29 October, 2013

Surprise at Costco

I went to Costco again today. I took a friend who does not have a car, so rarely goes. It was fun to talk/listen nonstop for several hours. 

My big surprise was being able to buy reasonable prices soapless wash! I even had a choice. That's the first time. My skin is too sensitive to use ordinary soap so I've had to bring soap with me when we come back from Australia. Last spring both younger boys developed eczema, so finding soapless body wash was quite a find. 

Not too long ago I had a conversation with some missionary ladies about overseas visitors. Everyone in the conversation had a story (or two) of visitors who'd taken for granted what the missionaries had available to share. 

The problem is that things you can buy readily in the local shop at home you can't assume that they will be easy to find in another country. That's the same wherever you're from. Japanese have this problem in Australia and Australians have this problem in Japan.

For example, real cheese is difficult to find (i.e. not the processed kind) at a reasonable price. So are ingredients like icing sugar, desiccated coconut, golden syrup, and chocolate chips. Items like peanut butter, zucchini, and sweet chilli sauce used to be more difficult to find than they are now, but gradually more of these Western foods are appearing.

The difficulty with visitors from home is that they can assume that whatever you have in the house is easily available for purchase. Whereas some aren't and are generally strictly rationed out by the missionary for maximum enjoyment because those items aren't easily replaced. So it is a joy when you find something you previously had to ration out carefully has become an easily available product.

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