expats everywhere have hoarding tendencies to a certain degree when it comes to things they miss from their native countries. it seems foods are the most common type of longed for items, but cosmetics are also popular and i've heard of even a token panty-hose afficionado. finns typically miss salmiakki, dark sour rye bread and finnish milk chocolate, and you're bound to find a stash hidden somewhere in their homes after every visit(or from) home.
my sister's list is always the same: carelian rice pies, liverwurst, hk blue bbq sausage, aura blue cheese and rye bread. after over a decade in london, she still prefers to start her mornings with a finnish-style open rye sandwich...
during my years abroad i hardly remember missing anything from finland. i get too excited and preoccupied with world cuisines to start reminiscing familiar flavors. the case might be different if i spent several years at the same spot, but so far i've managed quite alright with local offerings.
nonetheless, i do form habits whilst abroad. here's a list of locales and acquired tastes:
1. my first long term exposure to another culture was in the beginning of the 90's and in toronto. i still remember fondly "timbits", small donut balls that are (i guess) the centres of actual donuts available at tim hortons. different flavors in small mouthfuls of sugary goodness. i am not sure a lot of people know this, but canadians are donut crazy...
2. the next period was san francisco in the late nineties where i was introduced to mac cosmetics. for years everyone i knew carried back small black'n'white plastic bags full of make-up because of my addiction. that is, until the brand became available in finland a couple of years ago. in cali, i also became a fan of peanut butter chocolate: my trips to the states begin with a visit to the drug store and a bag full of butterfingers and reese's peanut butter cups.
3. before the millenium i spent a few months in london that got me hooked on muji, the japanese no logo brand. they make the best cotton camisoles and the only pens i like to write with. there isn't a visit to london that does not include a stocking up visit to muji. i also like buying vegetarian "bangers" (i.e. sausages) from there and the coffee at harvey nichols is amazing.
4. i've written about my kiehl's habit before, but new york had plenty of additional things to cause dependence. american apparel was an instant love; i don't exactly wear any other kind of underwear. luckily they have a european online store and shops around europe these days. moreover, i formed a permanent love for dean and deluca's coffee after walking every morning to fetch my cup from their broadway store around the corner from where i lived in soho. after my move to williamsburg, i still stopped by the store every so often. furthermore, i miss a lunch consisting of an h&h bagel with hummus and fresh tomatoes followed by a beard papa's cream puff. yummy.
here are some of the essentials i needed this time in london. i was also pleased to find a new fragrance at kiehl's: pear. i'm not usually fond of fruit scented cosmetics because of their artificial sweetness, but this one smells like a real, plump pear. beautiful!
do you tend to miss things from finland when abroad? have you formed preferences for items only available in certain other countries?