Packing for the UK: Things I wish I’d brought from home

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Kat uncovers all the things she wishes she had brought with her to Edinburgh before the big move from South Africa.

1.    My favourite cold and flu remedies

Every year like clockwork, twice a year, I get a cold. Usually when the weather changes from warm to cold or vice versa. Moving to Scotland in the middle of winter (from the heat of a South African summer) was a shock to the system and resulted in me getting quite a few colds very quickly. Back home I had a standard routine; Advil for the body aches and ACC200 (a mucolytic) for the runny nose, followed by a steaming cup of Med-Lemon. I’ve been ill a few times since arriving in the UK and I’ve yet to find that magic formula to replace my routine back-home. Sure, there’s Sudafed for the aches which works quite well, but what I really miss is Med-Lemon. Although it does work extremely well, I just can’t stomach Lemsip! I’ve asked my Mom to bring me some Med-Lemon when she visits, but I do wish I’d thought to pack a few boxes with me before I left. So take my advice and be prepared for the colds and flus!

2.    A multiplug adapter

I’m sure most people think to bring a few adapters to covert the UK wall sockets to their home connections (especially for laptops or phones). However, I’m facing the problem of only being able to plug one thing in at a time. So I am ultimately faced with the tough decision as to which is more important, charging my laptop so I can study or play my PlayStation? You can guess which one wins when that becomes the case! Of course, you have to be sensible with the number of things you plug in. But having a multiplug like this one would really have come in handy.

Multi-plug

3.    Shorts and t-shirts

I did optimistically pack a few t-shirts when getting ready for my move to Scotland, but never could I have imagined that it would get as warm as it did this summer. True, warm is relative and it was no match for a South African summer. But I definitely could have done with a few more short and cool things to wear. On top of that, the UK keeps the internal temperature of their buildings quite toasty. So even in winter, it’s a good idea to layer up with a t-shirt underneath so that if someone gets a bit overenthusiastic with the thermostat, you can still be comfortable.

4. A flag

"The main thing I wanted to do with my flag, was to hang it in my flat window, with pride, for the world to see!"

This one was easily fixed with an order from Amazon, but I did have a South African flag at home that I could have brought with me. A flag was a must have when we went to watch South Africa play Scotland in the rugby at Murrayfield Stadium. I feel like this would be a great thing to have for “fish out of water” touristy photo opportunities. But the main thing I wanted to do with my flag, was to hang it in my flat window, with pride, for the world to see! Here’s a picture of our building now, three guesses which window is mine.

Three guesses?

5.    Spices for cooking

With the vast selection of spices available in all supermarkets here in Edinburgh, it’s so strange that I would crave Robertsons Chicken spice from home. But I do! And I see now, in reflection, that it would have been so simple to slip a tiny little bag of my favourite spice into my suitcase when packing. So if there’s something you really LOVE cooking with and are worried you may not be able to find an alternative, perhaps bring some with, just in case it can't be substituted. Of course, check the customs restrictions first to make sure you can bring it into the UK, so you don't lose it on your travels. Luckily for me, there’s a South African butcher just down the road that stocks some of our favourite products from back home, and that might be the case for where you’re from too. Edinburgh is such an international city that you are bound to find something from home!

6. Lastly…my scientific calculator

Even though my course is not extremely mathematical, I still needed a scientific calculator for my first exam. I like to take a calculator into every exam I sit, even if it’s not mathematical, they’re useful for working out how much time you have left...or fiddling with if you finish early (don’t tell my professors that!) so I’m really surprised at myself that I didn’t pack it. You never know when you might need one, so definitely a must-pack.

 

So what would I suggest?

Ultimately, there are several things which I left behind before the big move to Edinburgh. A piece of advice? Make a list before you start packing; what are the necessities and what do you just really love? The likelihood is that somewhere in Edinburgh you will find a substitute if you do happen to forget anything, or like me, you have great family members that can bring you things, because sometimes, home comforts are all you really need.

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