• Atisha Sooklall

The things we take for granted

Growing up, your brain referenced certain colors to certain objects. For instance, when you think about lemon juice, a green bottle comes to mind or if you think about butter, the yellow Flora tub or gold wrapping of Rama is what quickly pops up. Our first grocery shopping experience took us hours, because the things we took for granted, was not recognizable to us anymore. A simple staple item is salt, at home we know fine salt comes in the white bottle with the blue lid. Here you first have to identify fine salt, then decide between salt with iodide and without iodide. After taking 5 min to find fine salt, you now have to take another minute to google which one is better for you?? So after 6min, you have successfully added fine salt to the trolley, ok what's next?

Aside from the different packaging, there are too many options, organic, GMO-free, sugar-free, so you just end up standing in front of the product deciding which one is better, then you also realize that the different versions also have different prices. Eventually, it's like eeny mini mine mo, I'll take this one. And 2 hours later… you have a trolley full of groceries that would have taken 30 min back home. Being here for three months, we have identified our weekly grocery items but still struggle when looking for something not staple, like vanilla essence.

The food here in terms of restaurants and takeaways is also quite different than back home. The takeaways have much more processed fast food. It's oily, fatty, southern fried… We have the usual McDonalds, KFC, and Burger King. But there's no equivalent for Nando's, nothing close to a Roco Mama’s or Simply Asia, my 3 favorite places to eat, and not forgetting Panarottis. This means less take out for us, which is better I guess. There is also no shortage of fast-food restaurants, there is literally something on every street corner, so the variety is there, but not necessarily the quality or meals for a conscious eater. Nevertheless, we have tried some of the takeaways, and I have quickly found 2 new favorites, Panera bread for soups and pastries and Panda for chow mein and orange chicken. Unfortunately, we haven’t had the opportunity to try out the restaurants yet, due to the Covid 19, most of them have been closed for a while without any notice on when they will be reopening. So I guess its something to look forward to once they are open again.

While settling in, we also needed to get ourselves a car. But with zero credit score, this meant we couldn’t finance anything. So it really narrowed down our options to either rent a car, which after we did the math was quite expensive or to use our savings and buy a car cash. This meant we would have to make do with a basic car. So we set out looking for what we thought we wanted to drive, and my husband would change his mind and go from this car to that. After days of shopping around for used cars and not finding anything we like or were happy to settle for. We decided to just visit the dealerships and see if anyone could assist us in any way to buy a car. Eventually we got to VW, and luckily for us, they offer a program for expats to get a brand new car with zero credit score. The program is designed especially for people in our circumstances, how great is that. Also back home we had a Polo GTI, so we were already VW funs. VW called us saying that they have the car in the color we want, so we should come through and check it out. We literally saw the car and left with it on the same day. Now we are the proud owners of the Golf GTI.

One of the biggest lessons that this experience or move has taught us is to be open to change and accept what life has to offer. There are really only two sides to a coin, you can choose to be negative and worried that the world is out to get you and have a pity party for yourself about how hard your life is. Or you can be positive, that you woke up to experience a new day, you have another opportunity to change your life, to make new memories. Perspective and attitude is everything. The sooner you decide to make things happen for yourself, the sooner things will change for the better. At the end of the day, you are ultimately responsible for your future. So embrace where you are and start working towards where you want to be, don’t fear change, embrace it.

Catch up soon, another day with another story…

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