Lost Luggage

Some of the greatest archived pieces from our website's history, which goes back to 1999!

Dislocation, Dislocation, Dislocation

Lost Luggage

October 2019

By Peg Clement

This classic "Lost Luggage" reprint first appeared on Talesmag in 2003.

One day you're sipping a warm frothy mocha cappuccino with your best girlfriend in a Starbucks on a cozy Saturday morning; your hands wrap around the warm mug and you huddle together. The next day you're gulping down a tepid instant Nescafé (the grains don't even melt) alone, in a dank kitchenette 3,000 miles from home, watching army ants march across your countertop. Nothing is right with the world.
I know whereof I speak. Although this is my sixth move to Africa as a development worker (and third as a single parent), it hasn't gotten any easier.

2nd Day

My life is intolerable. A frickin' nightmare. In total disarray. I'm starting this journal instead of throwing myself in front of a train. I don't even know if Zimbabwe has trains.

2nd Night

I burned out my trusty dual-voltage clock...

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Trimming the Fat

Lost Luggage

May 2019

By Joan Ochi

Riddle: I'm trying to lose weight, but I'm not on a diet. What am I doing?

If you answered "preparing to pack out," you're right! It also probably means that you too are a veteran of many an overseas move...and have experienced the anxiety of trying to pare down your belongings. Arriving at our current post in Kuwait two years ago precariously close to our family's weight limit of 7200 pounds of worldly possessions (as mandated by our employer, the U.S. State Department), we are preparing now to move back to our own Washington, DC home, which is about the size of our current living room. We are in serious purge mode.

Of course, some of what came with us will not be repatriated. For example, unaware of the bounty of our local Kuwaiti supermarket, we arrived with enough canned tomato products to stock a small 7-11. And the solid...

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