Saturday, May 08, 2010
Imports and Exports
My friend Jess and her family have gone on a repatriation visit back to visit their family in Vernon BC. In their stead, we have adopted their frisky cat Thor. Unlike our previous cat-sitting experiences, which have mainly centered around apartment sized cats in Vancouver, Thor is a big cat. But I don't think he knows it. He is continuously squeezing himself into tiny spaces, leaping lithely onto the fireplace mantle and the bathroom sink, etc. His lack of awareness of his own power is very much to Nikolai's advantage. Nikolai has spent 87% of this week playing with Thor, which invariably has resulted in pulled tails and paws, sitting on Thor, pushing him around the house, etc. We're quick off the mark, more because we don't want Thor to end up hurt rather than the other way around. Nikolai was actually scratched by a different cat last weekend, which didn't seem to deter his enthusiasm for that cat. But unfortunately Thor is not the sort of cat to defend himself, and in fact he seems to relish playing with Nikolai.
Anyways, back to the topic du jour... on her way out Jess asked if there was anything I'd like them to bring back from Canada, anything that I've been missing. At the time I couldn't think of anything, but I've since thought of some ideas. So here is my list of a few things I'd import from Canada and things I'd export from Ireland.
$ Que Pasa tortilla chips. Only Tescos sells a plain corn chip and it only comes thick cut and heavily salted. Yummy, but I miss Que Pasa.
$ Tinkyada Rice Pasta. The plain rice pasta here is not much fun and most gluten free pasta has corn flour in it. No good for my Nikolai.
$ Borax. It's actually illegal as of June due to potential toxicity at really, really high levels. Levels so high in fact that it would be impossible to digest it without automatically vomiting. Regardless, I bought a bunch in a commando style manoeuvre off of the Internet before it's completely illegal. I can now buy a borax substitute, if I was interested.
$ Bulk food. Nowhere carries bulk, but most everyone has a tiny kitchen with a bar sized refrigerator (including freezer space) so everything comes in teeny tiny packages. Not very environmentally friendly.
€ Underwear sized 18 months. They are readily available in every department store, grocery store, etc. and perfect for my diaper free toddler. In Canada Nikolai struggled with underwear that was too large. I went a bit nuts and bought him 14 pairs right after we first arrived. I'm definitely bringing back a suitcase full for the diaper free Vancouver families. The reason why small underwear is popular here is because kids get toilet trained young. Most of Nikolai's friends are in the process of being trained, and a few of the 2 year olds (and one 19 month old) are completely self reliant. Thanks to advertising campaigns from Pampers and the ilk, parents in North America are completely convinced that 3 or even age 4 is an acceptable age to train. The best part is that because early training is normal, so is taking your toddler to pee on the grass at the playground, or in a parking lot, etc. We have moved from being on the fringe to perfectly normal.
€ Yeast Extract. Not Marmite, but basic yeast extract is really good for vegetarian/vegan food. In Canada I could only find the main brand Marmite and Vegemite, both of which are very salty and require some getting used to. Basic yeast extract is great for adding depth to my veggie burgers, or a cheese sauce, etc.
€ Grow bags. Perfect for people like us who need temporary garden space. It's basically a bag of soil that you can plant directly into. It has holes to let the water out and is from a plastic stable enough to support the plants. We sprouted our lettuce in one, and are planning on growing zucchini in another.
In other news... Nikolai came down with Hand, Foot and Mouth disease this week, and today it seems as though Brad may be succumbing to it as well. Here's hoping I'm immune! The first picture is of my rock garden and sprouting pots. The shrubs are pretty small at the moment so when you look at the picture use your imagination to make them grow. The second photo is Nikolai over watering his fairly dead marigold in his garden.