Friday, January 27, 2006

I’d traveled before this trip: over the States and into Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, the UK, France, Scandinavia, college – you get the idea – and I’d never had culture shock. Granted, I’d never stayed in a one-room hut with 30 other people in the middle of the jungle, but these places were, um, different in their own ways. Anyway, I wrapped myself in a cozy blanket of being too flexible, too adaptable, too smug to get culture shock.

Ho ho ho. The cars here are so huge. Irrationally huge. Well, they’re not now that I’ve been driving my monstrous beast around, but for the first few days I felt incredibly short. Shorter than usual.

That was fine and good, and then we went to the grocery store.

General stores and food stores over there are pathetic. While in the US I can go to a decent Harris Teeter or Whole Foods (oh Whole Foods, how you ruin me, with your impulse purchases) and get everything I need with one stop – including potting soil. It’s impossible to find potting soil in Edinburgh. You’d think that a country so into gardening would have easily accessible potting soil.

But to get my usual groceries I’d go to Sainsbury’s, which was a close, decent grocery store. But they don’t have large packs of asparagus or gorgonzola cheese (despite their advertisements for it), so I’d have to go to Marks & Spencer to get it. And I wouldn’t want to carry a 2-litre bottle of coke all that way, so I’d have to go to the corner store on the way home. And the drugstore for vitamins. I’d have to visit five stores and still wouldn’t get everything I need.

Now I can go to one store and get much more than I need.

So we’re in the grocery store, after many hours of sitting in a plane and then more time in the car. There’s a five hour time difference and I’m a little half-brained. And wide-eyed and agog at all the variety and choice and look! Potting soil! And the soups! If there’s anything the Scottish can’t do it’s canned soup. Progresso is a godsend. Heinz soup is hideous.

All the fresh fruit and veg! The obscurely-flavored potato chips! (We have flavors like “ranch” – they have flavors like “roasted chicken with thyme.” For chips! Really!). Flowers and plants and gallons of milk and giant jugs of OJ.

Their cheese selection was lame and their gorgonzola had half the flavor that British blue cheese does, but that’s for another entry.

It’s kind of nice being back in a place where I know how to find things, though there is the problem of excess. Ah, well.

1 comment:

troy's mom said...

hey emily, i miss your great stories. what is happening in your life?

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