This weekend some friends and I went to Berlin. I’m not sure about everyone else in the group, but I didn’t go because I wanted to see the Brandenburger Tor, or the Reichstag, or the Berliner Mauer. The last time I was in Germany I spent an entire week in Berlin, and honestly not much has changed.
I went because a) Hannover is boring and I wanted to get out, and b) I figured a big city like Berlin would offer a greater chance of me finding American food.
Boy was I right. Within minutes of our arrival I spotted two separate DnD‘s. The next day Emily and I went to KaDeWe where I almost paid €8 for a jar of Jif peanut butter (but I talked myself out of it… mostly because I didn’t want to carry it around all day). And for dinner we went to a Mexican restaurant, where we got nachos with real cheese, real salsa, and real guacamole.
We did some other things too but really, those were the main highlights.
I’ve only been away from America for a little over 2 months and I’m already desperately missing some things.
1) Cheddar Cheese. Upon my return to Pennsylvania I request that a block of this orange delight be waiting with my name on it in the fridge at my parents’ house (ahem… looking at you Rick and Lorraine). The grocery stores here literally have aisles of cheese products the size of my entire apartment, but alas no cheddar to be found.
2) Dunkin Donuts. I don’t care how many cute little bakeries with piles and piles of pastries I see, all I want is a medium hazelnut iced coffee with cream and sugar and a bacon egg and cheese on a toasted english muffin (or sesame bagel… or both I guess). This was the last meal I had before I left America and I’m already craving the overly-sweet coffee and rubbery egg product with mystery meat.
3) Potato Chips. I’m sure with a little effort I could find a bag of Lays in Hannover. However due to budgetary restraints, I’m not about to shell out 4 euro for a snack that may not even be the same as the original version. German potato chips are like German food in general: lacking flavor. Get me some Ruffles with Ridges and a bowl of onion dip, stat. (Note: Pringles do seem to be everywhere but really… they don’t count.)
4) Sofa+TV. Now, we do have a bangin couch at school (it reclines. perfect place to catch a few winks between classes) but Sunday’s just aren’t the same when I’m propped up awkwardly on some pillows in my (tiny) bed and waiting for (illegal?) American TV shows to buffer on my laptop which is sitting on my nightstand. What I really want is to sprawl out on the couch with a flat screen bigger than my body so I can watch Americas Next Top Model and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia in life-size. On my 11 days off from learning I might try to seek out a cheap couch to add to my apartment. We shall see.
5) Peanut Butter. Despite the fact that Nutella is freaking everywhere, peanut butter is a commodity not so easily found here. And I’m not just talking about a jar, but think about how many ways one can consume peanut butter in America. No Reese’s PB Cups. No PB cookies. No PB&J sandwiches. No Tandycakes. No Ants on a Log (ok maybe I’m grasping at straws now… you get the point.)
It may be no small coincidence that the things I miss the most are food… I certainly don’t miss driving (I much prefer riding my bike or taking public transportation.) and I’ve been able to keep up with American TV thanks to the Internets. I’m sure I could come up with more things I miss but this list is quickly becoming “My favorite foods” so I’ll quit now.
Care packages accepted 🙂