Some of us have been doing a "dry run" of packing to figure out what we are taking along, what we will leave home, and just how much stuff can fit into a suitcase that will be under the 50 pound checked baggage weight limit! We have a diversity of experiences and places in store on this exchange so we have to be prepared for many circumstances.
Here's a quick pic of what my packing "staging area" looks like in the guest room of our house:
From running shoes to sunscreen, host family gifts to sundresses, we need to be ready for it all! For example, we will be with host families most of our stay so very casual clothing (shorts & skirts, t-shirts, sandals & flip flops, etc.) are going to be appropriate. However, in the Samoan capital city of Apia we need to be dressed professionally for visits at the embassy and with other officials. Also, we have learned that during our home stays we will be expected to wear all white on Sundays for church services. So it becomes a bit complicated to make sure we aren't overloaded, but are truly prepared, for all of the experiences we have ahead.
One quick, interesting note:
You'll notice in the picture I'm packing a towel or two. We've learned that in Samoa we shouldn't come to expect towels to be provided for us, even in hotels. It's a personal item that people bring with them, and so we too will bring our own towels on our travels. It's the small and seemingly insignificant cultural differences like this that make me so excited and so fascinated by the millions of "a-ha!" moments that are in store for us on this trip.