At the beginning of our summer vacation, my two daughters and I left China with six carry-on bags and three suitcases (thank you, TSA regulations). And now I’m embarrassed to say how many more returned with us, including the two I sent back with my husband during his brief reunion with us in the states.
Stuff. Every summer we get more stuff.
We stock up on clothing for the girls that not only fits them but that they like. We get toiletries and cosmetics, some easily transportable foods and gift items. We buy things that we can actually find here, but the quality or price or exact specifications we like just suit us better coming from home. We also feel the need to get about a year’s supply of everything until we return the next summer.
When you purchase a luggage scale to get to the exact weight you’re allowed, you know you may have a problem. Same for when you have your children hand carry all that the airlines allow, even though the kids are half your size or weight (and that of the carry-ons!). Then when it takes days to actually unpack and find storage space for all you did buy – not to mention purposely avoid looking at the sales receipts that outline how much summer break actually cost you…uh oh.
This summer I was reading a magazine article – it may have been a book review – about our obsession with acquiring “stuff.” The slant on this article happened to be about the more serious type, like those hoarders you see in reality TV shows. But the gist of the message reminded me that I, too, buy too much stuff, be it during the summer months or even simply market shopping here in China. I have no right to complain when it takes so much time sorting through old things, finding space for the new, and getting rid of items we don’t need/use/want/remember we had in the first place.
I remain hopeful that at some point, the reality will kick in with me and my basic tendency to just get more stuff. In the meantime, it’s time to go and find a place to put all of the hairspray and coffee beans I brought back with me.
Photo by Steve B. Chamberlain of flickr.