Something that has always fascinated me since living on the mission field - both here in Peru and in the Philippines - is grocery shopping. Now I can already hear some of you groaning at the thought of it! And to be quite honest, I do my own fair share of groaning when I think about going to the store!
I have come to look at grocery shopping as an adventure. You never know what wonderful bargain you will find, or what recently "imported item" you will find! Now for those of you who read this and live in the States, finding something imported in the grocery store doesn't mean very much - unless you have lived on the Mission Field before! For those of us living on the Mission Field, finding an "imported item" from the States is like finding a magnificent treasure! And then there is the added fun of shopping in a foreign language! I am finally starting to figure which spices I am actually buying! Woo Hoo!!
I remember how exciting it was to find Dr. Pepper in the grocery store when I lived in the Philippines! It is still just as exciting now when I go to Wong (one of the grocery stores here) and find Dr. Pepper! Recently we found Muenster Cheese on one of our visits to Wong! Have I died and gone to Heaven? Not yet, but I AM sure there will be Muenster Cheese in Heaven!
While I was at the "Caja" (Check-out) the other day, I found myself gazing with admiration at the way the clerks pack my groceries into the plastic bags. Here they put as much as is reasonable into one bag - none of this one item per bag (like Walmart). I am still trying to figure out their system for scanning things, however. Just when I think I have it all figured out, they toss me a curve ball and I have to start all over again! I am very strict with myself about how I put my groceries on the conveyor belt - all the drinks (milk, juice, yogurt drink, etc.) together, all the meat and cold stuff together, etc., etc., etc. Then I watch the clerk start rummaging through my neatly arranged stacks, and I think, "Hey, wait a minute....!!!!" This happened a few times after we came, then I finally started paying attention to what they were doing - what items they were putting together - to ring up and to put in bags. I have started trying to copy their system, and going through the check-out line goes a little faster and easier - that is when I have remembered to have all the fruits and vegetables weighed in the produce department!
Before you start thinking I am some extraordinary missionary wife, let me tell you something....there are times when I really dread going to the store! There, I've said it....I feel better. There are times when the loud music, the staring, and the crowds really get the better of me, and I just want to go home and forget that there are such wonderful things in the world as "Imported Items"! But like every good missionary wife, I brave it all for the sake of my dear family (and their appetites - not to mention their need to eat meals for the week!)
Have a wonderful weekend....and may all your shopping trips be adventures!