Day 14: Heaven in a Cardboard Box

This largely unedited free-write is linking up with the Write 31 Days Challenge. // indicates the start and stop of five minutes. The prompt word for today is MAIL. Go!



//  Please Mom… Please send us some toothpaste. Yes, I know there’s toothpaste here, but I can’t find ANYTHING that we like.

Please Mom… Please send us some crackers. I’ve tried every package on the shelf, but NOTHING tastes like home.

Please Mom… Please send us some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. We keep trying different chocolate bars and they look similar, but they don’t taste the same AT ALL.

Please Mom… Please send us some red licorice. We’ve tried different brands and styles, but we’re ALWAYS so disappointed.

Please Mom… Please send us some Tim Horton’s coffee. I just need to taste HOME again.

Please Mom… We’re desperate.

It’s amazing how certain tastes and smells can trigger a tidal wave of memory and desire. We’d only been in South Africa for three months, and we were doing remarkably well, considering.

But let me tell you, being the MOM on this runaway train was a ride that I wasn’t prepared for.

Thankfully, I had another Canadian friend here who helped me with that initial trip to the grocery store. She was such a gift to me. I showed her my typical monthly grocery list, and she took me, aisle by aisle, through the shop…

“So sorry, you can’t find that here. No, you won’t like that, but here’s a better option. Rather choose this brand. Have you considered replacing that with this?”

What a blessing to have her share her wealth of experience with this newbie. She had six years of grocery shopping experience, trial and error, good luck and bad. And I gleaned as much as I could from her. //

Then she was gone, and I was on my own.

I systematically purchased EVERY cracker in the grocery store in an attempt to satisfy the little mouths in our home. EVERY box, EVERY brand, EVERY flavour. All we wanted was a box of Ritz Crackers and nothing else would satisfy. Same with cookies. Same with chocolate bars. Same with toothpaste. All with similar results. “This is weird, Mom.”

I was so frustrated.

I hadn’t expected culture shock to hit our taste buds first, but it did! Click To Tweet

I got so tired of cravings and disappointment. How was I supposed to help my kids handle their homesickness if I couldn’t handle mine?

And then the package arrived!

Oh my goodness! NOTHING tastes better than a cup of your favourite coffee after a long absence. I can still remember cutting the box open―oh, how the smells sent our taste buds into overdrive. Random delights spilled onto the table such as Red Twizzlers, Fuzzy Peaches, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and the grand finale Tim Horton’s French Vanilla Cappuccino.

 Never had the mail brought me so much JOY!

“Here at last. Here at last. Thank God Almighty, it’s here at last!”

[spoken in the manner of Martin Luther King]

Thanks, MOM!


To read more of 31 Days of Mom Awesomeness, click here.


For more information on the Write 31 Days challenge, check out Christina Hubbard’s site!


11 replies
  1. Jolene
    Jolene says:

    Yes, and your post reminds me of all the foods that my Mom makes that taste like home. She has even given me the recipe, but somehow her cooking just tastes better. It tastes like home. I hope you have a happy Friday!

  2. Calvonia Radford
    Calvonia Radford says:

    I’ve been blessed to live in the same state all my life. However when we went to Kenya on a mission trip I had a strong desire for some resemblances of home.

    • Shauna Blaak
      Shauna Blaak says:

      You are very blessed, Calvonia. These days, with such a global community, that’s rare. Enjoy every moment! Thanks so much for visiting today!

    • Shauna Blaak
      Shauna Blaak says:

      Seriously? So jealous. To be fair, South Africa has come a loooong way in ten years when it comes to coffee. When we first moved here, it was difficult to even find coffee beans (mostly instant coffee in the shops). Now, barista coffee is readily available in most restaurants, coffee shops, and even our church coffee lounge. I’m so grateful! (but I still keep an empty container of Tim’s cappuccino in my cupboard, just for the smell 🙂 shhhh)


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