I think it’s lucky we are not brand-dependent. We won’t be running around the local supermarkets in a frenzy, looking for “Comet,” certain that none of the dozens of local cleaners will work as well. My face won’t turn into a pumpkin if I turn away from Clinique ($70-something for a moisturizer that costs $25 in the US!) We may miss Red Robin (great vegetarian burgers), but, truth be told, everything or most everything we used to cook in the States we can cook here as well.
Still, there are things we miss. Silly things, most of them. Embarrassing, even. Supposedly, some of them may be found here from time to time, but you have to be very lucky. So, Santa, here’s what we want for Christmas:
1. White Cheddar Cheez-Its. Oh, how I want some White Cheddar Cheez-Its! I’d probably eat any kind at this point, but none are available.
2. Cape Cod Salt & Vinegar chips. More junk food, I know, but these are the best.
3. Soy protein powder for Shon. Everything here is whey-based (gives Shon a cough), meat-based (we are vegetarian) or completely artificial.
4. Pad Thai noodle kit by Thai Kitchen. We are starved for Thai and Japanese food here. It can only be found in big cities and is ridiculously expensive. If you think good sushi is expensive in the US, think again.
5. Japanese sprinkles for rice. Man, I miss the Asian supermarket! I would also kill for a giant bag of frozen vegetable potstickers.
6. A craft store in Al Ain. Apparently, nobody is interested in crafts here. There is a very small selection of yarn at fabric stores, no jewelry-making or scrapbooking/card-making supplies at all. The biggest selection of crafting supplies I found was at a local bookstore and we’re talking about 1 (one) aisle of construction paper, canvases, several different kinds of paint, yarn, foam, and styrofoam. I may be able to make Mod Podge at home, but there’s no way I can come up with my own Armour Etch!
I may be seen kissing the floors of Hobby Lobby and Michael’s when we return to the US.
7. A candy thermometer. While I’ve successfully made marshmallows without out before, it makes life so much easier! Apparently, people don’t make candy here either.
8. A decent photo printing service somewhere in this vicinity. I am not paying for shipping photos from Shutterfly, and the only two photo printing shops we found here seem to be using regular printers. Yikes.
That’s all I can think of for now. Give me a month or two, and I’ll probably be changing my stance on brand-dependency. That’s what might happen when I run out of my hair products from the States and remember what life was like before Aveda, CHI, and Big Sexy. Then again, may be not.