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The Sink’s In Here Somewhere…

In the words of Erin’s frog, she is completely harshing my mellow.

I mean, I was happy just floating along, all, “I’m SO ready for this Costa Rica trip.  I’ve got typhoid  shots and a backpack – what more do I need?”

And then came this post.  This awful, horrible, mellow-harshing post that, aside from making me laugh at Erin’s pantaloons, sprouted this demonic little thought in my head that maybe – just maybe – I should think about packing.

Have I been worried about the language barriers?  Sure.  Have I been concerned my fragile little underexposed body might have difficulty adjusting?  Of course.  Have I been concerned I’ll make a true American ass of myself by not understanding the culture?  No doubt.  I expressed all of those concerns here.  I’ve already admitted that when it comes to this trip, this is me:

But in all  honesty, I haven’t let myself freak out about these things because:

a)  I’m doing the best I can to prepare in a limited amount of time by studying up on some Spanish (and buying a phrase book); seeing the doctor and getting proper medications; and reading up on Tico culture in my nifty little guidebook, and

b)  We’re going to be working for a great family who, at every chance they’ve been able to get so far, have been straightforward and quick to reply with what to expect.

But then comes Erin with her post about practicalities, like packing??!

Not to mention the panicked phone call I received from her at REI just yesterday when she was struck with an insurmountable bout of indecision.  (Did I tell you I wouldn’t tell anyone about that, Erin??  It’s a good thing only 6 people read this.)

So I’ve decided it’s time to start assessing where I stand, starting with the GINORMOUS bag of goodies and gifts my exceedingly generous friends from work gave me over excessive amounts of tequila (accompanied by a small amount of margarita fixings) after my last day at work.

Okay.  Wow.

I will admit there are a few items here I may not be taking to Costa Rica.  See, I have a limited amount of room in my backpack, so it’s inevitable that some things out of this huge, thoughtful bag of gifts will get left behind.

Like maybe these:

Peace flip flops

Not because they’re not totally awesome, but I do need to be a little practical here.  I’m only allowing myself to bring 2 pairs of shoes (possibly 3 if I can’t find the right wet/dry amphibian shoes), and I’ll need my 1 pair of flip flops to work with the majority of my clothes.  Unfortunately, I just don’t have that much teal in my wardrobe.  But maybe I should.

And these two items:

Bug Hat

While I understand the practicality of packing the proper head gear, I should probably be realistic about what I’ll actually wear.  For example, the first hat might really come in handy if I find myself devoid of bug spray or if I decide to take up beekeeping, but I’m hoping to avoid both scenarios during this trip.  And the second… well…


There are, however, some really really great things in here that will definitely be making the cut.

Like food.  Can’t go wrong with that.  And while I might not be bringing all of this food, I can definitely see where it might come in handy on the trip out there or during one of our weekend excursions.

Snack Food

And how cool are these nifty little tools??  I find myself walking around the house just looking for an excuse to use these.

These are just a few of the multitude of basic hygiene and toiletry products, which are fantastic (don’t ask about the Gold Bond – hopefully I won’t need it):

And this – this I was really excited about.  VERY few people are cool enough to sport one of these:

Head Lamp

I am lucky enough to be one of those people.  To prove it, here’s me during a Geology field trip circa early 2006:


See?  Cooler than words can express.

They also got me this great little sling bag made out of recycled products.  I haven’t actually tried to take it out of the pouch because I’m afraid I won’t be able to get it back in, but rest assured I will likely get my use out of this puppy once we’re there:

Recycled product bag

There were many, many more things in there as well, including a rain poncho, first aid kit, ear plugs (in case Erin snores), ibuprofen, and sanitary hand wipes, just to name a few.

I’m incredibly lucky to have worked with such amazingly thoughtful people.  It almost feels like I don’t need to bring anything else.  Almost.

I’m also very lucky I look good in a headlamp.

Just sayin’.


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the other Mrs. Barstow

Wow!! You got great stuff!! I’d pack it all. Don’t be too practical at a time like this. You just never know. I sent Erin a pep talk – didn’t think she’d be needing it but I totally understand where she’s coming from. You’re going to have the best adventure!! No doubt about it!! I agree about the headlamp, by the way. Oh, and make sure Erin has a crossword to do on the plane.


Yes, I had some great co-workers! Unfortunately, due to the space limitations on my bags, I won’t be able to pack every single thing – even if I want to be a little impractical. :) And don’t worry – Erin definitely doesn’t need a pep talk. I might have been exaggerating the extent of her panic for the sake of the post, but we’re really both still super excited about the trip. I guess our main concern at this point is figuring out what to pack in just 2 small bags for 2 whole months away from home. It can be a little daunting! But we’re on it – I can’t think of anyone more fun to travel with than your daughter-in-law. :)

Samantha Belina

Keens! They’re the best water/land shoe I’ve ever owned. You’re up to 7 people now. I’m excited to see what adventures you gals have. (I’m a friend of Erin’s by the way. I know you don’t know me.)


Ooh, good to know! I will definitely check those out. Thanks for being our 7th reader!! :)

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