I was in the grocery store picking up an ingredient for dinner, when I started thinking about all the different grocery stores I had been to. I have traveled around the world in grocery stores. Throughout my travels, grocery stores have always been a place where I have scavenged shelves looking for food with English ingredients. They have been places where I have learned about the city or country I was visiting, just by perusing the scene and food-stocked shelves. The mice I saw scurrying around the grocery store in Paris, or the non-refrigerated eggs sitting on a shelf on one of the regular food aisles in Australia, display aspects that a regular traveler may not ever notice. A grocery store is not a typical tourist excursion, but for those like me who need to find allergy-friendly foods, they are a must-see destination.
Coles was my grocery store of choice when I lived in Australia. I would buy all of my food there. Everything food related in Australia encompassed only a few different areas for me. I could eat fresh foods, like fruits, veggies, deli meat, other meats, some cheeses, yogurt, and eggs. The only other foods I could eat were Carr’s crackers (which are imported from the U.K.) and some pastas. The only chocolate I could eat there were Twix bars (although I can’t eat them in the U.S., but I could eat them in Oz because they were manufactured somewhere else). It was a pretty limiting (and expensive) diet! I went to the grocery store every other day to buy fresh foods. Everything spoiled there quickly!
When I move to Italy at the end of August, I am curious to know what kind of grocery shopping experience I will have. Will I find any packages with English ingredients? How many hours will I spend trying to translate words and decipher any warnings on food packages? There are so many questions about how it will be to move to a country where I barely speak the language and don’t know anyone, but I am not worried! I have traveled to many countries where I don’t speak the language. I have lived abroad before and figured it out. Finding food is always a challenge, but I am sure that the many hours I will spend in my new Italian grocery store will only help me to understand the new place I will be calling home.