Every expat will agree that living in a foreign country, maybe on a different continent, changes you and how you see the world. And now everybody is thinking about those meaningful, profound changes, but we must not forget those everyday lessons that we learn. After all, that’s what defines our lives 24/7.
One of the biggest changes I certainly made to my shopping habits. I am not talking fancy boutique shopping, but grocery shopping. During my single years, I hardly did any grocery shopping. I had some oatmeal in an otherwise empty kitchen cabinet, occasionally bought some fruit, my fridge contained some bottles of white wine and some champagne, and that was about it.
Once married I used to shop on a daily basis, both in Switzerland and in Seattle, since I just cannot stand a packed fridge. Everything has to be neat and in order, and the interior of a fridge in my opinion should rather resemble a fancy downtown loft than a stuffed country house.
When I open my fridge now, I could scream as it is so jammed. And it all started with yogurt, plain yogurt. That was hard to come by. I bought yogurt after yogurt only to learn that they were all sweetened. And then I found one brand that did unsweetened yogurt. I bought 2 jars – and then it was out of stock for weeks! So next time this fancy product was available, I bought 6. And as soon, as I got down to 3, I started looking out for it. Funny thing, though: Recently I have come to notice that the supermarkets stock a much higher quantity of unsweetened plain yogurt – I think I might have given the Mexican dairy industry a boost!
When I bake, I like to use the good old Baker’s chocolate, since I haven’t found any high quality Mexican chocolate yet. It is all very sweet and for my taste just disgusting. Strange, huh? Isn’t Mexico famous for chocolate? But anyway, I found 2 supermarkets that sell Baker’s chocolate – but again, only once in a while. Which leads to me buying 5 packs at a time, so I have enough time to drive back and forth between the stores on a grim chocolate hunt.
On my shopping tours, I feel like hunter and gatherer at the same time: I hunt the products down and once I get my hands on them, I take as much as I can get – or as much as fits into my fridge. There are many, many products that you get once in a while, and then they seem to disappear. I don’t know why that is. Very often, we pass trucks that had been involved in an accident, and they seem to stand by the road forever waiting to get repaired. So I assume that they might be filled with all those products that I am craving but unfortunately, I haven’t had the courage yet to open one, get in and indulge in a yogurt chocolate bath…