Packing up our entire apartment while simultaneously packing for a year abroad in Costa Rica was one of the more challenging experiences in my life. I have a difficult time packing for an overnight or weekend trip to places I’m familiar with, never mind packing for a YEAR for a country I’ve never even been to. Since I’ve lived through it and still have clean underwear to speak of almost one month in, I thought I’d give some advice:
-No matter where you go, bring your most comfortable, favorite pair of jeans with you. It has been colder than anticipated in Orosi, especially in the evenings and these are warm enough and remind me or home.
-Don’t bring high heels. I didn’t, and I’m glad because they take up too much room and really aren’t necessary here, a nice pair of strappy sandals will do just as well at any dress-up occasion.
-Ladies, bring bras that go well with everything, and aren’t too noticeable (lacy, colorful, etc). Whites and neutral colors might be boring, but they go under all T-shirts, dresses and tank-tops, and just like undies, these are hung up to dry in visible areas (no dryers here)- you don’t need any additional chisme going around town!
-Bring two piece suits you can mix and match. Solid colored tops and bottoms with designs (or vice versa) can mix things up and keep you from getting bored with the same old suit.
-Bring lots of scarfs and jewelry. They take up virtually no room in your suitcase or backpack and weigh nothing. My family was great and got me a bunch of this stuff for xmas before I left, and I’ve been wearing these accessories everyday here (thanks guys :)- love you!) It’s amazing how a pair of great earrings can take an outfit from school to salsa dancing attire with no wardrobe changes necessary.
-Don’t waste you time with a lot of makeup/product unless you are really good at applying without a mirror and/or if you don’t mind putting it on at a bus stop, on a bus. It’s also constantly either hot, rainy or hot and rainy here, and I’m not a fan of streaks.
The one things I wish I had brought was a warmer sweatshirt or long sleeved shirt, because some days have been cooler/rainier here. It is also important to point out you can certainly buy things here. If you want the typical American brands it will be more expensive (and you’ll probably need to make a trip into San Jose) but if you are okay with the basics in your small town it will be really cheap! This goes for clothes, toiletries, medications and more.
So about the year’s worth of underwear, I’m still not sure. I’ll get back to you about that next January 🙂