March 08, 2006

A Propos of Very Little

You know, I'm not about to self-identify as an anti-globalization activist (at least not while I'm eating bananas that cost so little that their price can be put in the "negligible" category, drive a Mexican-built German car, and act like my standard of living is my innate right for the sole reason that I was born in the G8). We all know that there is lots of baggage that comes along with the globalized economy.

But you know what? The first time I saw a Kinder Surprise egg in a Canadian retail outlet, I was ridiculously excited (it was 1989, I was in Peterborough), and I couldn't wait to get one for my sister when she visited - we hadn't seen any of those since we were very small children. These were the days before air travel became something I saw as accessible to me - the days of fuzzy memories of food items from a long ago childhood were something I assumed would always just be nostalgic memories and sometimes a stale product on the shelf of the Imported Foods store in the Sault or the contents of a Christmas parcel.

You'd think that I would welcome this current version of my world, where I can honestly say that if there is a food item that I am used to eating, I can find it somewhere within an hour's drive from me. But when I filled out my customs declaration form somewhere over Labrador the other night, I had to honestly put "$0" in the value of goods and gifts bringing back to Canada box. I have a $750 exemption! I use nothing? But I really had brought nothing back. Not a chocolate bar, even. There was no enthusiasm for chocolate featuring purple cows or tubes (not boxes, tubes) of Smarties or any of a long list of things that I looked at, shrugged, and said, well, I could get that more cheaply at home. Or, why would I lug this across the Atlantic? Maybe if I was into single malt scotch more, the duty free stores would be interesting. As it is, though...

I miss the days of lusting after things and the thrill of finding them. I mean, I have even found Persil washing powder in a local store - and my mother has been asking people to schlep that in their luggage for over 20 years. The only thing that has so far eluded me is her other obsession, Hengstenberg Gurkenmeister, in liquid (not dry!) form, in glass bottles. Me, I am left missing nothing.

Which makes travelling just a little bit less special than it used to be.

Strange things I complain about, no? But there won't be any complaining to be heard when I get around to posting pictures and waxing on about the wonderful ski weekend I spent in Norway. Sometime soon. Yep.

Posted by Johanna at March 8, 2006 09:26 AM

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