Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Get Thee to An Asian Market!

I just got home from a monster grocery trip. Daryl wants to try making ramen, and we've been into Mediterranean food lately, so I had to go to three grocery stores! Here's how I did it:
  1. Macey's -- typical American fare
  2. Trader Joe's -- tahini paste and the best granola around
  3. Orem's Asian market -- all the weird stuff that I can't even begin to pronounce
But let me tell you something: I LOVE grocery shopping! I probably did too much today because now my back hurts from standing so long, but good grief! I love it! I especially love the Asian market. It's like treasure-hunting or playing Where's Waldo because I have zero idea what I'm looking for. Nori! La-yu! Mirin! Bonito flakes! It's just a bunch of nonsense until I look it up on Google . . . Thank goodness for Google. Phew!*

Here's what, though: As I walked around the Asian market, I gained an appreciation for immigrants. It's such a challenge to make your way around something as normal as a grocery store when you don't speak the language. I felt mentally tired from trying to make sense of Japanese and Chinese, even though I had the safety net of being in America. What must it be like for immigrants? What must it be like to know that you have to learn a new language for the basic necessities of life? And that when you walk out the door, you still won't really know what's going on? Additionally, the foods you're used to aren't in any of the regular, you-can-find-one-anywhere kind of stores; they're in out-of-the-way specialty markets. What a headache!

I'm sure any of you who've lived abroad or served an LDS Church mission know these feelings all too well, and maybe you're even laughing at me a little. That's fine, but . . . I want you to remember those feelings, especially now, when international travel is severely stifled. Remember what it's like to be new, to be out of your element, to be confused.

It's important, I think, to experience those feelings every once in a while -- even in your own country. It forces you to be grateful for a home or to put yourself in someone else's shoes. It forces you to grow.

What a crazy, wonderful, diverse world we live in. I love it!

*No, it's not the first time I've been to an Asian market, but it's the first time I went to buy a long list of unfamiliar ingredients.

Thing I'm thankful for: the almond cookies I found at the Asian market. I hope they taste just like my best friend's mom's cookies I ate as a child! (She is Taiwanese.)


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