Suitcase Treasures

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It’s 2 weeks until you board your plane back to your home on the field, and there is lots of shopping to be done! This is the time when we evaluate the space in our luggage and start filling in any little gap with what I am calling  “suitcase treasures.” You know what I am talking about; all of the fun, seemingly non-essential items that you will pull out to remind you of family, friends, and familiarity.

For me, these are generally items that revolve around coffee, tea, and my kitchen. I love Starbucks whole bean coffee, Numi’s Dry Dessert Lime tea, special baking ingredients, fun table linens, and other easy things that I can use for the sake of having friends over and enjoying good conversation. These things not only remind me of the loved ones that I enjoyed such conversations with at “home,” but they are fun things that I can share with friends as I invest in relationships on the field as well.

Then there are just plain comfort items. For me these are things like ranch dressing mix, Reese’s Pieces, Real Simple magazine, postcards and calendars of the Northwest, pretty journals, etc. All of these things evoke feelings of familiarity which can be so wonderful on the days where I am all together too aware of the fact that I am a foreigner in a foreign land.

Being that I am “home” on furlough, I have been thinking about the need to not be overly dependent on things from the U.S., but at the same time have become perhaps even more conscious of the value of having these comfort items that will remind me of my history and where I came from. I am thankful for the people, places, culture, and experiences that have shaped me into who I am, and it is amazing how a few little items from the grocery store pulled out and reminisced over can cause us to reflect on and deeply value these things in our lives.

I wanted to know what things you have brought with you to the field that you would consider your “suitcase treasures?” Are there any specific reasons or stories behind these things that make them special to you?


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5 Responses to “Suitcase Treasures”


  1. 1 Gina Marie June 17, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    We manage to always use every possible pound allotted when we go back to the States! I love loading up on Crystal Light because it’s hard to find any non-sugar drinks here other than water. I pick up a lot of practical stuff like vitamins and medicine, but I always try to buy a few impractical things – like a bottle of my favorite shampoo, or a bag of tootsie rolls. I buy party supplies for the kids too, and cute gift wrapping because that’s hard to find here too. Enjoy your time there!

  2. 2 Susan June 18, 2009 at 2:35 am

    For me it is Earl Grey decaf tea, specialty baking items (including baking soda, powder and vanilla), holiday napkins, pretty bright (and matching my kitchen) colored dish towels, family friendly DVDs…

    Susan

  3. 3 Laura Anderson June 25, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    Hi Ashley,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog, Clearly Living the other day! I have to remember to check out the blog watch myself. Thanks for your prayers for my heart as my older boys were moving up to the next dorm. the adjustment has gone well and the boys come see me nearly every day but yet have settled into their new dorm too.

    Well, I enjoyed this post as it was fun seeing what other people bring. I think fully half my allowance is “suitcase treasures!” I start my new US shopping list as soon as I return back to Mozambique! I’m not into clothes so my items are housewares, food and then things for the boys. for them, I’ve brought back a scooter and a tent, those were the two biggest things I’ve fit in. Then I always load up on clothes, toys and other goodies for them.mm

    I too love magazines and brought back a couple Real Simples too that were a quarter at the thrift store. I always bring back Reeses peanut butter cups, Cheez Its (which I am eating at this very moment!), Triscuits, Wheat Things and Sunflower seeds! I’m a salty snacker, can you tell?

    I too love coming back to Moz and being able to have little bits and bobs from my other home, it makes me feel much more connected.

    I’m going to enjoy reading your blog, again thanks for stopping by mine!

    I’ve always wanted to go to Russia, who knows, someday if I do, maybe we’ll meet!
    Blessings, Laura

  4. 4 Karen July 21, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    We are in the US with about 5 weeks before we return to Ukraine! My suitcase treasures – Cinnamon Apple Tea, good books, music CDs, and of course spices, treats, medicines, and personal items we can’t get where we serve!

    BTW, I found your blog through Coffeegirl. I’m looking forward to reading through your posts!

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