Part of this comes from a revelation of the struggles I'm having within the first few days of adapting to a new environment. Learning where to shop, what to buy, and what items are worth my money is something I should be reflecting on. Not having tools to make cooking more convenient and less wasteful. In that case, not knowing the words of said products (I spent a good 30 minutes trying to figure out the Russian word for Plastic Wrap yesterday. Of course I just gave up and tried to find it at the store. Bought a strange form of ziploc bags instead.) Budgeting is always important, but being in a place for a few years it's natural to learn the place to get the best deals. In a new city that speaks a different language however? It's time to reflect and optimize the life lessons learned.
Luckily, certain types of food look the same no matter what.
|Chicken picture from Wikipedia|
For example, that's a chicken. Thankfully, if your in the middle of bum-fuck nowhere Mongolia, that is still a chicken. The way it's served might be different, but that is a chicken. It might have a Mogolian name, but we all know that it will taste like chicken. The first step to surviving is learning what the natives call food, then. In the US, this was a simple as learning to ask for a "hoagie" instead of "grinder" when relocating from Vermont to Pennsylvania. Ask for a grinder either got me a toasted hoagie at best, and blank stares at worst. In Russia, it's learning to call chicken Курятина. Kur-yeah-tina, perhaps? Whatever, it took me three years to pronounce Lancaster like someone from Pennsylvania.
The next thing that I have to keep in mind is how to take basic steps to budget. As much as cards are awesome and convient and everyone and their mother uses them, cash is better for budgeting. As my mom used to say, you can't spend money that's not in your pocket, and when cash runs out, then I am no longer able to spend money.
My challenge this week is to build a grocery list with some Russian words, and set a simple spending limit for it. Short, sweet, and hopefully efficient. From there I can begin to decide what can made and how long it lasts me for. Any other shopping tips out there?