jlsathre

jlsathre
Location
Illinois,
Birthday
July 30
Bio
I'm a lawyer in my past life, who got the kids through college and decided to try something different and a little more fun. A used book store sounded like a good idea, so that's where I am for now. I just hadn't counted on a recession or E-readers and am a little afraid there's going to be a third act. In the meantime, I have plenty to read and a little time to write. Not a bad way to spend a day.

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Salon.com
FEBRUARY 5, 2013 10:29AM

A Suitcase Filled With Taco Shells

Rate: 19 Flag

"Can I bring you anything?"

It's the question you ask as you're walking out the door, heading to the grocery store or Target, walking just fast enough so they don't have time to answer and you won't hear them if they do.

It's the question you ask as you head into the kitchen to do nothing more than refresh your coffee and get a little pissed when they answer that they'd really like a sandwich. "Lettuce and tomato and light on the mayo, please."

Or, in my case right now, it's the question I ask before heading off on a month long visit with my daughter who lives in West Africa. 

And the answer is, "Yes," I can apparently bring her some things. Six emails over the past two days have started the list.

"Breath mints. Any kind is okay...Oreos...Batteries if you want to make your grandson happy...Pancake mix, preferably in a tub so bugs don't get in...Bagels, any kind. Cheap store ones are fine...Tortilla and taco shells, soft ones that won't break in transit...Conditioner...parmesan cheese...probably some bubble bath..." The list keeps growing.

So far it should be easy to fill with a single trip to Target. The hard part is figuring out how much and what are the priorities. 

My daughter has another four or five months before she leaves Africa and heads off to another location where taco shells will likely be available. So the question is how many taco shells can she eat in four months? And how many does she really want to eat? Because there must come a point when taco shells no longer taste good and you wish you had asked for some Hamburger Helper.

Which makes me wonder if I should put in some Hamburger Helper even though she hasn't asked for it.

But if I put in Hamburger Helper, will I still have room for underwear?

And what about all those little toys I've picked up for my grandson? Do taco shells trump Hot Wheels? Or, maybe, if I bring enough Hot Wheels, I can free up some space by taking out the batteries. 

I'm planning on bringing one suitcase and one carry on. But that just raises a whole other set of questions of what should go where. Because, if my suitcase is lost, I'm going to wish I had put some taco shells in my carry on. Some Oreos too.

Which brings up a harder question. If I put Oreos in my carry on, will I eat them before I get there?

Well, actually, that one's easy.

"Yes."

 

 

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Wow A month long visit to Africa! I hope you will write about some of what you see. You are very brave to take those fragile taco shells and I completely understand about the Oreos.
Have a wonderful visit in West Africa!

Lezlie
Hope you enjoy your visit with daughter and grandson.

Regarding food to take, perhaps dieting is an option.

R.
Snicker, snicker! This post has terrific rhythm. It feels exactly like the pace of getting ready to go on a long and important trip. When do you leave? I am gonna miss you, but I know you will be having so much fun!!
Guess you can always wash underwear out but a real taco and an Oreo are almost priceless. Very nice piece.
Charming post, with lots of aspects, especially for fellow foodies.
I think I would have to be gone a long time before I missed tacos. Skippy chunky peanut butter would be on my list. Foreigners just don't get peanut butter. Fun post and have a great adventure. R
zanelle--I'm pretty excited and can't imagine I won't have something to write about.

Lezlie--Thank you. I think I will.

Lyle--I'm game to eat local, but my daughter misses some of the foods from home.

Emily--I assume you mean "Snicker" as in the candy bar, because I'll probably pack some of those too. I leave on the 17th.

Mary--Absolutely. Oreos definitely are a priority.

Lea--Fellow foodies who aren't particularly discriminating.

Gerald--She has actually added peanut butter to her list since I wrote this.
Should you pack hamburger? Or can one substitute wildabeast . . . or waterbuffalo?
Oh, don't forget the camera. If you do you can bet you will get a visit from a UFO and nobody wants that!
Packing for a month anywhere is beyond my brain power, but having read your list so far I'd suggest a couple rolls of tums.
The possibly soon to be rare and elusive Twinkie? Probably not, actually, it looks like Hostess might have a buyer.

Parmesan. I can relate.

So I have one question:

How reliable is it to ship stuff there? Will it get there? Will it get there without taking years? Will it get there in one piece?

That's not one question, is it? Oh well, shows how well I can count.

Have a fantastic trip, though.
tr ig--I'll probably pass on meats, but the camera's a must. Got to have pictures of the grandson.

alsoknown--The weather only varies by about five degrees and they have a washer and dryer, so my packing is pretty issue. Tums might be a good idea though.

kosher--You can ship things, but with restrictions. No glass, liquids under 16 oz., etc. And it takes between 2 to 4 weeks to get there. It usually arrives fine because it goes to the State Department in DC and then they send things over in pouches delivered directly to the Embassies.
Terrific. What an adventure. ~r
You are without a doubt one of my favorite writers on here, so I wish you Godspeed and hope you take us with you to West Africa or at least write a lot about it when you get back. Be safe.
africa? for god's sake do some archeological work if u up to it.
find that famed 'missing link'

chomping on tacos and hamburger helper, find us our common ancestor.

the oreos are history.no way gettin on the plane.gonna be in yer tummy ha
Wonderfully written. This resonates with me like you wouldn't believe. Bring everything you can, even if it means paying for another suitcase, preferably a light weight large duffle. Americans living abroad, no matter where or how comfortably they embrace the local culture, crave uniquely American things. You should see my luggage when I visit our large family living in Israel.

Please write about your trip... and lots of pictures of the grandson!
Joan--I'm definitely excited.

Amy--Ah...thank you. Their internet is sometimes sporadic, but I hope to write a little while there.

James--There's an old abandoned jet on the beach near them.
That's where I'll start my dig.

Sally--I'm beginning to think an extra suitcase might not be a bad idea.
i bet there's not much
ice cream in Africa
for Pete's sake be careful
travel light!
Will you get as far north as Lake Victoria?
J.P.--I'll actually be a little north, but way west in Benin, a small country next to Nigeria. And I'll definitely be traveling light on my way home, just not so much getting there.
jl,

When I read your title, I couldn't help but think that if you are packing a suitcase filled with taco shells, then perhaps you might want to fill your purse with salsa too. :)

Have you considered just taking the corn masa mix so that you can make your own tortillas?

I hope you all enjoy your visit together!
Diary--That hadn't even occurred to me. It's a great idea. I'm going to check and see how hard they are to make. Salsa's a good idea too. If not for them, for me.
Oh I so, so, so relate to this! My brother and his girlfriend are coming here in late March, and I already have quite the list of stuff for them to bring! Luckily, though, we do have taco shells here. As far as batteries go, your daughter might want to look into rechargeable ones. I know they sell those and the accompanying charger in the US, of course, but because of voltage/plug issues, of course that may not work in Africa - but could she order something Africa-compatible, via Internet or a catalogue? Whatever the case, you are a great mom - believe me, those of us who live overseas appreciate it enormously when people bring the things we miss - or even need - from home! Have a great time visiting your daughter and grandson!