Grocery shopping for a family of seven can be a bit tricky. Grocery shopping for a family of seven in a foreign culture, well… that’s just plain difficult. I try not to let it drive me mad. I really do. But, sometimes it just gets the best of me.
Let me invite you into my little world of cross-cultural grocery store challenges. I’ve mentioned it before but tonight I’m on a new soap box.
To start off, we buy a lot of eggs. A lot, as in 90 at a time. Dont believe me? Count ’em.
It takes a minimum of two grocery carts to get all of my purchases to the vehicle. Just last week two Pakistani men were kind enough to push my two full grocery carts to the car and help load up all the goods. One of them mustered up enough courage and English to ask, “Shopping for next three months?” Nope, just one my friend. Just one.
To make matters worse and trump the humiliation I feel by being known at the local grocery store as “The Egg Lady” I have an even bigger issue with the milk. Oh, Lawd! The milk.
*Deep breath. Breath in, breathe out. Repeat. Do not cuss.*
The milk situation is enough to make any woman crazy. The milk in our part of the world is sold by the liter. You read that correctly- the LITER! For the love, who buys one liter of milk at a time? I’ll tell you who, these folks around here. There are a lot of things I respect about this new culture, but the size of their milk containers ain’t one of em’.
Just look at this little scrawny milk carton. One measly liter??? My oldest son could finish you off in one sitting. You are a disgrace to your kind.
Because the milk is sold in such small containers I have to buy a lot at a time. Brace yourself.
Yep, that’s 16 liters to lug to the car, into our apartment building, onto the elevator, off the elevator, into our apartment and then put away.
Thankfully, the milk here doesn’t have to be refrigerated until after it’s been opened. Please don’t tell me why that is the case, I don’t want to know. When I grow an extra arm or a massive unibrow- you’ll know why. Because it doesn’t have to be refrigerated I can store the containers in the cabinet, under the stairs and in the closet, meaning my fridge isn’t taken over by milk.
If I’m lucky enough to be at a grocery store that sells milk by the case, I have to control myself and only buy two cases at a time. Is that beautiful, or what? 24 liters of milk to drag home. Unfortunately, by the time I get 90 eggs and 24 liters of milk in my shopping cart, I’m out of room and have to leave and finish the rest of the grocery shopping another time.
However, recently I ran into this big ole hoss. Feast your eyes on this–
Now don’t be going all crazy and think that all of my milk prayers have been answered, or that now I can buy milk by the gallon. Not quite. The new containers are about one liter shy of a gallon. But you won’t hear me complaining, because this is a new day. I can go into the grocery store with my head held high, without both carts in tow… not really, I still need to buy half a cart full of milk for our family….that’s just large family life. But, look at the bright side, at the rate I’m going I’m bound to be promoted from the pathetic ranks of egg lady to the much more prestigious title of “Milk Lady” in no time at all.