We have been living in Sydney now for just over four months, and I think we are finally settling in. But this week, I was hit with a wave of longing for a few things that we don't have or can't get here in Australia. Admittedly, it is a random collection of things. Nonetheless, here's the list - in no particular order:
1. General Mills Cereals - specifically Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, and Total. General Mills produces food here in Australia, but not cereals. And we can get a type of Cheerios in the grocery store, but it is not the same. But there may be hope - according to the General Mills Australia & New Zealand website, "General Mills Australia and New Zealand is a growing consumer food business." Hopefully that means they will be expanding their cereal selection soon.
2. Pay at the Pump - Using a credit card to pay for gas (petrol) at the pump was something I had taken for granted. Here, drivers have to pay for all their gasoline purchases inside with the clerk. Not that big of a deal, unless I have the boys in the car...then we all have to tramp into the store together to pay.
3. Caribou Coffee - or American coffee shops in general. Australians love their coffee, but it is nearly impossible to get a regular, boring, no-frills cup of (filtered) coffee. I remember missing this when I lived in Sydney 10 years ago - I asked for a cup of filtered coffee and the barista looked at me like I was crazy and then told me that it would be a 15 minute wait while they made a pot of coffee just for me. In the coffee shops here, there are a variety of coffee drinks on the menu - espresso, cappuccino, flat white, short black, long black. But no plain coffee. For many Australians, plain coffee = Nescafe Instant Coffee. Trust me...it is NOT the same thing. And specifically to Caribou - I miss their hot chocolate and their mango black tea. But thanks to my mom for bringing me several bags of the mango black tea when she came to visit in July. Yum!
4. Food Co-ops - We were spoiled living in a metro area (the Twin Cities) with so many food cooperatives. And there is a great co-op in Decorah. In the Sydney area, there are a couple of food co-ops, but none of them are near where we live - the closest one is at least 30 minutes away (in no traffic). I miss being able to buy food in bulk. And the co-op was the place where we bought most of Vincent's allergy-free foods. Fortunately, the grocery stores here have a halfway decent supply of foods he can eat.
5. Culvers - We are not a fast food family, but we did eat Culvers on occasion when we lived in the Twin Cities. There is something special about their burgers and frozen custard. Sigh...my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Of course, we miss our family and friends. And I'm sure there will be other things that I will find that I miss. But all-in-all, we are very happy to be living here. And there are lots of Australian things that we missed while we were living in the States...like meat pies, lamingtons, Cadbury chocolates, and my sister-in-law's spinach pie...yum!!