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.
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.]
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!
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.
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.