Tag Archives: groceries

Impulse Buying

I, admittedly, am an impulse buyer. And unless I am super focused, I will take a tour of the entire store no matter what I came for. I mean, what if I am missing out a great deal in toys because I only want milk?!

Bethany generally understands this about me and since moving in has been a trooper about our weekly grocery shopping. She also (generally) does a good job at steering me away from most of the stuff I want to buy. For example, on any given shopping trip you will hear me say:

  • “I so see an argument for Spiderman place mats.  Look how cool!’
  • “Of COURSE we need a six person tent. It is on SALE.”
  • “Two words: Lego Batman. I think I need this.”
  • “So hear me out, what if we bought a dozen more spoons so we would have to wash dishes less often?” 

Most of the time I am joking but momentarily carried away. (I did buy the stuffed Lego Batman.) The dangerous thing, however, is when Bethany agrees with me. 

Me: “So hear me out…this is a giant stuffed dragon and it is awesome.”

Bethany: “It is super awesome.”

Me: “And our nephew would love it…”

Bethany: “He would.”

Me: “But his parents wouldn’t. So we would have to keep it. And he can play with it when he comes over”

Bethany: “I would put it in my room…”

Me: “So…we’re buying it?”

Bethany: “Yeah, we’re buying it.”

And that is why there is currently a giant, blue, stuffed dragon across from me.

And possibly why Bethany has two Olafs in her room right now. (Sshhhh, one is a gift. So totally justifiable.) 

Influenza: Day 3

Well, by necessity I’m up and moving today. I attended a meeting this morning, then class, swung into the Law Review office to make edits on our latest publication, led four discussion groups, and now am going to try and get a good chunk a 10-page paper written. (Due tomorrow but cannot do tomorrow since tomorrow is packed.)

I’m not feeling 100% (still on a liquid diet with the occasional saltine cracker to keep my spirits up) but Google says I’m not contagious so I’ve decided to be satisfied with that. I already feel like I’ve missed so much of this week!

My sister Bethany, as noted in my last post, is not the most ideal person to have around when sick. I’m sure she means well. But she is the sort of person who, as I go running to the bathroom to lose the contents of my stomach, looks up from her laptop only long enough to shout:

“You better not get me sick!”

She will go grocery shopping for you if you drive her, which is quite nice of her, but she refuses to buy things she doesn’t see the point in (even if using my money.) For example, I give her the following list:

  • Saltine crackers 
  • Water (Dasani preferred) 
  • Ginger ale
  • An iced green tea
  • Banana

She looks it over. “Geesh, you want the expensive water? And you don’t need saltine crackers, I have almond crackers. And why don’t you just drink my old Snapple? And you don’t eat bananas. Why would I get a banana?”

Me: “Snapple is made with black tea and I’d prefer something lighter but still caffeinated. And while I do not like bananas overly much, they are easy to digest.” 

Bethany: * shakes head*

She emerges from the store with

  • Water (Dasani because they were out of the regular cases of water) 
  • Ginger ale (with an apologetic statement that it is off-brand.)
  • Two bananas

Such queries as, “Did I not put saltine crackers on the list?” meet with an eye roll.

She will, however, demand at various intervals over the next few hours why I have not eaten the bananas yet? What WAS the point in getting them? 

Sisters do keep you humble! 

‘Is This Your Watermelon?’

I did the grocery shopping for my family today and decided to get a watermelon. My cart, however, was pretty full and so I stuck it underneath: a risky move. 

I kept staring at it as I walked around Wal Mart, making it sure it wasn’t about to fall out. Wal Mart rearranged while I was in Thailand so it takes twice as long to find anything. The cereal is in the swimsuit section and bacon is now by bagels. Totally confusing. 

So, it took a while. But the watermelon did not fall out.

Triumphantly I exited Wal Mart, loaded down with groceries, when I heard…

“Excuse me, is this your watermelon?”

I look and sure enough. My watermelon decided to make its escape…halfway across the parking lot. 

I ran after it, managed to avoid getting hit by a car, and brought it home once again triumphant in my success. Only to realize…we already have half a watermelon in the fridge.

Friday Adventures

After the excitement of coming home to an apartment with no electricity, yesterday ended on an almost anticlimactic note. Not long after I posted my blog, my landlords sent someone to sort it out. Only my room appeared to suffer an outage. The rest of the building was fine. Three, non-English speaking men showed up and went into the little electrical/storage room that I assume services the entire floor. They then started flipping breakers. Now, I am not entirely sure how breakers work, but it strikes me as singularly inefficient to flip one breaker, look expectantly at the still dark apartment, flip another, look at the apartment, flip another…but eventually it worked and I got electricity again! 

Maybe because of that, or because I got too much sleep, I woke up cranky this morning. I decided to channel my crankiness and finally buy a cell phone and data plan. My previous attempts all came to naught and left me exhausted and frustrated. I figured my crankiness would keep me going. 

Unfortunately, endorphins kicked in on the 2.5 mile walk to the nearest mall and I ceased feeling grumpy. Not that it ended up being only a 2.5 mile walk, as I managed to get lost. I may have no sense of direction but I know how to follow my nose and my nose quickly told me I had no idea where I was. I decided to cross the street. This proved an extremely challenging task as traffic kept whizzing past.

I don’t think I dawdled too long staring at traffic, but apparently I dawdled long enough. A police officer popped out from nowhere and literally stopped all lanes of traffic to help me cross! Sometimes looking helpless works quite effectively. 

Once I crossed over, I found my way to the mall with little difficulty. The malls here are…huge. The one I visited easily had 7 floors. I kept trying to count them from the escalator and then realized I couldn’t even see them all. And this mall isn’t even the biggest or most well known one around! 

Mindful of the advice I received from the internet, I began my phone hunt by comparing the prices of various phone retailers in the mall. By which I actually mean I furtively stole glances at the price tags on the kiosks full of phones and tried not to make eye contact with the salespeople. I’m very susceptible to sales pitches.  

I knew, though, which place I wanted to buy a phone from the minute I saw it. Only females worked there and I immediately liked the look of one, joyful looking saleswoman who barely looked out of her teens. While her knowledge of English lacked breadth, she knew enough to help walk me through the various phones and prices. As I only wanted a basic smart phone, don’t know much about phones, and couldn’t read the packing describing the options anyway, the conversation went something like this: 

Me: “And they all work with Google maps?”

Her: “Yes! Google maps comes with all of them.”

Me: “And I just need to go buy a sim card and data plan? Nothing extra?”

Her: “Yes, they all work that way.”

Me: “…”

Her: “…”

Me: “…”

Her: “…”

Me: “So…how are these different?” 

Her: “They all come with Google maps!”

Me: “Would they work in the United States?”

A confused shrug. 

Her: “This one comes in two colors and this one comes in three.” 

And so forth. I appreciate her patience. Eventually we found one for me. I think she found my inefficiency a form of haggling because she even lowered the price a few times. We parted mutually satisfied and she asked to be friends on Snapchat. 

I then sallied forth to get a data plan. The last time I walked in, I did not realize I was supposed to get a number at the door. I was politely chastised for overlooking this step. Now I confidently walked in and received the little ticket that would send the next person who spoke English in my direction. 

Except apparently no one spoke English today. Or at least, it took 3 of them to help me and I’m not really sure about the results. They asked how long I would be in Thailand and we spent several minutes trying to figure out the translation for “June.” They then disappeared and reappeared with a sim card, a price tag, and the information that I was set for the next 6 months. As I payed an obscenely low amount for the plan, I’m skeptical about how much data I actually received. Unfortunately, all my inquires met with equally blank and confused faces. After posting this, I’m going to try and see if I can figure out what I got! 

I then ventured forth from the mall and – buoyed by success – decided to swing by a drug store and buy face masks. The pollution is down considerably but with all the walking I do, it can’t hurt. Drug stores here keep everything behind the counter so I’ve been too intimidated to buy masks before. The lady who helped me proved very cheerful. After learning I was from the United States, she said it was much colder in Chicago than in Thailand. I agreed and said I was from a place near Chicago. She was delighted by this discovery! For a moment we basked in mutual understanding about the frigidity of Illinois. Then I tried saying something else but we apparently maxed out her English and I was politely dismissed from the store. (Thankfully by that point I acquired a box of face masks.) 

For my final errand, I visited my favorite store: Tesco. In England, Tesco reminded me of Pick ‘n Save. Here it seems more like a Wal Mart. Not that I am complaining. I love that I can buy jam, a mug, and a pillow case in the same place and not have to worry about haggling over anything. 

The only difficulty I ran into at Tesco was finding instant coffee. Actually, finding it was easy. The store carries a variety of instant coffee flavors and types. Finding one, however, that doesn’t list “sugar” as the second ingredient is almost impossible. While I’ve enjoyed waking up to what amounts to little more than hot chocolate every morning, I’m a black coffee kind of girl and I miss it. Forget coffee beans and a coffee pot, though! Everything here comes instant. (In the end I did manage to find a non-sweet mix and am enjoying a cup with Digestive biscuits right now.) 

I walked out triumphant and loaded with groceries. The bag then split down the middle and it dawned on me I had a 2.5 mile walk home. I almost took a taxi but I decided taxis were for the weak and I marched on. By the time I arrived home, my arms were shaking and my legs aching but by golly I made it! 

And so my Friday adventures roll to an end. Sort of. I need to work on a paper tonight (and probably the rest of this weekend, ugh) but I think this feeling of triumphant success should last at least until next weekend’s adventure! 

Cooking Win (Brought to You by Aldi)

I expected tonight’s post to turn into one of those “I tried cooking and failed so spectacularly it was really a win” posts. But actually, my dinner turned out really well. No thanks to me. 

Aldi has these seasoned, uncooked, boneless, skinless chicken breasts that you heat up in the oven. Steps include  “put in pan” and “bake for 15 minutes.” You think ‘how hard can that be?’ I think, ‘That’s what I said about asparagus. And look how that turned out.’

But actually this turned out really well. I probably overcooked it because I was paranoid about raw chicken but even that didn’t harm it too much. A little over-seasoned, maybe, but more flavor than my cooking usually brings. I paired with garlic naan bread (from Aldi) and hummus (also from Aldi) and it ended up really yummy. 

If you’ve seen this and been on the fence about it because it looks like a weird, mushy mess…well, it is worth it! I recommend pairing with $3 wine from Aldi because that is the best deal on the planet. 

Thanks, Mom, for buying me groceries and tolerating my weird experiments! This one was actually a success. 

What do I eat?

“What do you eat?” asks my roommate, peering at the food on my shelf: tofu, shredded cheese, and half-quart of milk. 

“I eat…what’s in my cupboard!” I suggest. We open my cupboard. “Rice! Except…I’m out of rice. Oatmeal. Kiwis. Almonds. And I think I have a pizza in the fridge.” 

“You should go grocery shopping,” she recommends. I think about my bank account and shake my head. 

“It’s enough!” Because somehow, it is usually enough. 

Supper rolls around. I stare at my cupboards, trying to figure out if I had a plan for dinner. Maybe I do need to go grocery shopping. 

Then my other roommate comes home. “Amy! Do you want mussels?” she asks. “I’m heating some up. And we can have rice, peas, yogurt, rolls…” 

There you have it, folks. I haven’t starved this semester because my roommate feeds me. Yet another reason to be grateful for the girls who share this tiny living space with me!