Today I’m thinking about packing up my apartment here in Venezuela, selling things, and moving to Bahrain (a tiny island country in the Middle East). I’m accustomed to living/working in a country where it is difficult to buy literally everything because everything has to be imported and businesses struggle to find/afford the dollars to import things. Venezuela is also a very outgoing culture where “dressing modestly” can mean wearing a full coverage bra under your translucent top… not very similar to the Middle Eastern cultures I’ve been reading about. Obviously, I am trying to read as much as possible and plan accordingly.
Pairing Down: Right now I have five years of stuff that I’ve accumulated in Venezuela and I’m trying to decide what to take and what to leave behind. It is tradition to post pictures and prices of things into a Google doc and sell things to incoming teachers or that handful of teachers who are staying. I don’t really like selling things, but because I plan on backpacking throughout Central America this summer, selling a ten-dollar item can mean one night at my hostel in almost any CA country.
Middle East Expats- Help Please! I would LOVE to hear from expats who are currently living in the Middle East. What are the things that you wish you had left behind and what do you wish you had brought with you to the Middle East? Is there stuff missing on my list? Things I should take off my list? How many checked bags are you allowed to bring with you in August (in Venezuela there is always an airline embargo in July/August so I can’t even pay for more than two checked bags total)? Can I bring ANY of my favorite Venezuelan rum in my checked suitcases? Do Amazon and iHerb ship to Bahrain? What shipping company is the best for shipping to Bahrain?
Normally I only bring 2 suitcases with me plus my backpack, but I’ve been living overseas in Venezuela for five years (where I’ve accumulated a lot of things) and I plan on living in Bahrain for another five + years so I’m considering bringing as much as I can from what I already have. Is that more hassle than it’s worth?!
Here is what I am thinking of bringing with me:
Packing List for the Middle East- Checked Luggage
Note to self– Remember to make sure that you pack only dresses, shirts, skirts that cover shoulders and knees.
Chaco sandals for adventuring
Nice sandals for going out at night
Vionic flats for teaching in all day
Flip flops for beach and pool
2 pairs of lightweight linen pants
2 pairs of jeans
2 maxi skirts
1 below the knee skirt
1 form-fitting skirt for going out
2 Maxi Dress
1 knee length LBD
1 cocktail dress for fancier events
1 formal gown for very fancy events?
1 strapless bra
Lots of underwear
5 pairs of socks
2 pairs of lounge pants
3 pajama tops/shirts
1 Blazer for work conferences
1 black cardigan for covering shoulders
2 scarves for covering up and adding color to outfits
1 colorful cardigan
3 short sleeve shirts
5 work shirts
2 tops for going out
1 long sleeve Icebreaker sweater for traveling
Canon T2i DSLR and lenses
Portable bluetooth speakers (I have a Mini Jambox that I don’t love)
Cables and chargers for all of it
These are the things that make me feel at home wherever I am:
Sriracha hot sauce
Emergen-C vitamin powder
1 package of good coffee
I love to cook/bake and I have so many things already; I hate to just get rid of everything and buy again… but maybe I should?
French press- I don’t go anywhere without it
Good kitchen knives (If I didn’t have room for all the kitchen stuff I would ship the others but good knives are non-negotiable)
2 Contigo Travel mugs for taking coffee to work
Pampered Chef measuring cup for liquid/solids
Silpat baking mat
2 Silicone cake molds
Silicone muffin cups
Cast Iron pan- it is so heavy but so awesome!!
2 sets of good sheets
1 duvet cover
1 or 2 really good pillows
1 water bottle
Some wall art/pictures
Sticky putty to hang up wall art
2 pairs of workout pants
3 workout tops
1 pair of gym shoes
Important documents for work
2 bathing suits
1 pair of long pants and old t-shirt to swim in on public beaches
1 good pair of UV-protected sunglasses
1 packable raincoat
Some hangers to get started
Over the door hooks
2 cross-body purses (one for going out, one for everyday use)
2 Reusable Shopping bags
1 pack of reusable bags for fruits and vegetables
These are games I have and like to play; maybe they should go in the second shipment?
Cards Against Humanity + Expansions
Settlers of Catan
Normal playing Cards
Electric toothbrush with extra heads
Chewable Pepto Bismol
Air or Boat Shipment
Instant Pot– Will it work with an adaptor in Bahrain or will it die because of the non-US voltage?
Framed pictures/ prints/decorative items to make my house feel like home
Books– I try to mostly read e-books but I never quite manage to get rid of all of my physical book copies
Kitchen stuff – other baking pans, chopping boards, Tupperware, mixing bowls
Extra Bedding: blankets, another set of sheets for the guest bed
Pet toys/beds/collars/crate?- I plan on getting a Golden Retriever. Is pet stuff easy to find there?
Yoga mat (I would like to bring this in my checked bags if there is room)
Work files/books/classroom stuff: I have a ton of books, bulletin board borders, posters, and paper copies of things. I seriously need to pare down!
Holiday stuff: Halloween costume, Santa hat, cat in the hat gear, bunny ears
Extra Shoes: I’m a girl, what can I say? I probably have at least twenty pairs of shoes!
Extra Clothing: I expect my suitcases to be full of teacher work clothes and the shipment to have more casual clothes
All Advice Welcome!
I’ve been reading blogs and posts from expats in the Middle East, but I’ve been unable to find a good teacher packing list (other than this one). If you have any links or advice to share with me I would be very grateful!
Please post your comments below!
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