A Little Bit of Home

Travelling and living overseas definitely comes with a lot of perks. There is the joy of experiencing a new country and all of its cultural intricacies. There’s the food [oh, there is so much delicious food]. There’s the fact that you’re on holiday and therefore not working (or in my case, working but not really working). And, of course, there are all the amazing people you meet and the new friends you get to add on Facebook as evidence of your adventure. These are all great, but I have to confess, one of my favourite parts of living overseas is… receiving care packages from home!

When you live in a condo in Toronto, the excitement of receiving a package starts well before you arrive home and check your mailbox. Part way through yesterday, our friendly concierge gave us a courtesy telephone call to let us know a package had been delivered. When I got home, I was slightly confused by the box presented to me, which was somewhat larger than I anticipated our recent Book Depository order to be. Upon closer inspection, I was pleased to uncover that the postage stamp was one from home.

Care Package from Australia

As an aside, I can’t believe it cost AUD$71.20 to ship this package to Canada, particularly considering the contents probably didn’t amount to nearly that much! I am feeling very loved.

Tristan and I took great pleasure in opening the package, which I assume was organised by my sister Fiona who had clearly taken messages from everyone in the family and then tried to transcribe each in slightly different handwriting. [One of the woes unique to large families is that rarely does a card make it around to everyone before it needs to be delivered to the recipient.]

A Very Lim Card

Good effort, Fiona!

As always, my dad filled his part of the card with very Confucius-esque words of wisdom:

Both of you are to go slow on these delicacies.  They, if consume in large amounts, may puffed both you up beyond recognition.  Food things are to be savoured in small quantities gradually.

My dad’s advice giving style lacks subtlety, however, he is rarely wrong. And in this case, his advice is both accurate and very much a necessasity as our care package was filled with… well, chocolates and sweets and all the foods capable of expanding one’s girth in a very small amount of time.

So, what do two Aussies need when they are living in Canada? Here’s what was included in our care package:

Personally, I am very extremely excited to get stuck into the SUPER crunchy peanut butter. For reasons unknown to me, the Canadian supermarkets we frequent (although I suspect this may be a Canadian thing in general) appear to have a totally bizarre smooth / crunchy variety peanut butter ratio. On a recent trip to our local Loblaws (pretty much a Canadian Woolies), I uncovered six types of smooth peanut butter – whipped, unsweetened/unsalted, extra creamy, light smooth, organic smooth, and regular smooth – but only one variety of crunchy, described simply as ‘crunchy’. Outrageous!

Anyway, it’s always nice to receive a little piece of home. You often don’t realise what you miss until you don’t have it and can’t easily acquire it. As a devout foodie, the differences in food is one of the things I notice the most when travelling. I often find myself craving Vegemite on toast for brekky during long holidays, so much so that I now pack myself a little Vegemite supply [to be fair though, it is an excellent source of B vitamins, providing you tonnes of energy when you’re exploring on foot all day]! And when Tristan’s folks recently visited, I placed a special order for canned beetroot (a.k.a. Canadian beets). It’s not that Australian beetroot is better than the Canadian beet, but they definitely taste different and when making Aussie burgers on a weekend, one must use canned Aussie beetroot!

Tristsan with our Treats

This one is just because I love using Tristan as my model – he does make an excellent one!

A huge thank you to the Lim family (including honorary Lim, Kat) – your surprise really made my week! We are going to have to put together a box of Canadian goodies to send back to Australia soon. Add your wish list to the comments below and we will do our best.

– C


P.S. The header image for this post is an aerial photograph of our home town immediately before Toronto. I took this photo of Canberra while drifting through the sky in a hot air balloon – an incredible experience with a second to none view, particularly over a planned city like Canberra.

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12 thoughts on “A Little Bit of Home

    • I don’t know, Annie… super crunchy peanut butter is in short supply here. We may be the only people in Canada with a jar! That said, we do have Aussies visiting over the Christmas/New Year break so perhaps we can spare a little bit for you to try 😝 Beware: once you go super crunchy, you never go back!

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  1. Looks like I better bring the big suitcase Cindy 😛

    Do you know another thing that’s hard to get ? Kraft marmalade! Euge had the little portion packs when he was in hospital and totally started liking marmalade. So off he goes looking for Kraft marmalade in the supermarkets …not available! Then we moved to Hawthorn and at least the supermarkets here are a bit fancy 😛 Our local has at least 12 kinds of marmalade !! So Euge has put aside the hope of Kraft marmalade and is ‘ making do ‘ with ultra gourmet thick cut high fruit Seville Orange Scottish marmalade (no doubt hand stirred in heavy copper kettles by rosy cheeked lasses in billowing white aprons.. for my gourmet dollar they had better be tidy cheeked!)

    So Kraft got him on the right track at least LOL.

    Do you like marmalade ??

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    • Definitely bring your big suitcase as we will have a few orders to put in to last us until our next set of Australian visitors.

      For the Kraft marmalade, my suggestion would be to hit up McDonald’s during the breakfast hours. They have lots of spreads in single serve packets (or at least they used to). Personally, I’m more of a savoury breakfast spread kinda gal, but I reckon I could do marmalade on pancakes for dessert. We will have to give it a try when you visit!

      – Cindy

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  2. Hey you two – I’ve been following a spate of tumblerites complaining about how they can’t get Malaysian coffee (or even much Malaysian cuisine) in Canada (or Chicago for that matter). Now I swear the parents said there was a huge Malaysian community in Toronto – but enquiring minds now need to know: if you wanted Nyonya Kaya on your toast (or Hainanese chicken rise for dinner), can you find it?

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  3. Wow! That is a fantastic care package from home!!

    Is that Lamington flavoured Cadbury I spy? If so is it new?

    I was disappointed when I purchased Kraft Peanut Butter in Canada in our initial shop after we moved. I thought it tasted so different to the Kraft from home. I have since purchased various brands and have found the Skippy Brand to taste the most similar but I’m a smooth girl so I’m not sure about the Crunchy comparison.

    Loblaws sell Tim Tam’s but only original and sometimes dark, never the cool/unique flavours.

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    • Yep, it’s Lamington flavoured. We haven’t tried it out yet, but you really can’t go wrong coating lamingtons in chocolate!

      Thanks for the tip about the Skippy brand peanut butter. We will have to give it a try. Apparently there are tonnes of places you can crush your own peanut butter, so we haven’t given up hope on finding the perfect level of crunchy in Canada 🙂

      Not sure why all these delicious snacks from Australia aren’t available here (or why there aren’t Canadian versions). The Tim Tam surely is cross-cultural. It is delicious wafer-y biscuit coated in chocolate – who wouldn’t love that? The best flavour was hazelnut. It was one of the original “special” flavours, although not sure it’s still available.

      Since moving to Toronto, have you found any specialty stores stocking Aussie goods? We really miss cordial – like good quality, non-Cotties, liquid based cordial! We have found Ribena in a small Longos, but cordial definitely doesn’t seem to be a Canadian thing. (Milk, on the other hand, is definitely not in short supply. Loved your post about that!)

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  4. I haven’t found a speciality store that stocks Aussie goods, however, I have found Milo in tins at Bulk Barn (a slightly different taste I think) and Fresh and Wild (Corner of Spadina and King) sells Vegemite but then again so does Loblaws.

    Kanga Pies in Duncan Street off Queen West sells Pies and Sausage Rolls and on occasion Lamingtons. They also do decent coffee.

    I happened to notice yesterday that Loblaws had some cordial looking flavours under the PC collections brand (in-house brand) on the end of the aisle with other PC brands and they came in a glass bottle with a pop top and metal seal.

    On Queen West is a BYOB cocktails store and they have a huge range of bitters etc and I have a feeling I may have noticed cordial flavours as well. Next door to it on the corner is another gourmet grocer that may also stock them.

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