April 5th, 2011



Two awesome care packages in such a short time! Thanks to the best seester who sent my order of Girl Scout cookies, we now have a freezer full of Lemonades and Peanut Butter Sandwiches. And thanks to the best mom who acted so quickly when I called her with an emergency order for American medicine and sent a complete care package of items I was running low on.

When I moved to Sweden 14+ years ago, the list of things I craved was long. My mom was awesome about sending stuff over to keep my homesickness at bay. Everything from Big Red gum to the huge & heavy bottles of brand shampoo & conditioner that I couldn't find anywhere here.

Nowadays, the list has substantially shortened, but it's still a bit embarrassing to admit how many things I still import from the States. I do the vast majority of my clothes shopping when I'm there. I get most of my over-the-counter remedies from American grocery store pharmacies and even though I have found replacements for most food items that I crave (like Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup and V8 juice), there's just no substitutes for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups or Betty Crocker cake mixes. Plus I must have cinnamon toothpaste. Cool Mint gel just won't cut it anymore.

It made me laugh about half a year ago, when Oreos arrived in Sweden, and Swedish television started airing commercials teaching Swedes how to eat them: dunk them in milk, twist them in half and scrape off the icing! Did you know that the Oreo cookie is almost 100 years old? Nabisco developed and produced them starting in 1912, though back then they looked and tasted different. They are the best-selling cookie of the 20th century.

Oreos are just one in a steady stream of American consumer products which are finding their way overseas. I wouldn't be surprised to find real V8 juice on the ICA shelves someday.

All of the Americans at work want Reese's. It's number one on the list of things we ask our US colleagues to bring with them when they come over on business trips. Hershey's Kisses are another one I often hear. Over-the-counter medicines are also popular. One friend begs people to bring her haircare products. One asks for pancake mixes. People go to great lengths to get their fixes.

When Anders lived in Chicago, before there were any IKEAs around, the only place we knew of where he could pick up a few Swedish food items was at the Swedish deli in Andersonville on the north side of Chicago. He could pick up Ahlgrens Bilar and Turkish Pepper candies or a box of pepparkakor. The one thing he told me he really missed was kassler, a kind of smoked ham that is similar to Canadian Bacon. Strangely enough, we rarely eat it nowadays, though it still makes rare appearances on the dinner table.

Anyway, I'm grateful for my family who takes care of me by sending love in boxes and envelopes at exorbitant postal prices!
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