I've always been slightly amused and confused by what I always thought was my parents' tendency to hoard food and household supplies. A pantry stuffed to overflowing with canned goods, a second refrigerator/freezer in the garage, the main freezer stuffed to overflowing with meat, veggies, leftovers. Why? I wondered, you can always go to the store if you run out of something. Their explanations that they were stocking up for hurricane season or that it was a mentality brought on by the severe shortages they sometimes experienced when we were living in Jamaica in the '70s, the uncertainty of never knowing if you could find food, made sense but always made me shake my head.
Ahh, how things have changed. My experiences with food here --the finding, buying and cooking of food-- have been one of the most difficult things about living in Pristina, and have made a hoarder out of me in just three short weeks. I can't wait to get back home to cut up and freeze whole sides of beef, entire pigs, as much fish as I can stuff into Ziplocs. I may even take up canning. I will always have a special shelf or maybe a whole closet dedicated to nothing but paper products. I will be like those crazy cat collectors you see on "Animal Cops" but with toilet paper and crackers instead of animals. It's not that you can't get food here. It's the energy that it takes to get to the store, to try to interpret what is there, to determine if it is fresh, to communicate with the people in the stores, not to mention that without a car you are limited as to how much you can buy. It makes you want to stock up, hoard, buy it all, because you never know if and when you'll be able to get back. There's also no take-out, delivery or fast food, those mainstays of busy city lives, to fill in the gaps. Add to that the pressure of feeding a three-year old who could live on Fruit Snacks and Chik-fil-A, and believe me, you start fantasizing about supermarkets.
I'm going to go inventory the pudding supply right now.
A note to readers who may stumble onto our blog by chance or happenstance: the reason we are in Kosovo is that my husband (M), who is a lawyer, is part of a joint effort between local and international agencies that are working to develop a court system for Kosovo. In a nutshell. There is much more to it than that I'm sure. Because he was asked to be here for a couple months, we decided that it would be better for my almost-3 year old daughter (D) and I to join him rather than hang out all alone in Florida for the summer. So yeah, despite all my griping, we actually chose to come here.