Monday, March 03, 2008

The shortage ends (and why expats love stuff from home)

Do you recall the dreadful mac and cheese shortage that recently swept Costa Rica? I’m pleased to share with you an update on the status of blue boxes here in the valley …

Our friends David and India called us after church yesterday with the news: there was one precious pallet of Kraft M&C in at PriceSmart. Yippee! They kindly bought 30 boxes for us (we just couldn't ask for more!), and we intend on a trip to the store soon in hopes of finding another couple dozen.

Shortly after we returned from a relaxing Sunday afternoon at the pool, David arrived with the blue boxes. Dan promptly rescued two of them from their shrink wrap and made dinner—and it was delicious.

In other food news, I recently purchased brown sugar for the first time since we've been here. I had been making do with azúcar con caramelo (sugar with caramel, basically) which was not bad, but my cookies and baked goods just didn't taste quite the same or have that perfect consistency. I didn't know if I'd ever find brown sugar here until a friend told me it is possible, but difficult, since it's rarely in stock. Yet there it was last week, unassumingly sitting on the shelves as if it had been there all along. I bought numerous boxes, but two are already gone. How long will brown sugar keep, anyway? Because I'm planning on getting a whole bunch more while the getting is good.

Think we're crazy? That we’ve completely lost our grip on reality since moving south of the border? This enlightening piece by expat Pamela Druckerman explains how valued American goods can be to those so far from home. Funny thing is, I hadn’t read this article since it was first published—right before Thanksgiving—and now I see that Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and brown sugar are both mentioned in the text. How validating!

It’s true that expats thrill at the thought of jamming suitcases full of products straight off the shelves of Target and Wal-Mart and lugging the stuff back to their adopted countries. Those people visiting expats are lovingly (yet eagerly!) considered as pack mules. My parents will be here soon and have a list of goodies to haul—from two Nintendo DS games for an American friend of ours to sugar-free Tums, peanut M&Ms, Gain apple mango tango dryer sheets, and packets of Taco John’s hot sauce if they can get them (oh please, we're begging!). We are more than excited to see Mom and Dad, but I’m sure soon after they’ve settled in we’ll be asking, “Where’s the stuff?! Did you bring the Reese's Pieces???”


JujuBoo said...

Yeah! You got the mac and cheese!! I guess I take it for granted here. BTW: What exactly does expat mean?

Shel said...

I'm selfishly glad you have to suffer a tiny bit. It makes me think you'll eventually want to come back home!
JUST KIDDING! I can't believe you've been baking without brown sugar. Yikes! I'm sure your parents are going to come laden with Americano luxuries. Go Reese's!

Four in Costa Rica said...

Hey juju—good question! Expat is short for expatriate, which simply means someone living in a foreign country (it's also a verb and adjective, in case you're interested).

JujuBoo said...

Thanks! I figured it meant something like that but I wasn't 100%. Thanks for taking the time to answer me :)

aimee said...

Yay for mac & cheese and brown sugar! Too bad Dan couldn't have had those things included with his relocation package!!

Oh, and you might look into getting a terra cotta brown sugar saver. Otherwise, seal it up well and it should be ok for quite a while.