Soulmate and I had dinner with our friends Drew and Cindy at Panera tonight. They adopted an infant from China in September of 2005, so we wanted some insider info from the horse's mouth as it were. It turns out that these guys are two very organized horses indeed.
Cindy passed Beth a master list of everything she packed in each of the suitcases and carry on bags for the trip, right down to the number of disposable diapers to take. She claims she had all of their suitcases packed 6 months before they actually left. Some trips I've taken, I haven't been packed 6 minutes before we left.
Soulmate is an inveterate listmaker, and loves to check off items on the list when they're done. Sometimes I pass her my PDA just so she can read off items I've completed and then check the little box in the corner to make them go away. You can almost see her shiver with delight! So for our friends to pass over a master list of everything that needs to get packed was like someone handed her a 10 carat diamond. She held that list, read it, re-read it, folded it carefully, and put it into her organizer like it was a treasure map.
Drew and Cindy gave us all kinds of good tips for making the trip easier and more enjoyable. They also recommended a couple books that we haven't read yet (have I mentioned what bookaholics Soulmate and I are? Thought so.). I'm sure they'll be on their way from B&N or Amazon by tomorrow.
I did go online to Travelsmith.com and ordered some hot weather pants and polos. American tourists are basically the only people in the world who regularly wear shorts in public, and though I'm proud of my bike racer legs, I generally prefer not to be identified as an American tourist when traveling overseas; it never seems to be an asset, you know? Anyway, I got some swell sweat-resistant pants and shirts, so I'm good to go for the trip.
Oh, and I've finished troubleshooting my tech gear for the trip: small laptop webcam, digital camera, HandyCam, and PDA with Mandarin-English dictionary, iPod, and assorted cords and blank DVDs. Oh yeah, and some DVD movies for the trip over. None for the trip back, since I will probably be playing Baby Einstein videos on my iPod for Katie.
To keep myself occupied and not thinking about the trip too much, I got out the box with the Chariot jogger/stroller/bike trailer that we got at REI, and assembled it. Good thing too, because we had bought the wrong jogger front wheel attachment, so we'll return it when we're in the Cities later this week to celebrate our 25th anniversary. We did attach it to my Bianchi cafe racer and took a test ride with Buddy the troll in the trailer. He approved, so the test was successful.
Now where did I put that packing list?