Monday, September 26, 2005

Care package

Today we received one of ten thousand packages my parents have sent us with goods from the good ol' U.S. of A. I then wondered whether or not other ex-pats have packages sent from home from family or friends, with things they just can't (or won't) live without.

Sure, the list could be bigger, if I wanted to impose on my parents more. Our staples happen to be:

  • Tidy Cat litter box liners - I know this seems strange, but there aren't any comparable items here that I have found, and I absolutely MUST line the litter box, and Tidy Cat products are the best in this regard
  • Benadryl - well, this is something I absolutely can't live without, thanks to allergies and those nights when I just can't get to sleep. Safer than sleeping pills, fore sure.
  • McCormick Taco Mix and Sloppy Joe Mix - I doubt these things need to be explained. We can get tortillas here, even salsa, but Mexican food is rare and hard to find (and probably wouldn't be very good if it was). Homemade tacos is the way to go. And yea, I could make Sloppy Joes from scratch but why should I?
  • Lemonade packets - well, you can get ten million kinds of lemon soda here, but ain't nothing like lemonade. Again, I could make it from scratch, but, naaah
  • Lint remover refills - ok, they do have lint remover things here, but I don't find them adequate, and I haven't found any like the Evermore brand ones I already had the stick for. So my parents send the refills.
  • Vanilla flavoring - the vanilla they have here is some weird powdered version that just doesn't work right in my recipes.
  • Canned pumpkin - well, things that are called pumpkins here don't really look like pumpkins to me (they look like what we called gourds) and I don't know how to turn fresh pumpkin into the right pumpkin for pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin cookies. And you can't even have a pretend Thanksgiving dinner without pumpkin pie.
In addition to all these things, they also send the prerequisite mom clippings from the newspaper about various and sundry things, newsletters, and every now and then a videotape they have custom made of their favorite shows. Not to mention various clothing items for birthdays and Christmas.

Before I moved, I never really thought about the fact that there would be things I just couldn't live without. If I had had to make a list prior to moving, I doubt any of these things would have been on it, except for the pumpkin (I actually packed some cans of pumpkin in with the stuff the movers took). It is nice to have parents that take the time to gather the items and send the packages, as much of a pain in the arse it must be. But I have a feeling they don't see it that way.


Vol Abroad said...

Hey, here's how you turn pumpkins and other squash like items into pumpkin related items...

Remove skin, cut up, boil down with a little bit of water (you can speed the process up by microwaving first), and then mix with spices.

I mourned the loss of the canned pumpkin pie filling, but then I just got down to it with a pumpkin and a Joy of Cooking Cook Book. Once you try it, you'll never go back to the canned stuff even if you can.

Oh, and no I don't get any care packages.

muffy said...

oh man you've inspired me to start a "what I want in my care package from Singapore" post. AWESOME.

Good timing too cos I just ran out of stuff!!

PlusI wouldn't want to fill upyour comments with my list!

The SeaWitch said...

Lucky you! They put a lot of effort into your care packages. I love to make Mexican food but they didn't even have tortillas at the supermarkets 8 years ago. If they did, I didn't know about it. LOL But now they have great Old El Paso burrito and taco mixes at Vassilipoulos which I buy and it's pretty good. Knorr also sells taco mixes as well. Vassilopoulos also has some great Thai and Chinese ingredients as well if you're interested. You know what I miss MOST on the grocery shelves here?? Frozen Minute Maid juices and Kraft chip dip. I keep telling my husband we could make a fortune if we imported Minute Maid juices. LOL

Vol Abroad said...

Minute Maid is starting to move into the European market now, with "fresh juices". But I agree, the frozen ones are best. How am I supposed to make a margarita without Minute Maid frozen limeade?

deviousdiva said...

I can't live without english teabags. Liptons tea is the dust that they scrape fron the bottom of the tea box and I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole. I never got a "care package" but I will have to put that one right asap. Wish there was a Sainsburys or Safeways supermarket here. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

litter box liners?! Do you really need to import litter box liners from the USA?


Anonymous said...

There's actually a store here that sells all kinds of imported products. You can get all the US products as well as from all over the world. Check it out at

It's the Aiantos & Xarilaou Trikoupi store in Nea Erythraia that has all the cool goodies...

Meow said...

Hey do they have Skippy extra chunky peanut butter? I can't live without that. LOL

melusina said...

But Vol Abroad, thats a lot of WORK! Haha.

Oh yes, frozen Minute Maid juices. Thats some good stuff. Kraft chip dip - and, hmm, I don't remember the brand now, but someone made a dry onion soup mix that combined with sour cream made an awesome dip.

I got ya on the tea thing diva. My parents sent me a couple of boxes of Twinnings Earl Grey tea. Can't live without it.

Yes, Antonio, I really need to import litter box liners from the U.S. You have NO idea.

Ellasdevil, that is nice for Athenians. We still need to check out the giant Carrefour, see if they have any special goodies.

Meow, they have Skippy peanut butter here (I actually couldn't believe it) but I don't know if they have the extra chunky kind, because I buy the smooth.

Another thing I might ask for in a care package soon is Reeses Peanut Butter cups. Oh man, I miss those.