Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mentioning the Unmentionables

There are many food products I have grown up with in the States that they do not sell in NZ. Often when trying to follow American recipes, I need to either find substitutes for things like vegetable shortening, or just kind a kiwi version of a similar recipe. It’s hard enough trying to convert grams into cups for me to be able to follow a recipe, but to also figure out substitutes makes things rather complicated and at times seems like too much effort!

I got used to not being able to buy Ghiradelli chocolate chips (the reliable brand in the States that is dairy free) and instead became partial to Whitakers dark chocolate blocks that they have here in NZ (yummmm). The thing I haven’t gotten used to is the selection of deodorants that Kiwis have to choose from. I have always been partial to solid deodorants (roll-ons are too wet!) but they don’t really have any of them here. The options are typically roll-ons or spray-ons (anybody want to explain to me why an “environmentally conscious” country located so close to the ginormous hole in the ozone layer uses so much aerosol?). Regardless of the limited options, I have switched to natural deodorant (sans aluminum) in the past few years so wasn’t interested in the majority of the selection available anyway. I instead had to seek out health food/organic shops in order to find natural deodorants, but they never had one that seemed quite right. I’m not enough of a hippie to go for the powdery stuff you sprinkle on, and I was skeptical about a liquid spray on. There were a few solid choices, but they all seemed to have very “alternative” scents to them. The only other ones were super flowery and made me gag.

I tried a random natural solid that seemed to have a pleasant neutral smell, but quickly realized I hated it. Living out of a backpack, however, I couldn’t exactly go out trying a bunch of different ones and toting them around with me. This one left my pits sticky and uncomfortable; it wasn’t working. Luckily, my family came for the holidays, and though I didn’t think enough ahead to have them bring some of my favorite stuff from home, my sister and I have fairly similar deodorant taste, so I ended up swapping with her. Kimberly had one that she was also trying to use up, but it was slightly more tolerable than mine. She also promised to ship me some new stuff when she got home.

I continued traveling after my family left and, eventually, found in a small town’s health food shop, my deodorant! It was, of course marked up astronomically – being imported in from the States, and located in a small town – but I jumped at the chance to buy it! I thought my pits would be happy again, so I splurged the $25 on the lovely stick of aloe vera scented Jason’s.

I’m not sure if it was all the changing between deodorants or the summer heat, but when I started using my old favorite, I experienced some serious foaming action I had never seen before! Not sure what that was all about, but after a couple weeks, my body seemed to be used to it again and tolerated it fine.

When I noticed that my treasured deodorant was starting to run low, and Kimberly had not yet shipped any from the States, I bugged her a few times, and had to cut down my dose to conserve it! One stroke instead of three? Or maybe I would just alternate arms with each day. Either way, I wasn’t about to go buy some Kiwi deodorant!

Finally my flatmate told me there was a package for me! I ran to open it and decided not to remove the contents until I was in my room, where nobody else would see that it merely contained two sticks of deodorant and a wee note. I wasn’t exactly sure what my flatmates would think of my excitement level over a couple of toiletries. Of course, now I am publishing this for the world to see – I guess I’ve realized that everybody has to deodorize somehow!

Deodorant was never something I really planned about. Of course I left the States with a stick, but I didn’t think about needing to go through such a mission to replace it when it was finished! I figured there would be different products available in NZ, but I never imagined how different they might be! I guess I’ve learned that whether it be a favorite kind of chocolate, or that special brand of deodorant, you can’t count on it being available 9000 miles away from home!

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