Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mini Mission # 10 - Find Replacements

This post made me so hungry. Just like Lucy! Image via New Lantern
I know, we're all guilty of it as expats. There are items we just HAVE to have from home. I have a little list that I keep in the back of my mind, and whenever someone asks "I am going to the States, can I bring you anything?" I jump down their throats with "OH YES TWIZZLERS AND DEODORANT AND BROWN SUGAR ANDANDAND." 

And it's so lovely to have these things- they enable me to drink my coke through a candy straw and smell good and bake chocolate chip cookies for all my German friends. But there is something to be said for flexibility, no?  

When I first moved to Germany, the list of my "must-have products from home" was LONG. We're talking not only the above mentioned items, but also toothpaste, gum, baking soda, jeans, diet coke, ketchup, maple syrup..... seriously, a really long list. But then I figured out that they have colgate toothpaste at the stores in Germany! And baking soda is actually called "Natron" and you can get it everywhere. Moral of the story: I found replacements for most of my "must have from home" items and as a result, I felt so much less dependent on my poor fellow expats to schlepp me back my essentials. 

So this is your mission: choose one of your "must have from home" items and find a replacement in your new home! Food products are often really easy to replace if you do some googling. Often, the products you are looking for are actually available but they are sold under another name! And sometimes, you just have to let go - maybe you can get used to the taste of European Cola Light? Perhaps that weird herbal mint gum could grow on you? You'll be surprised how much your flexibility will open you up to new possibilities in your home away from home. If you want to take it a step further, make this mission a regular feature in your life, and do your best to "wean" yourself off of your home favorites. 

Let's be realistic - we will always have things we miss from home (as we should! Target! Sunday shopping!) but it feels great to free yourself from so many nostalgic necessities. 

What "from home" item did you give up and find a replacement for? What could you never live without?

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