Five Simple Things #6 {American Expat Style}

Happy Wednesday friends! I hope you are all enjoying your week. If you’re having my kind of week, you’re on your way to finishing a case bottle of wine so far this week. That being said let’s take a look at last week….hmm….that one is not much better.

  • The United States begins a government shutdown resulting in closures of federal and public facilities which results in furloughs which results in a continued spiraling domino effect.
  • The company I used to work for (Indiana University Health) completed a planned lay off of 933 employees most of which came from the downtown Indianapolis area. I knew many of these people and several were colleagues.
  • A close friend of mine had a tragic incident with a family member.

That’s just naming a few things which I think are significant enough without going on any further. My point is that last week sucked for many, many people. While these things did not necessarily impact me directly, it doesn’t negate the fact that they affected me.

In lieu of all that seriousness, sometimes gratitude isn’t enough. Sometimes you need humor. You need to find something to laugh at to relieve the stress or sadness. You need to remind yourself of the little things even more which brings me to this week’s showcase of my five simple things.

For last week, I could sum up being thankful for one thing: military families. I am lucky enough to be acquainted with (hopefully becoming better friends with) some Americans who are stationed here with the military. They were kind enough to share with me a few items I can’t get in Germany.

cheerios1. Cheerios. The monster loves these and I have to say, I do too. They sell some similar things here in Germany, but they are just not the same.

cereal bars2. Cereal Bars. They have nothing like this in Germany. You can buy fruit bars or granola bars but not what we know as cereal bars. The monster loves these as well. Are you noticing a pattern yet?

turkey bacon

3. Turkey Bacon. Ok please forgive the horrible picture, but I thought while sharing that I have 5 packs of turkey bacon in my freezer, I could also show a typical German freezer. And how do you take a good photo of the inside of a freezer?? Yes, you can buy larger ones, but most are this size and many only have chest freezers in their basement. Anyway, back to bacon. Who doesn’t love bacon? Yes, they also sell it here (speck) but it is very different. Plus, I like the lean version that turkey bacon has to offer. My favorite sandwich is a BLT. I could live off of these and I’m not kidding about that. I’m so happy there is bacon in my freezer that I almost can’t eat it. ALMOST.

tortilla chips

4. Tortilla Chips. Oh for the love of all that is holy, tortilla chips. I have missed you. Again, they sell these here too, but they taste like the fat-free baked version; a little like salted cardboard in my opinion. For the life of me I can’t figure why they would taste different. I’ve heard it’s the oil they use, but for whatever reason they do and it’s another thing that just can’t be substituted.

pop tarts

5. Pop Tarts. Well you know, what kind of American would I be if I didn’t get some? Haha. Only kidding. I honestly wanted these for a “special” treat for the monster to give him to help ease the tantrums he has been throwing while out shopping. I do like them too, but it’s something I could live without and they definitely aren’t healthy in any way.

Those are just a few of the food items I miss from home. I am so thankful for being able to receive these. It is a wonderful treat and like I said, we are so excited that we are hoarding everything and almost afraid to eat it!

What are some food items or products you miss from home? What are you thankful for?

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47 Responses to Five Simple Things #6 {American Expat Style}

  1. Dee says:

    It’s a typical expat trait, to be happy with food from back home. I didn’t even realize that my favorite cuisine was from my own country until I left. Glad you got these goodies to make you happy. :)

  2. bevchen says:

    We have Nutri Grains in the UK. I always found them too sweet though.

    Our Karstadt sells Pop Tarts… and other supposedly American things (including a cake that clearly states “Made in the UK” on the back…)

    I mostly miss junk food… all the “interesting” crisps like Quavers, Hula Hoops, Monster Munch, Wotsits. Galaxy chocolate. Proper bacon!!! (not this pathetic stuff that shrivels up to nothing as soon as you get it near a pan). Gravy granules… Maggi’s so-called “Bratensauce” is weak and pathetic in comparison.Allll the biscuits… Bourbon creams and Gingernuts and dark chcocolate Hobnobs. Not custard creams though… I don’t miss those ;-) Ooh, and Red Leicester cheese and Heinz cream of chicken soup (which isn’t actually all that nice when I think about it, but when I’m ill I neeeeeeeeeeeeeed it!!). And squash (as in the drink, not the vegetable: ). I should stop now before my comment is as long as your post ;-)

    • Haha. I love this comment! It totally shows how we can go on and on about the food we miss from home. I don’t particularly care for cereal bars but my boy loves them and they are easy for him to eat since he’s still working on that whole teeth thing. They sell pop tarts here too but I’m not paying 6€! I love the “American” aisle at our local grocery. I’ve seen some good ones but the one here is pretty funny and pathetic. Hmmm….I should photo it and share it one day!


  3. Wow. You Americans really do eat health food!

  4. Sara says:

    Cheerios! I wish we could get some of these. The multi grain o cereal here has a lot of sugar in it ;(

  5. I miss Cheerios, I have (from the base) some Velveeta mac and cheese (which is not the same as Kraft squeeze cheese, but beggars can´t be choosers). I miss Whole Foods deli section (badly). I miss large salad bars (badly). I miss Sour Cream and Cheddar Chips, Breakstone´s Reduced Fat Sour Cream, bagels and American bacon. Oh yeah, and pastrami sandwiches, and taylor ham.
    I miss Pumpkin flavored everything too.
    Yum yum yum.

    • Haha. I bought some mac and cheese too, but I’m fine making it myself except you can’t find cheddar anywhere here to save your life. I’ve tried a few and it’s just really really not the same. I miss salad bars too!

      • bevchen says:

        I’m seriously wondering what American Cheddar is like, cos I’ve seen a few times that it’s supposed to be “not the same” here. I can Cathedral City blocks of cheddar and some sliced stuff that claims to be “traditional Irish Cheddar” and both taste fine to me…

      • Well I have some right now I should have you try! Haha. I don’t know. I don’t think it’s as strong. I can’t even eat Irish cheddar. I tried it and spit it out.


      • bevchen says:

        Hmm, I have no idea what you call Cheddar then. Im claiming ours is the “real” cheddar though, seeing as Cheddar Gorge is in England ;-)

      • Haha. Your cheddar may be closer to our “sharp” version of cheddar which we don’t usually use in most recipes and I don’t like it either. I’m thinking ours is just more milk as most things seem to be in the states. At least, that’s what I’ve noticed since living here. Bread is a prime example.

  6. I crave all the snack foods I never ate in the US, but now that I don’t have the option of eating them should I so desire, I’ll happily sell my soul for Cheezits or Goldfish or Brown sugar cinnamon Poptarts. My mom regularly sends me canned pumpkin though, so that keeps me happy :)

  7. Ace says:

    Oh, the food longings of an expat. LOL, I don’t judge, I’m the same way, and I’m rather jealous of your haul there. I too miss Whole Foods deeply and Target’s snack section.

  8. OMG, (a) Turkey Bacon and (b) German Freezers! Exactly!!!!

    I do miss my American freezer! I used to make so many soups ahead of time and just freeze them in individual serving-size containers for my husband’s lunch. I also used to freeze my own pre-cut vegetables too. Unfortunately here we have no place/luxury for a freezer in the basement.

    I really miss Braggs Liquid Aminos (a substitute for soy sauce), good salsa and hot sauces, Vegannaise (vegan mayonnaise substitute that doesn’t IMO taste like crap) and Pensy’s spices as well as a few other things but the longer I live away from the US, the more improvising I have done, or gone without entirely.

    • Exactly! I hate not being able to make batches of things and freeze them. We actually have another little small freezer in addition to that. I could’ve sworn I saw Braggs here. I think they sell it at Bungert in Wittlich…..maybe even the Veganaise. (I used to be vegan)

  9. Amanda says:

    I love Cheerios! Bummer you can’t get them! It has been a rotten week for a lot of people. A huge company laid off a bunch of people in my city too. Hopefully it gets better soon.

  10. Haha, I can understand missing all of those things… except turkey bacon. How about I send you every package I can get my hands on so long as I never have to eat it again?! I lived in Australia for awhile and and I definitely missed the way bacon is cut/prepared in the US. I couldn’t handle the really wide, fat strips of bacon that were never cooked crispy enough.

  11. Every time I go to my (fellow expat) hairdresser I bring her Lucky Charms and bacon. Just spreadin the love!

  12. estherjulee says:

    germany does have some great snacks of their own.. haribos and chocolate! :P but there are certain things that you just miss from the states. i only lived there 3-4 months.. but whenever i got a package with something as simple as the cereal i used to eat, i would get SOO excited! i know exactly how that feels. if you ever run low on your supply, i don’t mind sending you a shipment.

  13. sarainlepetitvillage says:

    TURKEY BACON!!!! God I miss turkey bacon!

  14. Kate says:

    Cheerios & pop tarts??!!?!?! Gaaahhhhhh I am craving those so badly right now! We have them in England too and they are delish.

    I’m sorry to hear about your bad week, I think writing a post like this is a good idea as it helps you find your silver lining :)

    • There is just something about cheerios and it helps that they are healthy! Yes, I agree writing the post does help. Participating in this every week makes a difference in my life. People should really try it out.

  15. Sam says:

    It’s funny the things you end up craving when you’re away from America. I remember in Cambodia we’d die for some Oreos and mint milan cookies. We could find them in the big cities and would stock up. I don’t think I’ve had the slightest craving for either since I’ve been back. I totally get the pop tart thing. Oh P.S. I posted about the snail mail package you sent me on my blog today. Hopefully you get some love for it, because it was such a great package.

    • Haha we got some vanilla Oreos too. And yah we never bought pop tarts when we lived in the states….maybe once in a blue moon.
      Thanks! I can’t wait to get mine. I’m sure it’s held up at German customs. They always seem to take forever.

  16. Tooooortilla chips. Thank goodness for generous military friends! Mac N Cheese (not Easy Mac, because we have no microwave - important) and salsa are always on our request list!

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