Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Chubby Shrimp Frube

It is the first day of September.

Today is the one month mark for us, from when we left home. The weather has been really nice, especially after the crazy heat of Nashville. We've enjoyed wearing sweatshirts and boots, and even splashing in a few puddles. We are told that the novelty will wear off, and I'm sure it will happen. For now, however, the absence of sweat betwixt every crevice is quite refreshing.

We've had quite a nice time thus far, getting to know the city in bits as we travel hither and yon to find towels, a toaster, a doctor. Galway is a nice place, for however long we call it home.

We've also had a hard time, and I find it hard to explain. The girls miss their friends and their bed and the familiarity that home provides. I miss those things as well, but mostly I mourn the life that we left behind. Life, we know, doesn't always turn out the way we planned. When plans change, for good reasons or no, the result is a death of one way of life. Over dramatic? Perhaps, if I was just referencing a change in schedule. But this is much, much more. I'm quite happy with the decisions we've made that you may or may not be privy to. I'm content with a new direction for my family, one that will allow us to be ourselves and not cater to the whims of spiritual popularity. And yet, the change in direction causes me to wonder if it is the last few years that held little purpose, or the following ones.

Isn't that fun? Don't you feel lighthearted now? You will soon, never fear.

I went to Dunne's (grocery) last week to buy some bread. Moira and I put on our jackets and braved the windy night to get some space. We love our apartment, but sometimes there are too many feelings and too few rooms, and one needs a chance to go outside and be windblown. The thoughts of the preceding paragraphs were on my mind as we walked. I could tell that Moira was near tears, and that her thoughts would be close enough to my own. I was pretty sad, she was pretty sad, and we were headed to the store. Perhaps we'd pick up some ice cream, as it is a known depression-deterrent.

We were trudging through the store when a strange word flashed across my path. It stood out among the many packages, which is really quite a feat when all the packages are foreign to me. Aunt Jemima is not here, nor is Uncle Ben or the Quaker's oat man, and it is quite the visual assault to take in all these new boxes and fonts.

I laughed out loud and Moira looked up from examining the floor tiles. I told her what the strange word was, and we both laughed. It felt pretty good in that moment, just to laugh at something nonsensical. She wanted to see this for herself, so we walked back to the aisle and saw this:

"Frubes!" I laughed, trying to speak quietly. "They have something called Frubes!"

Moira laughed so hard that people looked at us. "Mom!" She could barely breathe now, "It comes in pouches!"

We stumbled through the next few aisles, stopping to bend over and laugh silently, which now had nothing to do with trying to be polite. It was just so funny, and particularly in light of our recent funk. 

We were discussing all the humor that Frubes can conjure when we were then delighted to find this gem:

For only one Euro, you too can have Black Pudding Chubb! 

We were now in desperate need of a bathroom, as the word 'chubb' was too much after the hilarity of the pouches of Frube. We were highly inappropriate, and no doubt immensely undignified as we attempted to find where Dunne's hides their butter. Along the way, we pointed out the funny unfamiliar names, and rhymed everything we could with the word 'chubb'. A few poems may have been made, but I cannot vouch for their genius. 

Moira and I paid, came home, and had some ice cream. We shared our findings, and had a good laugh about the funny differences between cultures. We now keep an eye open for such things that can be photographed, and I do my best to remain nonchalant as I snap a quick picture. 

The gummy candy selection is interesting. I've had amazingly tasty jelly snakes, which really is quite the same thing as a gummy worm, whatever the name. However, the presence of candy foam shrimp is something I haven't yet grown used to. I've seen this in several places, so thus the picture. At first I was convinced it was an oddity sweet, like gummy severed heads or kumquats. But the shrimp keep appearing, leading me to believe that they are more normal than I first believed. Perhaps they are like the scary orange circus peanuts that all Southern children found in the purses of their grandmothers. While I don't like circus peanuts, I don't think they are particularly strange. I've never thought to take a picture of them while shopping for bread, at any rate.

This raises an interesting question about the way we are conditioned. I don't notice circus peanuts on a shelf because, in my experience, they are 'normal'. Frubes and Chubby pudding jump out at me, because, in my experience, they are 'different'. 

I don't mind people laughing at things in my own culture that are 'different'. When a visiting European friend was alarmed at what went into biscuit gravy, and declined to eat it, I had to stop and think about how gross it kind of is. I ate it anyways, because Jesus ate white gravy.

Coming from a different perspective might help further illustrate my thoughts. 

Shortly after arriving in town, I went to Boots to buy shampoo, soap, and lotion. There were a few familiar bottles, a few familiar names. But the prices...not so much. I don't use Blandi hair care, but I also don't use Suave. I normally buy such things at Target, so it wasn't a stretch to assume I could buy such things here. And in the end, I did. But I found the process mildly fascinating. I was astounded that one could buy Toni&Guy shampoo for less than Aussie shampoo. If you don't know shampoo, let's say that I discovered you could buy a Jaguar for less than a Honda. It was weird. I kept rechecking, looking around at other brands to see if I had lost my ability to read...and it remained that some 'cool' brands in the U.S. were cheaper than the 'not as cool' brands. 

I'm sorry to say I was a bit lost. How would I know what to buy? Independent as I might consider my opinions, they are still largely fashioned by the society in which I've read, watched, and listened. If all shampoos were equally priced, how would I know what to buy?

At home, if something says 'European' or 'Made in London', the cool factor is increased. We naturally assume that they know what they are doing, are far more posh than we are, and know how to dress/eat/wash/live. Sometimes, many times, that might be true. But often still, it is not. If England wants to export their rubbish soap to America and charge extra, it still should be rubbish soap. 

Between the foamy shrimp, the shampoo at Boots, and a healthy dose of skepti-pessimism, I'm left to wonder what is normal, what is good, and what is simply rubbish chubb. 

1 comment:

Nanny Karri said...

I'm really enjoying following your journey. I know it's culture shock and with the girls, it's a huge adjustment. I've been following a young woman's blog through Caring Bridge for a couple of years. She had a full term, perfectly healthy, still born little girl named Anna. While testing to see what could have caused this, they found colon cancer. She just witnessed her oldest son's 5th birthday. She was buried yesterday. Her blog was called "Savour the day.", and she did.

Savour this journey. It's a chance of a lifetime and you're obviously in God's will. There is no telling where you will go from here or where you will end up. But then again, none of us know what's ahead in this life.

You are all on an adventure, Savour this adventure. I will understand if you don't let this post go through. It's really just meant for you. I love you all and I am just a little jealous. John and my dream is to retire to Tuscany and open a B & B.