Help outfit Michael, Sarah, and John

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Let's talk about clothing now

Okay, so I've heard to pack LIGHT. What exactly does that mean? 1 suitcase? 2 suitcases? 1 big one? 2 small ones? 2 BIG ones? And how many outfits did you take with you? Since the area I am going to has NO washer and NO dryer - it doesn't seem like blue jeans would be the best pants to bring along, since they take so long to dry. Am I right? Am I wrong? Help me out here! And what about shoes? I bought some new running shoes - since we'll be walking a lot. But if it rains a lot there (or snows a lot) perhaps some sturdy boots would be better? Your thoughts? I know I'm going to be bringing some nicer shoes for the SDA appointment and the court date - but I'd rather not have 2 pairs of shoes that I'm lugging around. Also - should I take a jacket? Umbrella? I look forward to reading your wisdom.


Diana said...

You're so cute! Take a deep breath, relax, and smile :-)

I'm pretty sure I posted about a lot of this in a previous comment (about the time you announced your travel date), but I'll mention some of it again. Pack as light as possible, but you'll still need a few changes of clothing for each of you. I know a lot of people who just buy "disposible" clothing at the markets in Ukraine. Disposible is an appropriate term as most of it will fall apart pretty quickly. However, as a fellow card carrier who's BTDT (I'm assuming you're one, too ;-) don't count on finding anything that will acutally cover what needs to be covered in Ukraine. It may not exist (especially in a small town.) So, take enough mix and match stuff for 3-4 days for both of you. Everyone wears jeans, but they do take 4-5 days to dry. Fleece is good, it dries pretty fast. So do polyester, nylon, and other synthetic fabrics.

We had no washer either and there are no dryers anywhere in Ukraine. Doing laundry in the bathroom sink BITES. Take several packets of "Tide sinkfulls" You can find them in the travel section at Walmart. While you can buy laundry soap there, the sinkfulls make awesome stain remover!

Take some nice, but comfy shoes. Running shoes SCREAM American. That doesn't mean that my hubs didn't wear them. But, everyone in town knew we were Americans anyway and we got to a point where we didn't care. But truthfully, epsecially as a woman, you're probably better off with something that looks a little (lot) nicer like Clarks or Doc Martains or something like that. You will be received much easier by the fine Ukrainian women. Check out for some good, cute leather walking shoes. If you get the right ones, these will do for court, church, and SDA. You will also need waterproof boots/duck shoes(plan on slogging through some mud and snow, and ice if you're there long enough. They don't shovel the walks, either.) You'll DEFINATELY need at least a weatherproof 3-season jacket and probably some light gloves as well. Those who are there now are saying it's already turned cold...really cold in some places. Umbrella, absolutely. A foldable dollar store one for each of you will be just fine.

Hope that helps...

Tami said...

For the first trip I took two pairs of black slacks and two pairs of jeans (wore a third)...with four to five tops to interchange with them - we traveled in December). For the second trip (in January) I took a skirt for court, one pair of black slacks and three pairs of jeans (wore a fourth). I didn't have any trouble getting my jeans to dry because it was the middle of winter and the heat was turned on. I just draped them over the radiators and a lot of times they dried in less than 6 hours!
As for shoes, I brought a pair of black boots (low heel - but everyone there wears them exceptionally high - even with all of the ice) and wore a pair of tennis shoes (it didn't matter that they were a good pair of tennis, my feet still hurt). I wore the boots everywhere and rarely wore the tennis shoes at all.
On the first trip we took three suitcases (one large, one medium and one small) and two carryons...way too much luggage! On the second trip we got a little wiser and took over two suitcases. Two medium sized along with two carryons. Shad came home early, so I brought Maddie home by myself with one medium size suitcase and one carryon. It made all the difference. It was so much easier getting around with an almost four-yr-old with less luggage to carry.
The boots were imperitive. As Diana said, they don't shovel their sidewalks, driveways or streets, so there is black sludge absolutely everywhere...besides, you really stick out if you're not wearing boots. Shad said I stuck out because I wasn't wearing three inch stilletos...but at least I matched the babushkas! :)
We bought the Tide sinkfuls as well, but didn't end up using them because we had washers everywhere we stayed. Still, I would bring them along, it sounds like you may need them.
Another item I'm thankful we brought along was a container of sanitizer, handi-wipes and ziplock baggies. One of our apartments had cockroaches (gives me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it), so the ziplocks came in handy in helping to protect some food. We also used them to bring snacks to Maddie on our visits and of course to put health and beauty supplies in to keep them from spilling all over our suitcases.
Hope this rambling helps!

schoolmother said...

I ended up wearing my snow boots almost all the time, too. They were very comfortable, kept my feet both dry and warm (most of the time.) Unfortunately they were blue rather than black but I really didn't care. I had really warm socks, too. My jeans didn't take too long to dry-couple days at the longest. Our clothes-drying rack was in a very sunny glassed-in balcony. And we had radiators, too, as someone else mentioned. I wore my heavy coat but it was Jan/Feb.

Ticklemedana said...

if there is a Burlington Coat Factory in your area, peruse there for a coat if you haven't already purchased one. You will find some good deals in the clearance section right now. You may also find some rain boots that would work, but you may have to shell out more money in order to get some nice, comfy, black ones that seem so important. I am so excited for you my love! it's so close now! Good luck..I am sure you will prepare well if you heed everyone's advice.

DoveFamily said...

We each took one rolling suitcase with our stuff, plus one rolling duffel filled with gifts for facilitators, orphanage workers, donations, etc.

I have a really good packing list that I just shared with another family that's traveling soon. I'd be glad to email it to you! If you're interested, email me at


Courtney said...

I recommend three changes of clothes and a week's worth of underclothes. I took 2 pairs of slacks and a pair of jeans, but I spent most of my time in the slacks with heavy tights underneath (we were there last December). That was a lot more comfortable and warmer than the jeans. Bring clothes that you can layer and mix and match--no sweaters, etc., since they take so long to dry.
My boots bit the dust in Kyiv so I bought winter boots in Kyiv at Monarch off of Independence Square. LOVE THEM!! They were $60 and oh-so-worth it! I will be wearing them again this winter here in the states!