Last night I took a stroll around Madrid, admiring the holiday lights and marveling at how mild the temperature was for early December. Being Month 12, there were Christmas markets and extra-flashy window displays; by the time I returned to my apartment I had been whacked by so many shopping bags that I too was intoxicated by the desire to BUY BUY BUY!
Glorieta de Bilbao, wrapped like a present
Instead of whipping out my wallet, I sat down and made a list of items I want to acquire when I visit Arkansas in a few weeks. Which pieces of Americana do I have a hankering for, you ask?
1) Index cards
I have been here for 15 months and have yet to find this beloved paper product at any stationary or chino store. Even El Corte Ingles failed me in my quest. How can I make quality lessons and games without their handy size and cardstock-perfect weight? How can I be expected to keep up my nerdy vocab-reviewing ways? Index cards are the future, invest now.
2) Black flats
Back in October I addressed my fruitless attempt to find black flats (read my rant here). Suffice it to say that I’m planning to hit up some after-Christmas sales in search of said shoes. Target don’t let me down!
Black flats, b. 2010, d. 2011
3) Pecans and bittersweet chocolate chips
Without these two ingredients I cannot make cowboy cookies, the staple sweet of my childhood. The latter is easy enough to substitute–just kill a chocolate bar–but pecans? C’mon, there’s no substitute for pecans.
4) Ziploc bags
In a country where everyone wraps their sandwiches in the ubiquitous aluminum foil, sandwich bags just aren’t up to snuff. I was sorely disappointed whenever I bought a box with a snowflake on it–I naively assumed this meant the containers would be freezer-worthy. Nay, this purchase was my introduction to the word “microperforado,” which means “a million tiny holes zig-zagging around a plastic surface which make a bag in no way suitable for holding anything other than stamps and envelopes and business cards.”
Top, Exhibit A : sub-par bags for sub-zero conditions
5) Craft supplies
Stores like Hobby Lobby and Michael’s don’t exist in Spain. Obtaining ovillos (skeins) from the yarn store, the two times I’ve attempted it, ended disastrously. The first time I bellied up to the counter, I realized I didn’t know the word for turquoise and had to resort to the point-‘n-grunt method. The second and last time, I was rewarded with a “Your Spanish is so good!” upon checkout. Let’s face it, if the owner compliments you on your gift of gab, it’s a kindergarten-esque participation award to take the sting off of being a loser.
I know, I know, I don’t live in a third-world country; finding shampoo is never a safari. However, with the final item on my list, I demand a certain brand. Without this specific make and model of Glide floss, my mouth feels as dirty as the last time I loose a resounding “joder!”
Dear Santa, this year I would like a floss bouquet. XoXo, Casey
If you live abroad, what items from home are on your holiday wishlist?