Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

It’s a First World Problem . . .

I grew up stockpiling.

“Winter is coming” is nothing new when you grow up in Alaska. As soon as the catalogs came in, we ordered snowsuits so they would arrive before winter. Being a child, I don’t understand exactly why everything had to be in place before winter struck, but I think it had something to do with shipping channels being unpassable.

It was good preparation for my years of life overseas. Even living in Germany in the 1960’s, there were things we brought with us – shoes, madras, chocolate chips – things we could only get in the USA. As the years went by, and we hauled huge suitcases back and forth from Germany to university and back (the airlines were so much more generous in their luggage policies then), and then, as a young wife, back and forth to our postings in Germany and the Middle East.



I remember one Ramadan in Tunisia, where suddenly, there was no heavy cream. There were no eggs! I learned to buy ahead, to stockpile; it’s been a lifetime habit.

Where is this going, you are asking?

Maybe I’ve been in one place too long. Maybe I am starting to lose my fine edge, my compulsion to be prepared.

I had a group in last week, a group I entertain two or three times a year. It’s not a big deal, I write out my plans, make sure I have what I need, I execute the plan.

Part of the plan, this time, was a large tray full of lunch meats and cheeses, and little buns to make sandwiches. As I was putting out all the food, I found the perfect small crystal bowl for the mayonnaise.

But there was no mayonnaise. Not in my refrigerator. Not in my (well-stocked) pantry. No matter how much I looked, there was no mayonnaise.

I didn’t even have time to be horrified; I had people arriving. I put out mustards, and pickle relish, and butter, and a bowl of sour cream and no one asked about mayonnaise.

Later, I was telling AdventureMan how I’d been caught short. I have a pantry full of  sixteen different little jars of mustard, many jars of peanut butter and cans of tuna and tomato sauce. If there’s a remote chance I will need something, it is in my pantry. There are times I find myself shopping and thinking “Oh! I always need coffee! (or tea, or chili powder, or chutney or . . . ) and when I get it home, I discover I already have a goodly supply. I don’t NEED more.

But how could I run short of mayonnaise?

AdventureMan just grinned. “It’s a first world problem,” he said.

June 15, 2016 - Posted by | Alaska, Cross Cultural, Cultural, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Quality of Life Issues, Shopping


  1. I don’t think my last comment posted…so I’ll post it again.

    Making my own mayo has become a habit since German mayo spoiled me. Plus it takes less than 2 minutes with an immersion blender – no slow trickle of oil required. I throw the egg/lemon juice/oil/salt into a container and blitz it with the blender and I have delicious silky mayo. Now to convince myself I don’t need any since I’m moving out of my apartment on Monday and back to the US at the end of the month…

    Comment by Emma | June 16, 2016 | Reply

  2. I do make my own mayo, from time to time! Like you, I love it. I make it particularly when I need a garlic mayonnaise for seafood – but on Friday, I had people arriving momentarily! I was at a loss! And you! You are my hero, making mayonnaise with a new baby!

    Comment by Intlxpatr | June 16, 2016 | Reply

  3. I am so glad I’m not the only one with this problem. Do you know how many jars of chili powder I have but ended up with no garlic powder–one of my staples?

    Comment by momcatwa | June 19, 2016 | Reply

    • LOL, you can I are cut from the same cloth, Momcatwa 🙂

      Comment by intlxpatr | June 19, 2016 | Reply

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