Visiting America

I visited America yesterday! It was a trip. We left a little after one, and were back in Ljubljana by ten-thirty with no jet lag to speak of.

America, otherwise known as the nearest U.S. air force base. My FSO friends who took me dubbed it ‘America’ because it’s a pocket of Americanness. I can only describe it as surreal…It looked a bit like a giant Holiday Inn, and there was GASP diversity! Everybody was speaking American English! There were even Girl Scouts outside of the grocery store!

The grocery store. The grocery store was our raison d’etre, why we had driven so far out into the middle of nowhere in a country which you can probably guess. In this giant grocery store were all the American things that you probably see every day while picking up your milk. It was absolutely amazing. There were things that I forget about existing like beef jerky, string cheese, English muffins and canned Alfredo pasta sauce. Strolling the isles was a simultaneously attractive and repulsive experience. Our sheer quantity and variety of soda pop in the United States, for instance, must be unmatched. Ditto with all chip-like items. We’re definitely a nation of snackers, aren’t we? I also believe we should take the world prize for breakfast cereals as well.

Among the more disturbing items which I forgot about existing, and I feel were wrong to cross the ocean or even come into existence at all, include: Cheese in a spray can, those weird plastic-wrapped breakfast baked goods that look like they have enough preservatives to last a million years without change, and the chef boy r-d ravioli.

There were many items which I wanted to get, but I didn’t because I knew I would just gluttonously eat them all which is why I generally don’t purchase them in the United States, either. These items included: Pepperage Farm Cookies, Gram Crackers (with chocolate and marshmellows, ideally,) and Twix. I also would have bought loads of American perishable products if they could have made it on the drive back- sticks of American butter with tablespoon measurements, chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream…

Mostly we stocked up on Mexican food items, (Refried beans! Chiles en Adobo sauce!) but also on other things which are normally very expensive here, like peanut butter, rice, and soy sauce. I also bought vanilla extract. Vanilla extract does not exist in Slovenia. You can buy fake vanilla, or vanilla sugar, but not real vanilla extract. Also not existing- chocolate chips. Why, why, why haven’t chocolate chips made it over here?!

Hands-down my favorite item that I bought, besides the EXTRA SHARP CHEDDER CHEESE YES YES YES, and that I had absolutely forgotten about existing was Oregon Chai Tea Concentrate. You know, the stuff that’s used to make Chai Tea Lattes? I’ve already had two cups today, and I think I’m headed for a third shortly. Chai Tea Lattes definitely do not exist here. Nor do any flavored coffee drinks, actually…But I mostly miss the Chai Tea Lattes.

I wanted to take photos, but I decided against it on the off-chance I would be taking pictures of classified information. There were simply too many people with guns who knew how to use them wandering around to risk it. I can tell you that I saw fighter jets, though, and big military airplanes that you put stuff in. You’ll have to use your imaginations.

So. Ye in America. Drink Chai Tea Lattes in my honor. Eat Extra Sharp Cheese. Enjoy your Wheat Thins, Cheese-its and Cliff Bars. Make a pie. And think of me and be grateful for the abundance.