“You are responsible for your own luggage.”

Said the airport officer as he asked me to take off 20 kilos from my luggage, leaving me stunned why he refused to accept the second bag which I intended as a hand-carry along with my backpack. But what made the unstrategic packer in me even more bewildered was how to make 20 kilos disappear with less than two hours before my flight.

So I colonised the immediate grounds unpacking and packing, then unpacking and packing, still unpacking and packing, unbothered by onlookers who were seeing my books, papers, underwear, toiletries, laundry and the chocolates and cheese that I bought as if there was no tomorrow.

The reading materials were supposed to keep me sane. Their twins I brought for friends who are as crazy as I am. Some more reading materials are for other people who are keen to be crazy as well. The clothes not only kept me warm in the cold but they are an investment should I have a similar adventure. Meanwhile, one bar of Swedish chocolate is for a friend who just loves anything (and anyone) Scandinavian and Irish since were in high school. Another one is for a mentor who lent me his gloves and still another for a former colleague who actually brought these to our house, when I was running out of time. Then there were other bars for other folks. And the Brie and Camembert, they were all for myself.

Every unpacking and packing entailed choices – all of them painful for every stuff was a part of me through my own body to the people who have kept my spirit in its various roles: daughter, sister, friend, student, activist and many more.

Yet those were more than acts of unpacking and packing for before and after choosing, I try with all my best to negotiate on behalf of my stuff even with the spaces of my own luggage.

In the end though, I still had to make choices within the bargain that I made. I negotiated with myself.

In the end, I was my own luggage…but I left my cheese :-(

Comment on this Post


Hi Nina,

I enjoyed reading this journal because it reminded me of choices I had to make in airports when checking baggage. Especially lately as they are making frequent changes to baggage rules as for how many you can check, baggage weight, as well as what can be carried on.

I also understand your pain in parting with the brie and Camembert cheese - as a fellow cheese enthusiast and having lived in places where cheese like this is difficult to come by!

But what I enjoyed most about this journal was the story that unraveled - of friends and family - and of getting to know you a little more - someone who holds her friends and family very dear and shows it in thoughtful, generous ways.

Thanks for sharing!

Happy New Years, Jade