at National Sports for $19.99. To make a long story short, we quickly re-arranged our carefully packed suitcases and had them re-weighed. All three of them were between 65-70 lbs. We were good to go.

Stay tuned for our next post about our arrival in Seoul and meeting Mr. Kang.

And if anyone can tell me why Chicago O’Hare has a terminal 1, 2, 3 & 5 but no number 4 (?), we’d love to hear from you.


1. Mom - February 26, 2009

Good to hear from you…… I checked the blog an hour ago and nothing! Then a novel! Love it!
So happy you got there safe and sound…….just about through Day 1 without you. Yeah!

Love you both.

Dad - February 26, 2009

Great story so far, but most of it I was there for, so no big news YET.
Can’t wait to hear how all your luggage fit in ONE Hyundai taxi with three people!! Speaking of Mr Chang….
Got a good laugh from Kate’s “hooker hotel” etc. Had the people around me at work laughing.
Love ya & miss ya!!

2. kine - February 26, 2009

can’t believe you wrote a whole book about packing! 🙂
i am glad you arrived safe. remember to write down the name of the hotel, so we can stay there when we come for a visit. love

3. Nanners - February 26, 2009

How did both of your thin legs uphold those back packs?

4. Kelly Taylor - February 26, 2009

Loved the story of Packing. I will keep these packing tips in mind when I start packing for Washington. Glad you all are safe and sound. Can’t wait for the next post

Love you both

5. Katie Kelly - February 26, 2009

You had me at hello had me in stitches for at least 5 minutes…you know I love your humour!! Lovin’ the blog so keep it coming for sure! I hope you have amazing adventures and make sure to stay safe!

Oh…and about the number 4…it’s bad luck….c’mon…you grew up in Scarborough…are you already forgetting your roots???

6. Sub - February 26, 2009

10 bucks you never hear from Zeff again. Me on the other hand…

7. Dyson - February 27, 2009

You got enough shoes there pretty boy?

Nice photoshop work on the people holding the two of you up with those gigantic bags on your back. There is no way in h$ll the skinny two of you will be able to take two steps with those on your back.

Sub – what are you going to have for lunch today?

8. Sub - February 27, 2009

Eating it right now actually. Some great tofu curry Jules made last night, thanks jules! Let’s take a vote on how many times p/ week Jorkat is going to average eating at Quizno’s. I say 2.

9. Dyson - February 27, 2009

Sub how can you eat so early in the morning? In non-Korea-world it is 10:30 in the morning.

Good thing Jorkat went all the way around the world to find the best Quizno’s on the planet. Quite the food connoisseurs. I say 3.

Jules get to work today? Didn’t have to fix the plumbing again I hope. It’s tough being Jules.

10. Mulqueen - February 27, 2009

Curry tofu is delicious, keep it up Sub. I will be having some leftover potato and lentil stew for lunch.

Jorkat, I know we’re all concerned the financial crisis but it probably wasn’t necessary to bring all those heavy gold bars in your luggage.

Happy Kimchi, keep those updates rolling.

11. Mel - February 27, 2009

Sorry guys…
That was me in the next room, I thought when I put the sock in my mouth that it would keep the noise down… I’ll try harder tonight… If you aren’t using those condoms and porn mags can I stop by later to borrow them for a little while?

Smooches xoxox

P.S. Miss you Ronny my love!

12. Sub - February 27, 2009

Agreed MM. I am happy to see that Jordan packed the Liar’s Poker though, an essential read! is that your copy Brook?

13. Dyson - February 27, 2009

I actually just finished Blind Side by Michael Lewis. What a great book. I am sure Jordan has 3+ copies in his bag. You can never have too many books.

Hi Josh!

14. Erin - February 27, 2009

Yeah the porn there sucks… get ready to watch women shriek while quite obviously having a very bad time… hey wait a minute… not so different I guess..

15. Corrina & Matthew - February 28, 2009

The story of meeting Zeth and “he had me at hello” had Matthew and I laughing until we cried. I read the entire entry out loud while Liam played at our feet. We could just picture your face!

16. Danielle - March 6, 2009

Great story so far, I can’t wait for the next chapter. Perhaps you should consider being a writer when you return home Jordan if the teaching thing doesn’t work out! I only hope that you have a nice closet to hang all those clothes you brought with you as I know how you like to be organized. I do have to ask, did you happen to pick up a few of those magazines lying around the hotel for some easy reading while on your adventure? It didn’t look like you had enough to read over the next 15 months…..Glad to hear you guys are settling in,and hope the teaching is going well.
Take care of each other, miss you guys….


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