Wednesday, September 30, 2015

"Not like at home"

In the Monty Python travel agent sketch, Eric Idle's character rants about those other tourists who go on package tours, only to complain about how the "tea" (which I used to think meant tea, but as I type, I'm thinking probably meant dinner) isn't not made "properly." The expression "not like at home" is used. Parochialism, so shameful! I can't say I experience tremendous amounts of this, given that Toronto kind of has everything and them some. (See: Portuguese custard tarts.) And the whole Trump thing isn't really making me homesick. But other things, here and there...

As I understand it, people who move from one country to another under circumstances such as my own are required to list the petty, inconsequential ways that the developed country we live in isn't 100% identical to the one we come from. So, here goes:

-Mozzarella. Not the super-fancy buffalo kind, nor the super-unfancy kind that goes in a meat-and-cheese slicer, but the moderately fancy (cow's milk) kind that's sold in (Northeast) US supermarkets and cheese stores (I'm thinking specifically of Wegmans, Murray's Cheese - sigh! - and the Fairway), in a ball, wrapped in plastic, where the surface is the most delicious part. There's something sold here that looks like mozzarella but is called "bocconcini" and "soft cheese," and that's OK on pizza but otherwise vile, and it was only recently that I noticed the word "mozzarella" isn't used on the packaging. It took me months to find the one cheese at the supermarket that's mozzarella in a recognizable (but not, again, bufala extravaganza) form, and it's passable. Cheese shops - and I've been to quite a few - don't appear to have this product. A very, very petty complaint, especially considering the overall superiority of the cheese situation here, but doubtless at the top of my petty-complaints list.

-Uniqlo. A close second, but there's apparently one on its way. No such luck on the mozzarella front.

-A health care system that makes sense to me. Because yes, that is of course the thing one looks for in a health care system - that I, personally, understand it. In all seriousness: I had an uninsured few months after college, and am in principle thrilled with universal healthcare. In practice, the whole thing of not knowing when or even really how I'll ever be able to see a doctor is somewhat unsettling. (I mean, I filled out some form. After which something gets mailed. After which maybe it'll all become clear. Socialist wheels of some kind are, I think, in motion.)

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