Around The World In 40 Bags is a 'what's in your bag' feature, where I get 40 people from around the world to give us a glimpse into the recesses of their bags. Don't forget to check back every Tuesday and Thursday!
Tell us a little bit about yourself? Hi! I’m Sheridan and I am an American teaching English at a Montessori kindergarten in Beijing, China. After over a year of putting it off and way over thinking it, I recently started a food blog at www.haveyoueatenyet.co. I post meals, recipes, and travel experiences I have while living in the East. One of the most frequent questions I am asked from friends and family back home is “What do you eat?”. Luckily, I enjoy cooking and predominantly I enjoy eating. So, I have a lot of ideas to share about where to buy ingredients in Beijing, what are those mystery vegetables at the market, and which restaurants take you back to your home country- if only for the length of dinner.
What bag do you carry? This particular bag I use daily and I bought while on vacation in Singapore this past December. I found it in a souvenir shop after my packed bag broke. I have used it as my teacher bag because of its large size, but mostly because it has a zipper that runs along the length of the top keeping out stray hands in the subway.
Can you show us the contents of your bag and talk a bit about it? Of course, but bear in mind that this is a place even my boyfriend is afraid to look into. Due to the bag’s size, it is easy to put things in and lose track of them. I did not include a picture of the ridiculous amount of receipts, brochures, and unopened mail usually inside this bag.
I have a couple notebooks - one is used for jotting ideas down for things I would like to write about more extensively while the other is used mainly for school (lesson plan ideas, schedules, meeting notes) or for general lists. I’m really into making lists.
Headphones for listening to Podcasts on my work commute via bicycle or public transportation.
A scary looking facemask to help keep dangerous particles from entering my lungs on heavily polluted days in Beijing. I only wear this facemask while riding my bike. Unfortunately, I live in a place where it is sometimes worse for your health to ride a bicycle due to the high air pollution levels, as you breathe more deeply when doing heavy exercise. This particular mask makes me look a bit like Bane from the latest Batman movie, so I don’t wear this one while just walking around on the street. I have other, less threatening looking pollution masks for day wear.
Since Beijing is near the desert, it is incredibly dry here and my hands are always quite literally itching for some hand lotion. Someone gave me a gift set of L’Occitane En Provence hand cream and not only do each of them smell florally (just like I like!), but they don’t leave my hands greasy. Most importantly, they truly moisturize my dry hands. Here I have rosebud and ylang ylang scents.
The dry air also affects my lips so I have a variety of lip balms in my bag. The Dr. Pepper Lipsmackers and Burts Bees lip balms I really treasure because I brought them from my last trip home to the States. I am just about out of the Dr. Pepper Lipsmackers, but I don’t want to part with it so I let in linger in my bag. Also from home, I have The Naked Bee Natural Lip Colors in plum orchid and heather rose. I love these because they are lipsticks that are both moisturizing and contain natural ingredients. In the center of this lip balm collection is Nivea Fruity Shine in strawberry. I recently bought this when I realized my Dr. Pepper lip balm was almost out and I knew I needed some lip balm that would give my lips a hint of color.
Kenneth Cole Reaction black leather wallet I bought maybe ten years ago from a Kenneth Cole outlet store in the United States.
Key chains connected to two USB sticks. I have just realized that there are more key chains than USB sticks collected here. The two animal key chains are a snake and horse- each a gift from my work for the past Chinese New Year holidays (to celebrate the year of the snake and the year of the horse).
A canvas bag from a local bookstore (a bag within a bag!) used when I buy groceries at the market during my lunch break.
As I am a teacher, one may think I have a plethora of pens in my bag. Nope, I only have one.
A variety of bobby-pins. A USB issued by my bank that asks as a key when I want to access my Chinese bank account online.
Passport photos of me. I feel like in China they want a passport photo for everything, so I just carry them around. These particular ones (ok, really all of the passport photos taken in my lifetime) are pretty bad, so I don’t hand them out to people I want to be my friend. There’s no need to scare them away.
Since I work in a kindergarten, I am always collecting things around my apartment that I don’t need there, but could use at school for some sort of kindergarten craft or activity. Tonight, I happened to find a couple rubber bands. Yesterday it was a cardboard toilet paper roll and an egg carton.
Pink Sephora brand lipstick. I like this lipstick because it is bright and it stays.
A yellow rose handkerchief from my mother’s craft room at home in the States. I have several and they always come in handy- this morning this was used to hold my hard boiled egg I ate at school for breakfast.
What are some of the essentials you carry in your bag on a regular basis? I always have some sort of lip balm, lipstick, my cell phone, hand lotion, and handkerchief.
If you were to head out to a fancy party, what would you carry in your bag? Well, I would not be carrying this bag to a fancy party. However, if I was asked to go to a fancy party for some reason directly after school and I didn’t have another bag option with me, I would have this bag full of things. The essential items mentioned before would be in my bag, as well as a hand mirror and a pair of flats because I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to handle the fancy party high heels for long.
For a day of adventure, what would you pack? I would pack both of the notebooks described before for list referencing and idea writing, my Klean Kanteen “Reflect” stainless steel water bottle (it’s completely plastic free!), my Nokia 1020 cell phone for picture taking, and probably a guidebook of some sort.
Lastly, how many bags do you own? When I moved to Beijing 2.5 years ago I did a lot of downsizing in the bag department. I have maybe 5 bags now with this one being the most used as I carry it to work every day.