I think we would all agree that relocating to a foreign country is BIG. After that happens, in the process of getting settled other BIG things must happen, like finding a place to live, getting your visa, and learning how to get around town. Next come medium things--maybe adjusting to cooking a high altitudes, getting a recommendation for a good dentist, or finding a good gym.
But after awhile it's the little things you discover and learn that can just make your day. In that light today has been exceptional. Every time we go to the SuperMaxi, our grocery store, I scour the meat counter searching for any new cut of pork or, especially, beef that looks remotely like anything I'm familiar with. Now I don't want this to sound overly extreme. We have ground beef, pork tenderloin, and usually pork chops, but a lot of what's underneath that shrink wrap just looks like random hunks of whatever with a Spanish name.
A couple of times I've seen T-bone steaks, and once I even bought a couple of them. The beef tends to be very lean here (grass fed & not jacked up with hormones & antibiotics), so they got a full 2 days of a soy/ginger marinade before grilling. That night Cynthia and I dined on grilled, marinated shoe leather. Bummer.
So we were in the store this morning, I was doing my meat patrol thing, and I spotted--was it possible?--let me look again--yes, I believe for the first time I saw what could only be a chuck roast. Of course the label didn't say "chuck roast;" no, it says lomo de aguja, which Google Translate appropriately defines as "needleback." I swear.
Nonetheless, I scooped that bad boy up and decided it's worth a $2.99 chance because I do love a good needleback with potatoes, onions, and carrots. I'll let you know how it turns out.
But wait---there's more! The SuperMaxi (sorry, but that sounds so much like a feminine hygiene product, doesn't it?) carries a lot of chips but only Ruffles and regular Lay's as far as ones you've ever heard of. Well, I was with friends at another grocery last week and saw a big Lay's variety bag with those little individual lunch sizes. I didn't recognize several of the choices but I did see Cheetos and that was enough for me.
I tore into those Cheetos as soon as we got home but, damn it, they turned out to be the original puffy kind. The ones that when you're through it seems like you've got more of them on your permanently stained fingertips than in your stomach. Ah, the high's and low's of expat life (sigh).
So I've been soldiering through the rest of the bags with mixed success--regular chips, Ruffles, Doritos, one I dumped that were like Fruity Pebbles or something (for lunch?--puh-leeze). Today after we returned from the store I grabbed one called Cheese Tris to go with my ham sandwich, ripped it open, and what to my wondering eyes should appear but----crunchy Cheetos!! Wow! Unbelievable! Needless to say I had a great meal!
I know all this doesn't sound like much--chuck roast--crunchy Cheetos. In fact I feel a little silly now even writing this. But I enjoy trying to help you understand what this expat life is about, and little discoveries like this of things that make our lives a little more normal and familiar really do mean a lot when so much is so different.
I wonder if Cheese Tris come in the large size?? That would rock!!