Love Ireland, Missing Home

Paper or Plastic???

June 24, 2013

Have I mentioned how homesick grocery shopping in Ireland can make me?

Trust me there have been many tears shed while standing in the grocery store being unable to find that one ingredient for mom’s christmas cookies she makes every year.

I also must admit I cried at the site of Frank’s hot wing sauce when Dunnes began carrying it.

I also ran to Aldi when it opened last Thursday because they had Libby’s canned pumpkin…..

It will forever be one of those daily mundane tasks that can have me missing home on a moments notice…but I am adapting.

Due to a government levy on plastic bags, I have become accustomed to bringing my own bags rather than being offered that comforting option “paper or plastic” and answering “both.”

Sure on more than one occasion I have found myself stuffing groceries into pockets and handbags while balancing the remainder precariously in my arms simply because I had forgotten my bags and was certainly not going to be buying more at 70cent per bag when I have a press overflowing with them at home.

BUT, I have also relished the moments of triumph when I have remembered my bags.

And while I have experienced the annoyance of having to get the correct change simply to unlock a shopping trolley from the trolley bay, not once has my car been struck by a rogue shopping cart left sailing in the wind by some negligent shopper.

For at least the first year i lived here I broke out in a sweat trying to bag my own groceries in a speedy manner rather than suffer annoyed glances from other shoppers more adept at bag packing.

But I have learned the efficiency of loading the conveyor belt in such a manner that permits speedy bag packing such that all the fridge/freezer food is bagged together making unpacking at home also more efficient.

After 9 years it seems I have grown accustomed to my new way of life. The last time I was home visiting my favorite grocery store, I was shocked to find myself almost irritated while shopping. I mean really is there a need for paper AND plastic bags???

I was tempted to point out to the cashier (and therefore bag packer) that I was (believe it or not) a relatively fit person who could in fact carry bags containing more than 4 items in them.

And why the hell can’t people in NY put their shopping carts back where they belong?!?!

Does anyone else find there is something that can make them both long for home yet they have also grown to appreciate as a new way of life abroad??

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Emma June 26, 2013 at 5:59 am

    After a recent holiday to Florida, I totally know what you mean about the trillion bags. One trip to a supermarket resulted in almost as many carrier bags as grocery items!
    Really enjoying your blog about expat trials & tribulations.

  • Reply Monica July 6, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Hi great to meet another American. I moved to the countryside of Mayo, not many Americans over here, a year ago with my husband and two kids. Totally understand when it comes to food shopping. There have been many times that I’ve gone to Aldi, not have gotten a cart so not to dig in my bag for the 2 euros and left my bag in the car since the plan was to only get two items; Ya, 10 items popping from my pockets later! I really feel like kicking myself. Enjoy the blog can totally relate can’t wait to read more.

    • Reply bothsidesoftheatlantic July 6, 2013 at 9:09 pm

      Hi Monica! Thanks for reading! Got a lovely gift from my brother-in-law today….trolley tokens!! €1 AND €2!!!! How long til I loose them?!

    Leave a Reply