Saturday, May 08, 2010

The second haul

Our friends Dawn and Darren, American expats, arrived from Wellington yesterday. In the afternoon, I picked them up at their hotel and took them to Martha’s Backyard, the Auckland store selling products imported from America. Some of what Dawn and Darren bought was for folks back in Wellington. Sadly, I can’t claim anything similar (my haul is pictured above—don’t judge).

The store’s selection was different than the last time I was there, which is to be expected. This time they had Twinkies in stock. Despite ignoring the email inviting me to rush in and buy some, I ended up taking home a box of 20 (what was I thinking?). Most of the rest of my haul was, like my first trip, purely because of nostalgia.

It’s good that the stuff I bought isn’t available in New Zealand or I’d end up larger than our house. Did I say not available in New Zealand? Today I saw the “Reese’s Crispy Crunchy” at our local dairy; I’d never even heard of it until I went to Martha’s and now I see it available at a local store.

Speaking of not knowing, I saw bottles of drink for sale, but I didn’t recognise the label. I thought it looked like one of those high caffeine, high sugar “energy” drinks. “That’s Gatorade”,” Darren told me. The bottle’s shape and label had changed completely in the years since I left the US.

And that’s the irony of the whole thing. Many products reminded me of years gone by, bits and pieces from my own past. But many of them don’t have the same packaging that I remember, and it turns out the realities of the contents don’t connect with my memories, so are they really a connection with my past?

In a sense, it doesn’t really matter. I see the products and have a nostalgic connection; as an expat, that’s something I can’t experience all that often. People who don’t move far from home have touchstones to keep them connected to their past. But those who move far away, especially those who move to another country, lose those connections.

Junk food can be a force for good.


d said...

Thanks for taking us to Martha's Backyard! Darren has already eaten a few of his pop tarts, and I've made waste of a few other things myself. =) We'll definitely need to hit the gyn this week!!

Arthur Schenck said...

It's more fun to go to a place like that with others, and it was especially fun to take you two. I'm pleased to say that most of my haul is still here… so far!