Hey y'all!

Welcome to SwansonPonATime! We are a young missionary couple in Peru, and this is our space to share our journey with you! ...Enjoy! 

10 Packing Hacks for Moving Overseas!

10 Packing Hacks for Moving Overseas!

Hola from Peru!! 

We have been in Peru for 4 days now and we've already fallen in love with this country and the people. Your prayers are felt and God has already provided in amazing ways. We will be in Lima for the next couple of days, then we head to Cusco where we will be living with a Peruvian family for a month while we attend language school. At language school I, Devyn, will be continuing to learn Spanish, while Julian will learn Quechua, the indigenous language. 

Anyways, as we were preparing to move to Peru and talking with people about moving to another country, we found that almost everyone was curious to know exactly HOW we were going to pack for our move. So before we dove into how things are going here in Peru, we thought we'd share with y'all 10 hacks that we discovered in packing to move overseas... Enjoy! 

1. Start Packing EARLY & Do it in Stages. 

Packing is overwhelming (I will be saying that a lot in this blog haha) and if you are like most of us, you have a lot of stuff, so leaving it all for the last minute will stress you out more. You may forget things or possibly take too much. Julian and I started about 3 months in advance by getting rid of clothes and things we didn't need here and there (so many trips to Goodwill). And we also started buying trunks early because they can get pretty pricey so spreading that out helps. I also started posting ads early on Facebook to sell our furniture and from that we had friends buy a lot of our stuff in advance to pick it up when we were ready to move. Also making a list of everything that is in each trunk is something Julian and I forgot to do but comes in handy when dealing with customs. 


2. Take Pictures of Your Home 

This is really for the memories. The apartment we moved out was our first home together and it meant a lot to us. So the pictures are just for us to remember and maybe show our future family one day, to know where it all began. 

3. Packing Cubes!! 

I have been an advocate for packing cubes since my trip to El Salvador a year ago. On that trip, I could only take a carry on with me and was able to fit 2 weeks worth of clothes and toiletries!!! Needless to say we bought as many of them as we could and were able to get most of my clothes into one suitcase. I won't lie, though packing cubes are great, packing all my clothes and trying to make them all fit and not go over the 50-lb limit was EXTREMELY STRESSFUL and caused me many breakdowns haha (just being honest).


4. Find Someone Who Lives/Has Lived Where You Are Going & Ask Them ANY & ALL Questions.

This is something a lot of other people where telling us to do and honestly we didn't think it was that important... at first. But a few months before leaving and becoming overwhelmed by not knowing what to pack we reached out to another doctor named Ari, who is actually currently living in the apartment we will be moving into. She has truly been a God-send. I emailed Ari at least 3 times a week until we moved here. I asked her anything to everything: from the size of the kitchen shelves to whether we needed to bring rain boots. 

5. Throw a Packing Party! 

Invite someone over who is a master at Tetris, who has no problem telling you "you don't need that", and who can handle you being stressed out. Our friend Sandra was another God-send for us!! She came over (ON HER DAY OFF) and spent the whole day, going through our stuff, making the calls we couldn't make on what we should bring, donate, or store. She helped us pack everything in our trunks and helped make it all fit without being over 50 lbs. THANK YOU SANDRA!!! 

6. Learn to Let Go...

At the end of the day you are moving overseas and cannot take everything with you and will have to let go of a lot... A LOT of your stuff. For me it was shoes, for Julian... he had this crazy thing about keeping EVERY pen he owned since college. Hahha. Why idk, but with Sandra's help Julian is now free from his pen addiction. Hahah! 

7.  Bless Others with Your Stuff! 

This was probably my favorite part about moving. Like I said earlier, we took many trips to Goodwill, but we also allowed our friends to go through all of our stuff and let them take whatever they wanted. It was really neat to know that our things were going into the homes of people we love!! 

8. Bring Things that You Will Miss! 

In talking with Ari and other people that have done what we are doing like Julian's parents, everyone said the same thing, BRING THE THINGS THAT YOU WILL MISS. For us, good bedding was very important, also good knives, a few framed photos of our friends and family, and PEANUT BUTTER (apparently peanut butter is not a thing in other countries)! So that's what we made sure to pack! 

9. Chill Out and Take A Second... Many Seconds... to Laugh at Your Situation!!

As I have mentioned, packing is overwhelming. At any caliber it can honestly make or break you. Don't let it break you. Take a second to scream, recognize the chaos around you, and then just laugh because it is nuts. What you are attempting to do is crazy: your house has never looked worse, you are sleeping on a floor, and taking a shower without a shower curtain while trying not to get too much water on the floor, eating out of the same bowl for every meal, and only have one nice shirt since all the rest of your clothes are packed. You're not living your normal life and its overwhelming, but if you look at a distance, its also hilarious, so LAUGH! hahhaha! Also get out of your house, go explore the city you are leaving, meet up with friends, and enjoy yourself, that really helped us when packing was dragging us down! 

10. Document the experience! 

Its really fun to look back now on how much Julian and I did in such little time. Here are some pictures of our last few months in Houston! 

Peru Update: Month One

Peru Update: Month One

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!