So, those of you who know me know that I love me some Target, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods. Especially Target, though, as we have a particularly close relationship. And anyone who lives abroad or who has ever been away from home can relate to that feeling of missing what you know and love from home. For my British friends, it’s Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco’s, M&S-all the great supermarket chains. By the way, they are by far the BEST in the whole world. No one else can sell an amazing quality pre-cooked meal, a great pair of jeans, and the best chips (crisps) you have ever tasted all in one store. They put the French and the rest of Western Europe to shame! I think French grocery stores were left back in 1992. No offense to my many French friends, but it’s true. And the Belgians are no better! Again, no jibes to my family and pals in Belgium. You do the beer, fries, waffles and chocolate better than anyone and my waist-line proves it every time I visit.
So, I digress. My point, is, home. It’s what you know and love, it’s what’s familiar and where you feel you belong. Doesn’t have to be anything fancy-Mr. Pickles sandwiches and taco trucks, my Modesto, CA. friends? Fresh shrimp tacos with cilantro for a couple dollars. Or how about the best Mexican restaurant in the world-El Rosal?? Nothing compares. Trader Joe’s and their fantastic, cheap beer and wine? I am in heaven. I just tell Sacha to drop me off and come back to find me a few hours later. I am usually filling up on the tasty samples by then, sitting in the aisle, relaxing, chatting with new friends. Oh goodness, that reminds me of Costco. Not even going to go there.
I have never been a huge fan of fast food, although I once had a brief fling with Taco Bell. (By the way, they also refused to employ me as a 16-year-old-I must have been overqualified, I always told myself to mask the pain of rejection from TACO BELL.) Oh, and I must also add that I am, for lack of a better term, divorced from Popeye’s. I pretty much don’t let myself near that place. I discovered my love for Popeye’s when we lived in the DC area and DAMN! They are evil. Devilishly good! Sacha always jokes with me and says I should have grown up in the south-I love friend chicken, mashed potatoes, greens, oh my!
So, back to Target. I especially love the two-level Super Targets where you can take your massive cart up and down the escalator to your heart’s content. Target is essentially, I believe, in the next few years, going to take over the world and I certainly don’t mind. Groceries, fresh fruits and vegetables coming soon, and don’t even get me started on their clearance items. And their dollar section! It’s all too much and I am starting to weep. Well, maybe not, but I did tear up.
I once went to a Target right before we moved to Egypt and I filled up not one gargantuan cart, but TWO. Holy moly. (It was not easy, mind you, to manoeuvre those darn things to the check-out aisle. Took out a few people and some small dogs along the way.) At least no one stared at me. Instead, I got a few high-fives and cheers when I arrived at my destination. Again, I am starting to get choked up.
Okay, so in all seriousness, it’s the things that you miss from home, the stuff from your childhood that make you nostalgic, the smell of something that takes you back 20 years. I sill cannot get a whiff of homemade buttermilk pancakes without thinking of my Mum. Home is a place that you might not have appreciated at the time, but you SO miss once it’s gone. If I have learned one thing living abroad, it’s this-remember who you are, where you came from, and who your family and friends are. And be grateful for the memories of home.