The Grass is Always Greener. And Possibly Made of Chocolate.

It always comes back to grocery shopping, doesn’t it? Yesterday I visited an American Aldi for the first time ever.

Now, for a lot of reasons, it’s great to be back in the U.S. Especially with Thanksgiving approaching, it’s very easy to remember the amount of work and the resulting ecstatic payoff involved in finding familiar American ingredients and foods in German grocery stores.

So now I can experience similar excitement over finding typical German chocolates here, right?

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Not only was it was my first time in an Aldi in the U.S., but it was the first time I used a shopping cart requiring that you insert a coin as a deposit to unlock it. I had never seen these before living in Germany, and I never used them there because not only were they strange to me (without English instructions to explain to me that yes, you do get the coin back, as in many German situations), but this time I actually had a car so I could haul a shopping cart’s worth of groceries home. No backpacks or physical exercise of any kind required. Ah, America!

8 responses to “The Grass is Always Greener. And Possibly Made of Chocolate.

    • My expectations were very low based on the Aldi we would go to in Bielefeld. The fact that it had clean food and floors was amazing. Everything after that – German chocolate included – was just a massive bonus.

    • Always a favorite. And I’m pretty sure it cost less over here than it would have at say, Galeria Kaufhof, where I would often see it in Germany.

  1. Hi Sam, good to read that at least some of your German memories are sweet ;-). When I was still living in the States (well, on the West Coast, anyway), I found a good selection of German foods at Cost&Import stores. Is there one near you?

    • Many of the memories are sweet – especially now that I’m craving the Christmas markets! I’ve never heard of Cost and Import, but there are similar-sounding stores on the East Cost, like World Market. You also never know what you will find at places like Big Lots/The Christmas Tree Shops (not sure if they have those on the West Coast).

  2. My grocery habits have changed in Germany also – here I only buy what I can carry in a single trip, so very rarely more than a single canvas bag worth of groceries. In the US, I always overbought and had food for weeks. I’m actually not sure yet if I’ll enjoy going back to cars and full carts when I move back…

    I love these posts, by the way- repatriation and acculturation is a fascinating topic for me because it’s coming in less than a year.

    • I definitely retain some of those habits, and find myself sometimes missing the instant exercise that comes from needing to go walk and buy groceries. I also sometimes want to “horde” – when I first saw cranberries in the supermarket here, I almost grabbed a whole bunch because I didn’t know if I’d see them again in time for Thanksgiving:) Glad you like the readjustment posts – will be interesting to see if your experience lines up!

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