Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I’ve been thinking about this post for a while and I can’t think of a better day to post it on then on the USA's Thanksgiving Eve.

I really didn’t realize I was so spoiled in the USA. Pre-MBA, I would hop in my car drive to my SuperTarget about 5 miles away where I could find groceries, meat, bread, electronics, and pharmaceuticals, all in 1 place! I would load enough provisions to last me for a month and take up every inch of space on my shelf or in my freezer.

It’s a bit different here in Belgium…

There is a local market on Saturday mornings where there is always a line at the large fresh fruits and vegetables stand. There are also stands at the market selling dried fruits, nuts, chocolate, olives, and bakery items, just to name a few things. I have 2 butchers near my place. I can’t tell which one is better because they both are packed each day with customers! And then there are the bakeries. Oh, the bakeries. I could write an entire blog on them alone. In fact I will. Stay tuned for the bakery post…must do more research. Mmmmm…
pics from the market

If you’re wondering yes, Belgium does have grocery stores. Since I don’t have a car, and I have to get all I buy home with my own two feet I have to go there almost weekly. I bought a fun little cart from a past student and it’s served me very well on my voyages to the grocery store. You’d be surprised how many things it holds!

Inside the grocery store still is a maze to me. I worked in a small grocery store during in my high school years, so I’m too stubborn to ask where something is located. I wonder around the store and make a mental note where things are. Today I found that sugar (granulated and powder) is conveniently kept by the coffee and tea, 3 aisles away from the flour. And the flour is kept in the baking aisle near to the maple syrup – YES! I found real maple syrup here!


So I’m finding my way around the store, but many items are just different here. Vanilla extract for cooking is replaced by vanilla sugar. Bacon is only thin sliced. And there is no comparable peanut butter here. I really didn’t eat a lot of peanut butter pre-Belgium but now I miss it. One of the other USA-ers here reintroduced me to the jelly sandwich (which I don’t think I enjoyed since I was 12) – but it’s missing something, like a big smearing of Skippy. I miss it so much I asked my family to “Please send peanut butter” along with my winter wardrobe in my care package.

There are a few Belgium-isities in the grocery stores related to the country’s fondness to chocolate and waffles.
Here is a pic of the chocolate section of my small local store.

And here are some pics of the waffles area. Waffles here are a snack, not breakfast, and come in many shapes, forms and food-ness: ie. the honey filled waffle cracker a friend introduced me to.

One note on grocery stores is most close at 7/8pm and are not open on Sundays.  That just adds a little fun to this student's life. 

I hope you enjoyed this post and think about me the next time you're walking through Sam's Club, Rainbow, or my fav SuperTarget!  Would you be able to carry everything that's in your cart home?  :)

And last but not least HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  Thank you to everyone out there for letting me be in your life!  I have SO much to be grateful for this year: all my family and friends that are constantly supporting me, my new friends in Beligum that have taught me so much, and this year I'm especially grateful to all the Rotary family members who work each day to better the world - thank you for giving me this amazing opportunity.

See you later!

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