The other day a package arrived at our house. It was an eight inch square box addressed to my husband. “What could it be?” I thought. When he got home a smile spread over his face. He had ordered a favorite food from his childhood; a food nowhere to be found on the shelves of supermarkets in the Northeast and a love he has passed on to our children – boiled peanuts.
I’ve written in other posts about those things that we miss when we have settled as adults in a world far different from the one we knew as children. Beyond the land, people, transportation and more is that which we daily experienced – the food. The mere taste of a meal can send us across countries or oceans and suddenly we are back in a childhood home, where dahl and rice are served three to four times a week and chapatis with hamburgers or peanut butter and jelly are far more the norm than bread and jam. Where boiled peanuts or gulab jamuns are on your grocery store shelf, not an airmail package away
So it brings me to the question: how far are you from your childhood tastes? How far do you have to drive to get that Mango Lassi? The fresh hummus and stuffed grape leaves? The Pad Thai or the Paella? Is it just around the corner, two hours away or across the ocean?
Those visceral responses to tastes and smells can be the difference between knowing you can cope and thinking you can’t. Are cities places that are easier for the global nomad to settle simply because they come with their plethora of eateries and ethnic grocery stores? Are these seemingly simple but critical pieces to adjustment in a place far from where we were raised and feel we belong?
So two questions for those who are global nomads, third culture kids, adult third culture kids or anybody who is now living in a place far from their childhood home: How far are you from accessing those tastes? Does it make a difference in your ability to adjust?