Let me start this blog by clearing up a few things. In Germany a person can find peanut butter (though it’s pretty pricey), ziplock bags, tampons, brown sugar, mac and cheese, tortilla chips and chocolate chips. There are plenty of pain meds and vitamins as well. You can order taco seasoning by the case. In other words, the extra 30 pounds worth of luggage we packed after being told we couldn’t find certain things could have been filled with something more useful, like the jacket I decided not to bring, the several shirts Tyler left behind, not to mention the books, oh the books I had to part with.
When we first signed on to move over here, we were warned that Germans do things differently, told to pack things like cooking yeast and chocolate chips (or pick another item from the list above) if we really wanted them. Either that or we’d have to have someone ship them to us. We wouldn’t have access to them for the next two years. Which meant we’d have to find room in our luggage for all these things. And with a luggage allotment of 130 pounds per person, we had some trimming to do.
In our last days stateside we packed, weighed, un packed, repacked and weighed again more times than I can count. We crammed things into carry on bags, backpacks, and wore layers and jackets through the airport. Hot and sweaty in my leather jacket, jeans, two pairs of socks and three shirts, I felt okay because I knew that we were taking what we needed. Our discomfort for a day meant that we’d be all set for the next two years. I took it in stride.
Then we arrived at our new home. We began to unpack. And Mark and Nancy, the couple we’re renting, from started asking questions. They wondered why we brought so many baggies and why the super-sized container of vitamins? We told them about the lists that we got and the stories from others who came before us finding that they couldn’t get what they needed.
Nancy smiled “You can buy all of that here,” she explained.
“All of it?”
“All of it.” Mark chimed in.
The following day, Nancy took me to the grocery story. In minutes I found nearly everything I thought we wouldn’t. I was dumbfounded. I came home and confirmed it with Tyler. Then the two of us decided to tell the masses, in one collective voice… pack your clothes, your jackets… for the love of Pete, bring your books, but do not waste the extra space cramming two years worth of ziplock bags and tampons into your luggage. It’s all here.
*A word of truth: PopTarts are nearly 7 Euros a box, taco shells cost 4 Euros for ten, the salsa selection is limited and a 4 pack of Oreos will run you 1.50 Euros.