Saturday, March 8, 2014

Grocery Challenges

I love food.  I love to eat.  I love to wander around grocery stores without an agenda.  This first week, however, has not been recreational in terms of food shopping.

We are fortunate to live within walking distance of several decent grocery stores, and in the first week I went almost every day and bought as much as I could carry home.  One day when Steve was still home all four of us took the tram to a huge grocery store outside of town (mostly for something to do and to scope it out), but there's only so much we can carry when kid-wrangling on public transportation.  Also we don't have any Swedish currency yet so we couldn't put a coin into the cart release (like Aldi if you've ever been there without a quarter).  But we were able to buy rain gear for Bowen without a size conversion chart.  It's like Swedish Target; they have everything.

Oatmeal, but too much to carry home
After packing up our house last week and donating all of our remaining food it pains me to start from scratch over here.  I lug home as much as I can, only to have it seem to disappear almost immediately.  The next day I go back, study labels, prioritize, find some good stuff, get all sweaty and flustered, and return again the next day.  Milk comes in 1.5L cartons, for example, so after a couple days of cereal for breakfast it's time to buy more.  Not that I want to lug home a gallon of millk.  Cereal... Don't get me started.  If you like corn flakes you would be fine.  We don't eat "kid's" cereal, but we're used to sweetish options like Frosted Shredded Wheat and Honey Bunches of Oats.  But we could use a little less sugar in our lives, so hopefully we'll become more Swedish in that way.

Diapers...  $109?!  (109 kronors = $17)
On Tuesday we registered with the Migration board, and today we received our photo ID cards that we need in order to register with the tax office.  So next week we'll go there, and after that we'll receive our ID numbers, after which we can finally get a bank account, I can get a cell phone, and the kids can go to preschool.  Until then, though, we're using our American credit card which has an international surcharge, so it's that much more painful for me to spend money right now.  Maybe I should tell you more about the grocery store after we get our Swedish debit cards and our car arrives (March 24).  Until then my million-dollar idea is to make a game show where the contestants have to walk to a city-size grocery, keep to a budget for all ingredients labeled in a foreign language and with a price 7x the normal number, carry items to an apartment kitchen, then prepare a healthy dinner for a family of four. The judges will be a panel of picky eaters.

I miss Wegmans.


Anonymous said...

Oh Anne...I'm sorry it's tricky but this is bringing back memories of getting used to life in France. My host mom did the grocery shopping for us so I didn't really have to deal with that, but I do remember all the confusing stuff like having to figure out how to set up a bank account, find the random sketchy doctor's office for the required chest x-ray (for the visa), get a tram pass, navigate the student restaurants, etc. I'm sure you're looking forward to when this is all natural and routine!

Anonymous said...

We do LOVE a great grocery store, don't we?
I remember when the missionaries came to winchester and spent HOURS in the store! Looking at EVERYTHING
I thought they were fascinated, just realized they were trying to READ the stuff! HA!
One day you will look back and think this is funny, and it will make a GREAT story! But alas, you are all hungry and rapidly losing weight!
Don't worry, I'll cook dinner fir you when I come!

J. said...

Does Sweden have anything like Costco? Or anywhere to get pizza and sodas for $2 in the food court? Jill