Don’t Forget the Dental Floss

Posted on March 25, 2012 by

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I tend to overpack.

In fact, I am pretty sure I have brought the most stuff to Georgia out of anyone I have met here.  It’s a dubious honor, and in truth, I brought a lot of stuff I didn’t end up needing.  However, due to my ridiculous over-preparedness, I have managed to have the tools on hand to handle most of the truly colorful situations a person so commonly finds themselves in when living in this amazing, nutty country.

So, in the spirit of giving, I thought I would share my list of slightly uncommon items that have made my life ever so much easier, simpler, or just plain better over the course of my 11 months here.  With a few notable exceptions, most of these items are both inexpensive and tiny, so no excuse not to make one last quick Wal-Mart run and shove ‘em in your bag before setting off on your adventure.

25 Little Things I’m Glad I Didn’t Forget:

  1.  Earplugs.  To put it simply, Georgians are loud, and they don’t stop being loud just because you might have work in six hours.  Earplugs are also quite valuable during hostel stays.  Personally, I also love my eye mask for nights in hostels.
  2.  Off!, or some other insect repellent.  Georgian mosquitoes are legion.  LEGION.  Most Georgian households don’t have screens in the windows.  I have fallen asleep coated in a nice filmy haze of Off! more nights than I can count.
  3.  Nail clippers.  Folks have told me these are really hard to find and even when you do, they’re flimsy and of poor quality.  For women, I would also add tweezers and a nail file here.
  4.  Multivitamins.  Chances are, your diet in Georgia is not what you are going to be used to.  It is a really good idea to bring something to supplement the bread, cheese, kinkhali, and tcha-tcha that are likely going to make up your daily meals.
  5.  Basic medicines.  This goes without saying for any prescription meds you need – bring enough for however long you’re staying, obviously.  But I also highly recommend stocking up on Advil, Zantac, Zyrtec, Imodium, and Tums.
  6.  Hand sanitizer.  You will bring it with you everywhere.
  7.  A travel first aid kit.  For just in case on those long hikes.  I have one that fits in the palm of my hand so hardly a space concern.  Also it would not be unreasonable to pack some Neosporin and Band-Aids.
  8.  Photos of loved ones.  I know pretty much everyone has all the photos they’d ever want on their computer, but I love having just a few important framed photos around.  It always makes me smile to glance up and see my family smiling back at me from across the room.  Also, your host family will likely be really excited to see any photos you have.
  9. Serious, water-proof hiking boots.  This may not count as a “little thing” I suppose, and obviously is a bit more of an expense commitment, but so worth it.  If you’re planning on doing any hiking/trekking in the Georgian wilderness (and you SO should!), these will be invaluable.  Also, it rains a lot here, and the winter is no joke.  My hiking boots turned into my snow boots during Tbilisi’s long snowy winter.
  10.  Long underwear.  At least two or three pairs.  See above re:  Georgian winters.
  11.  A kindle, or similar.  Another not-small expense, but something that vies for Best Thing I Could Have Ever Brought To Georgia.  You are likely going to have lots and lots of free time here.  You are going to be sitting for many hours watching television in a language you can’t understand because your host family likes you to spend time with them.  Reading material is utterly crucial to maintain sanity.  And books are heavy and take up valuable space.  A kindle can travel anywhere with you and stave off king-sized chunks of tedium.  Because your kindle will swiftly become one of your most precious possessions, and the idea of something happening to it will make you want to cry, I also recommend buying and bringing a cover for it.
  12.  For women, a scarf to cover your head in churches.  This is absolutely necessary for a woman to do if she wants to enter a Georgian church.  They have scarves here of course, but anything that can save you a few lari here I consider worthwhile planning.
  13.  Also for women, tampons.  Georgia doesn’t have ‘em.
  14.  Any hygiene products/toiletries/makeup you are used to.  Chances are you will not find them here, and if you do, they will be prohibitively expensive on your Georgian budget.
  15.  A mending kit.  You will need this.  I never thought I would spend afternoons hemming pants, reinforcing seams, and mending holes in socks.  But I do, and so will you.
  16.  Ziplock bags.  They don’t exist here, and I have used them for everything from storing gifts of chocolate from my students to holding my wet bathing suit post-beach.
  17.  A Tide pen.  Supras are messy.
  18.  A corkscrew.  Wine is delicious.  I always carry mine when I travel!  Saves embarrassing charades at the magazia late at night.
  19.  A travel alarm clock.  For those early morning classes/marshutkas/plane flights!
  20.  Lip balm/chapstick with SPF.  Very hard to find, and so necessary for both Georgian winters and Georgian summers.
  21.  Sunscreen.  Most Georgians don’t believe in sunscreen.  Personally, I do, and enjoy spending an afternoon on the beach without turning vermillion.
  22.  Dental floss.  You will be glad you did.
  23.  A thermometer.  Boy, am I happy I packed this!  You will get sick here, and while Georgians are curing your fever with cabbage leaves or whatever, it really is very reassuring to be able to take stock of your situation yourself to try and figure out exactly how serious this particular illness might be.
  24.  A high-powered pocket flashlight.  Georgia loses power a lot.  Also your toilet might be outside and unlit.  This is a very, very good thing to have.
  25.  Condoms.  ‘Nuff said.

So there you have it.  I hope this is helpful.  Of course this doesn’t cover clothing items or other such things, which I or my fellow bloggers will maybe choose to hit at some point.  But, if you are on your way to joining us or even just thinking about it, then I say Gamarjoba and Mober Zandit, and hope that I will have the chance to raise a glass of Saperavi with you very soon.

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