What kind of country is this!?

First let me say I am writing this from my new work space!!! YAY!! I have a desk. A chair. A space of my own with a door I can close. If I may quote Virginia Woolfe "A woman must have money and a room of her own to write fiction." I'm still waiting on the money part but I do have a room.

Moving on...

On a daily basis recently I've been on skype or the phone with my mother complaining about one of two things. Either the completely ridiculous place in a grocery store that I found an item (baking cocoa with hot chocolate...ba?) OR an item that I cannot find that would be a basic thing in North America.

Now I knew full when we came here that I wouldn't be able to get certain things. I've lived in Europe previously so this isn't my first rodeo. But there is a list of things I have discovered they do not have readily available in Switzerland.

1. Brown sugar - now they have what THEY call brown sugar but it's not what I would consider brown sugar. When I think brown sugar I think soft, gooey, beautiful wonderfulness. What THEY consider brown sugar is hard, crystalized and actually what looks to me as raw sugar. You can't "pack" this stuff like you would regular brown sugar.

2. Baking soda - okay they DO have baking soda BUT you have to buy it at a pharmacy AND it comes in tiny envelopes or cubes. Give me a box of Arm and Hammer or give me death!! Okay overreaction on my part but seriously Switzerland!!?? Apparently if you're lucky you can find it in the baking section of your grocery store but it's stupidly expensive to go that route.

3. Doritos - none. This makes my heart sad.

4. Crayola Crayons- What kind of country is this!?!?!?! No box of 64 with pencil sharpener?! What do kids colour with?! They have lots of high quality pencil crayons and makers here. Which is awesome. I remember being bought some European pencil crayons years ago and I treasured them. But I'm starting to learn crayons are considered very North American. I've found one box of 8 crayons. They were those overly waxy ones that you're embarrassed of when you're mom buys them because they don't colour as nicely as the crayola brand crayons.

5. Kraft Dinner - A staple in every Canadians diet.  What am I suppose to cut my hotdogs into now?

6. Peanut Butter - This is another situation of they have it but not what we're use to. Yesterday I spent 3 franks (about 4ish Canadian dollars) on the worlds smallest jar of peanut butter. Whereas in Canada 4 dollars will get you a rain barrel of peanut butter. Though the jar did state is was "american style". What does that mean, I have no idea. But I'll let you know.

7. Gladware - They have storage containers sure but we want some gladware damnit. It's cheap and if John loses it or if you're like me and accidentally throw it out it's all good. We also had that gladware that all the lids click together to prevent a downpour of containers and lids when you open the cupboard. Here they have some pretty expensive but cheap looking food storage containers.

8. Instant yeast - I admit, I cheat when it comes to yeast in baking. I use instant yeast. Yes yes I fail. But I also have no patience. It works particularly well in my amazing pizza dough. I know I shouldn't complain that they use nothing but fresh yeast year. It's better for you etc but come on now I have to wait and proof things.

9. Chocolate chips - you would think in the land of chocolate they would have chocolate chips. Maybe they do have them and I just haven't seen them, that's entirely possible. But then again, I'm not going to complain about having to chop up good swiss chocolate to put it in my chocolate ship cookies.

10. Sharpies - yes they have permanent markers. But I want a pack of sharpies in a rainbow of colours please and thank you.

We have been told about a place about 1.5 hours away by train that is called "The American Market" or something to that effect. That have all kinds of stuff that we would call "home" such as KD, baking soda, campbells soup in a can, brown sugar. So one of these days when we're feeling particularly home sick we will board a train and go and get ourselves some Doritos and A1 sauce.

Conversely here are some things they DO have that makes it awesome here;

1. Saturday Mail delivery
2. A completely bilingual if not tri-lingual population
3. You pay for garbage removal here but its free to recycle. *This is an entire post in and of itself*
4. Our apartment complex has "Quiet time" (it's in our lease) it's from 11pm to 7am  and from Noon to 1:30 in the afternoon (even Sundays and it extends to the playgrounds on the property) best part, people observe this!!!
5. The ability to travel any where by train. Who doesn't love train travel?


Erwin Warkentin said…
I suppose it's a question of the tools one would need to design a Rolex vs the North American items like the Ford Pinto, Chevy Corvair, or a Philco television. You need precise tools for precise work.
Anonymous said…
I'll see what I can come up with! Can you send stuff like KD in the mail?
Tatiana said…
You sure can. Apparently you can send anything except booze...I think.