Sunday, December 18, 2011

Packing Essentials

I'm trying to cram my life into 2 suitcases for my flight Monday, and I have the uncomfortable feeling that I'm heading straight into an overweight baggage fee. Even with two suitcases. This will be my first Christmas in Monterosso, and I'm excited and anxious to get back. A sea storm hit yesterday sweeping in much of the debris that was so painstakingly cleaned out, and damaging the soccer field. As much as I've really psyched myself up and geared myself towards seeing a "new" Monterosso, the thought of taking a step back is disheartening, but I'm trying to put aside any expectations until I get there. The real work will start after Befana.
So, some of the things I'm deeming indispensable for my next year in Italy are a bit odd, and I'm wondering what customs would say upon opening my suitcase. Manuel brought the Christmas stuff when he flew back Thursday, and is now busy getting the tree ready, and I'm in charge of bringing a bit of Southeast Asia to Liguria.

Some of my more random items include:
Preserved lemongrass
Jarred kaffir lime leaf
Jarred Thai Basil
Cellophane Noodles
Spring roll rice paper
Green chili paste
Brown Sugar
Cream of Tartar
Rose water
Smoked paprika

Now, I know I could find these with some effort in La Spezia or Genoa...but when the craving for pho hits, who wants to take a train to go shopping to satisfy it? I'm far too lazy for that. I might actually cave in and mail most of this, as I don't think the Italian Christmas season will grind to a halt for lack of a Northern African spice blend, and I'll still be able to save my back health by not trying to tote this across several states and regions. I'm in Northern NJ, flying out of JFK, flying into Milan but live in Liguria, which is a bit of a trip, and it's also a bit difficult wrapping my mind around the fact that I most likely won't be back in the USA for another year.

I'd better buy more kaffir lime.


  1. Love your blogs and love the posts about the flood damage. We have a place near Lucca but are only there part-time. In the spring we hope to visit Monterosso to see the clean-up results. When we head to Italy our "stuff" usually includes cheddar cheese, Mexican spices, blue masking tape, paint brushes, and LOTS of books. Once we even took a brand new chainsaw! I am getting a Nook for Christmas so will see how that affects the number of books. Have a wonderful Christmas. Louise & Dom

  2. I got a Nook this summer too, and the only downside is that you can't actually download the books in Europe due to some sort of copyright thing- so stock up before you get here!
    Thank you so much for reading, and Merry Christmas to you both as well! :)