Necessities Living Abroad

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by midlifebear, Sep 6, 2010.

  1. midlifebear

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    OK, I couldn't take it any longer. This year I found myself stuck in the USA for far too many months. I gained almost 7 kilos, lost muscle mass, and courted depression watching the cable news channels -- all of them. So, it was time to escape. But before I flew back to Spain I sent myself care packages ahead of things that I crave and are not available in Barcelona (or Argentina). These are the "little" things that I cannot find in Europe that are not, in fact, European items. Such as:

    Tins of greenish black dark licorice
    Several half gallons of real maple syrup
    A case (one gross) of Rootbeer in 12 oz cans
    A-1 Sauce
    Authentic and expensive Tamari Soy Sauce from Japan
    Dehydrated Miso soup (both dark and light varieties)
    Braided stems of sagebrush for burning like incense in my apartments

    If you live abroad (as in away from your native country), what items do you have shipped to you or do you cram into your luggage before returning to your adopted country?
     
    #1 midlifebear, Sep 6, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2010
  2. nudeyorker

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    When I lived in Tokyo I could not live without peanut butter, and I always packed razor blades. Other than that I loved all the goodies available there.
     
  3. midlifebear

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    Ahhhh, yes . . . peanut butter. This is something that occasionally appears on the shelf at Jumbos in Buenos Aires, but rarely. Then word gets around and it's all gone in a couple of hours. However, because of the many Indian and South East Asian restaurants that have suddenly appeared in Barcelona in the last ten years it is a common substance on supermarket shelves. But it's from India. No Jiff or Peter Pan. But that's OK. The Indian peanut butter lacks sugar and loads of salt, and therefore tastes better (IMHO).
     
  4. nudeyorker

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    When I lived in the Caribbean the thing that flew off the shelves of the market when they had it were boxed cake mixes. I had no interest in them as I would rather eat a homemade cake but I remember the frenzy when they had them.
     
  5. Bbucko

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    When I lived in Paris I used to smuggle vast quantities of Ibuprofen, which I have used since my late 20s to combat Migraine and the arthritis pain I feel in my neck. At the time (and still, presumably) it was a prescription-only medication, though if desperate enough, I could usually find a pharmacie around the Opera that would believe my but-I'm-just-an-American-tourist-with-a-headache act and sell me a box surreptitiously.

    I'm seriously trying to think of anything else but coming up blank, though the reverse keeps coming to mind. There's a boulangerie near Place Gambetta that sells the most amazing breads and croissants in the universe, and another on the Rue d'Avron that sold what they called a "choco-big": a pain au chocolat bigger than my fist :redface:

    Edited to add: Rose-hip tea is not available retail anywhere in SoFla (which at times feels like a different country)
     
  6. nudeyorker

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  7. B_crackoff

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    I'm surprised you can't find miso in Catalonia, they have it in Malaga, but then it's more cosomopolitan than you may imagine - for specialist foods anyway - the problem is of course e.g sweet chilli dipping sauce, it's at least thrice the price!

    That said, I've always found Spanish food very palatable(apart from their potatoes), & have found some foods to be irresistable to ship back - the jarred prepulped lentejas, are so much cheaper, & unavailable here; & I also get a true hankering for Solero brandy during the summer. It's not the best, but I spent too much time having it for breakfast, lunch & recreationally with the locals!

    Now Holland, however, that's a different story. Whilst their sandwiches & pastries can be out of this world - that truly is it.

    If I had unlimited funds, I'd fly in takeaway Chinese, Indian, or anything, because it just tastes so horrible there.

    Similarly, if in France, I'd like to take my own spices & season my own curry in an Indian restaurant, because they truly have no clue (most likely because of domestic tastes), & in Italy, I'd just like to take along some ground beef & passata, to add to the mountain of pasta & nose blown covering of sauce they serve to you.

    Finally, I guess I'd take some real milk (not UH f*cking T), & some decent tea (India, China &the UK only serve the good stuff - crikey don't even try it in Greece) & coffee (just in case!).
     
    #7 B_crackoff, Sep 6, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2010
  8. Mem

    Mem
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    I would never think that peanut butter was so uncommon as to not be available everywhere.
     
  9. vince

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    Nope. Whenever friends come to visit I make sure they bring a jar of peanut butter. Not that Jif or other homogenized sugary stuff. Real peanut butter, the stuff you have to stir. Oh and aged cheddar cheese. We have tons of wonderful cheese here, but rarely do you find cheddar.

    Other than that, I don't miss any Canadian food. I know an American here who is always crying that he can't get bacon. But I don't eat pig so it doesn't bother me.

    You can get damn near any drug over the counter here. We've got some good migraine pills here Bbucko. Apranax plus is what every woman carries in their purse for menstrual cramps and they work great for migraine.
     
  10. Viking_UK

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    Whenever I go home, I always bring back some proper black/white/fruit puddings. The English ones just can't compare to them.
    Another thing I always bring back are butteries. The best ones are like salty croissants - totally unhealthy, but absolutely delicious.
    I'd like to bring back some gannet, but I have a funny feeling it's one local delicacy that my other half wouldn't appreciate.

    Whenever I go to Australia, I always end up with orders for Cadbury's chocolate - it of makes up about a quarter of my luggage! (Personally, I prefer Belgian or Swiss chocolate, but whatever.)
    A friend in Belgium always asks me to bring over Crunchie bars. Supposedly the Belgian and Dutch versions aren't as good as UK ones.
     
  11. wallyj84

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    Deoderant and clothes are the big thing for me. It is very difficult for me to find shirts that fit here. I haven't been back to the US for about three years now, but when I do go back the first thing Im doing is heading to the nearest clothing store to get some threads.

    Deoderant is another thing that I can't easily find. In terms of food, I'm pretty well covered, except for cheese and to a lesser extent bread. There's bread here, but it sucks and is expensive.
     
  12. SpeedoMike

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    my friend was so happy to get spotted dick from England. she showed me the label!
     
  13. Drifterwood

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    "Proper" bacon and sausage.
    Marmalade.
    Leeks and lamb (rare in some parts)
    Kippers.
    Mustard.
    Chutneys and cheeses.

    I'm rarely away for more than a month at a time, but I do miss the above. I find that I miss things from overseas when back in the UK, even though the UK is a very open market to things from all around the world. That said, I am a very long way away from a decent Vietnamese restaurant, and the fruit selection is pretty pissy in the UK.
     
  14. justmeincal

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    When I was in college in Spain in the 1970s, I returned to the US for a short visit. My best friend in Spain (another American) asked me to bring her back Tampax as she couldn't find any in Madrid.

    On my return trip through JFK, my luggage was searched (naturally!) I believe I turned all shades of red as security rifled through box after box of Tampax pads.
     
  15. earllogjam

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    My Australian friend would have care packages shipped to him in the States and invariably there would be Vegimite (yuck), Weetabix cereral, and lemmingtons.
     
  16. vince

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    He can get those items at any supermarket in Canada. Speaking of which... I'm going there next week. Mustn't forget the Marmite...
     
  17. erratic

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    I could never live in America and drink your disgusting high-fructose corn syrup drinks. (Sorry, it's not about America; it's about "corn sugar".) I would have to import Coke and Sprite from...well, anywhere else in the world that uses actual sugar.

    On the other hand, it's much healthier being in the States and avoiding sugary drinks anyway. So thank you American corn industry for making your soft drinks taste like garbage ;)
     
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