There’s a jar of pizza sauce and a package of pepperoni, that has been waiting over a month to be used.
When we first got to the island, we found that french bread pizza was a quick and easy dinner option. All we needed was a strip of aluminum foil, a loaf of store bought french bread, a little pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese. Throw it in the oven until the cheese is melted and dinner’s ready!
If you ask the kids, we ate them every night for a month but I promise that we mixed it up a little. Then one day, I went to the store and there was no mozzarella.
No problem. It happens. I’ll get it next time.
Days later, still none. I guess I need to check some of the other stores around, to see if they have any.
Welcome to American Samoa!
The first time I went grocery shopping, I had my list of everything I needed for the next few days and to begin stocking our kitchen. I walked into the grocery store and started walking around the store looking for the items on my list.
Yes! Where is the price? Whatever, it can’t be that much.
I think this is what I’m looking for… Still no price listed.
Whoa, this one has a price but wow.
OK, time to toss out the list!
What I have learned
I learned very quickly that I couldn’t shop the way I was used to.
I can’t expect everything I want to be available at all times.
When something is available and for a good price, I should buy as many as I think we can use because, chance are, it won’t be there next time I’m looking for it.
Instead of making a list of what we need from the store, I keep a mental inventory of what we have at home. That way, when I go to the store, I can plan meals around what is available that day.
I have become a lot more capable and less dependent. When I get my receipt, after purchasing my groceries, I make a mental note of prices and store the info away into my memory for next time.
I end up going shopping more often than my former weekly trip mostly because I am not good enough yet at spontaneous meal planning for a full seven days.
I have been trying new things. Without my list in front of me, I look around at what there is and I am open to trying something new.
There are some things that the stores pretty consistently carry.
I do not buy bananas at the grocery store! They are imported and WAY too expensive. I can walk outside and buy the locally grown bananas that are inexpensive and taste just as good, if not better. Plus, I get to support the local growers.
Last thing I have learned, I know when a ship has come in. Suddenly, all the shelves are full and there are stacks of more groceries in the middle of the walkways. This is good to know for two reasons: The older groceries that were left from before the ship arrived are now on sale and the new things are not stale or moldy! Win, win. Plus, if there is something I haven’t seen for awhile, I find it quickly, so I don’t have to wait for the next ship to come.
Moral of the story: If you are coming to American Samoa, just be aware and ready to roll with it. It is totally doable and I actually, really enjoy it now. If you live somewhere with reliable grocery chains, don’t take them for granted and, heaven forbid, you should ever find that your very-reliable grocery store has run out of something, throw caution to the wind and try something new.
Just to ease your troubled mind, Nate did finally find some shredded mozzarella cheese a few days ago. The world is right again. Life is good.
Samoan words of the week:
Tulou- Excuse me