Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What's it worth to you?

Golden comfort.
Yesterday afternoon, I was inspired to write this post after the following exchange between myself and a fellow expat, who I shall refer to as Mrs. Georgia (since I haven't officially asked  her if she minds being mentioned from time to time in my blog).

Sal and I were hanging out with Mrs. Georgia yesterday afternoon, as we often do. We had been invited over for supper, so we were passing time playing on the floor while Mrs. Georgia tapped away at her computer putting in her weekly city shop order. City Shop is a Shanghai based grocer that delivers to Wuxi on Tuesdays. I love City Shop. I order all of our heavy items from there..cat litter, sodas, canned food...They will waive the delivery fee if you spend over 300 RMB ( $50 USD), and she was just shy of the limit. So she asks if I need anything...

"Do they have peanut butter?", I ask.

tap.tap.tap.......searching.....peanut butter.

" Yep. Jiff, Skippy, Adams...."

" How much is the Adams?"


(quickly calculating 65 RMB to USD in my head...10% of 65 is 6.50, half of 6.50 is 3.25...making the jar $9.75USD)

"Yeah, that's good. Will you order me some?"

Whoa, back it up here....is this the same girl whose husband poked fun at her frugalness back in the states?

Yup. It's me. Writhing inside at the amounts we pay for imported items, yet feeling that they are worth every single cent we pay to have them in our pantry.

Don't worry, I'll treat that peanut butter like gold. I will interrogate anyone who comes close to it with a spoon. "What are your intentions? Are you going to lick that spoon clean?"  If his answer is anything but yes, then it will go into hiding. I will guard it with my life.

It's funny how viewpoints change, especially for comfort items. Do we have to have peanut butter? Absolutely not...but when there are so few comforts from home available, I find that I am more willing than usual to fork out dough for something. Peanut butter is one of those things. For NZ, it's imported beef and cheese. For a while, it was tortillas. We paid $6 USD per 12 pack for disgusting El Paso flour tortillas...that was, until NZ made our own for pennies on the dollar, and the taste far surpassed the El paso ones.

Making our own food is something we both enjoy doing, so living in China and shopping hasn't been too hard. Many things ARE cheaper here...but the comforts of home tend to be pricey, and maybe it depends on how much I am missing home on shopping day, but  find that there are some things I can rationalize spending pretty much any amount of money on.

Peanut butter is one of those things.

Can't wait for my pot 'o gold!


  1. Oh, this post is great. I remember those feelings. While Germany is WAY different than living in China (or anywhere in Asia), I definitely missed some things. We could find PB and tortillas in Germany, but they were literally labeled "American food" and were not tasty. I brought jars back to Germany with us in our suitcase and had my parents bring tortillas with them from California! I totally understand your husband's need for good cheese. Also something I didn't like in Germany, surprisingly!

    I love that you're making your own tortillas. We make our own at home here, too, but not often because it's more labor intensive (though I made all our own bread. Go figure).

    If it makes you feel any better, I'm totally frugal as well and would've paid $20 for a jar of peanut butter while living overseas! Lick that jar clean, baby! :)

  2. I do not think 9.75 is bad at all. There was a peanut shortage and the cost of peanut butter is insane!!!! It used to be something I didn't min I'd the kids were wasteful with. Not now. It's about 8-10 a jar.