You have heard of Baby Showers and Bridal Showers of course. I think I have come up with a new category for giving someone a shower; the Welcome Back to the US Shower. (LOL. Okay, just kidding.)
The other day Mike and I were reminiscing about some of the household items we had to give up when we left the US that were the hardest for us to let go of. Items we dearly miss, not because of their value but because of their function in our daily lives and how much easier they made things for us.
These are the items you will find once again in our cupboards when we return to the US;
A vacuum cleaner
Even though I have all tile floors here in Spain and mostly we had all tile or wooden floors in every place we have lived I have to say not being able to vacuum every day makes me crazy. Here in Spain there is a constant source of dust or sand on the floors. Literally one needs to sweep or wash the floors here on a daily basis. The lobby of our apartment building is mopped every second day because of the amount of dust that is on everything here. It is hard to keep up with it all. The same problem exists in Panama and other countries we have lived in. Having a vacuum would just be easier since I could just vacuum whenever I wanted and can keep up with the dust and dirt. People don’t have a vacuum in many of the places we have lived because the cost to own one is high; there is the cost of the vacuum itself, replacement bags to put in it and then the cost of the electricity to run it. In countries where most people do not own clothes dryers they most likely won’t own a vacuum either.
A coffee grinder
Okay, Mike and I are coffee snobs. I will admit that. When we lived in Olympia, WA, he and I used to have our own coffee grinder and we would head to Batdorf and Bronsons and buy some of the best blends of coffee beans we could afford. Then we lived in Central America and we were exposed to excellent coffee made from beans from Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. Our coffee grinder was the last piece of our US life we gave up. We carried it with us for the first two years of our travels. I know that’s seriously coffee addictive behavior. Coffee in much of the rest of the world is third rate and not worth drinking. They drink instant coffee in so many countries that I’d rather drink tea than drink this stuff so we stopped carting around the coffee grinder. We either couldn’t find coffee beans to put in the grinder or the cost was so over the top we just couldn’t justify buying them.
A rice cooker
I might be Italian but I actually like and eat more rice than I do pasta. I like brown rice best and Mike and I would eat quite a bit of it when we lived in the states. I had my own rice cooker and used it at least twice a week. Now that we don’t have a rice cooker I am not making rice nearly as much as I used too. Of course in many countries around the world they do not sell brown rice so we eat less rice overall. I have problems with digesting white rice so it’s just not worth eating. Yes, having a rice cooker is at the top of my list of the items I dearly want once again in my kitchen.
When I was growing up and didn’t feel well my grandmother would make me tea and toast. So I always associated eating toast with feeling better, because I always did after grandma took care of me. We don’t have a toaster here in Spain; it was broken in the cupboard from a past tenant and the landlord doesn’t seem inclined to replace it. We don’t buy electronics we are just going to leave behind so we have learned to live without. This is not the first country we have had no toaster and I’m sure it won’t be the last. As with a vacuum cleaner not only is the cost of buying the item high for many locals but the cost to run it is high too. Or maybe they just don’t see the need to have one. As in most countries we have lived they buy fresh bread on a daily basis. This isn’t bread that looks like it came from a factory; it is hard crusty bread in a free form loaf, so it’s not the type of bread that would work well in a toaster anyway.
When I met Mike he had his own set of cutlery. The high end type that came in its own butcher block and you could hear a great Ginsu chef calling out when you use them telling you to be careful least you cut off your own finger. Mike loved that knife set. I learned how a good knife should filet and effortlessly slide through meat and the difference between a good knife set and the cheesy sets you can find in discount grocery stores. This will be the item at the top of Mike’s list to have once again in any place we decide to call home.
Don’t worry; I won’t be sending out Shower invitations when we land in the US. I will however scour the second hand stores looking for all of these things and I know I’ll find them eventually. Most likely from those who are going to sell everything they own and travel the world for an extended period of time; from people just like us.