My friends in Puerto Rico and I have been living in the Dark Ages; we have been cheated of variety and quality in food, amongst other things! The abundance in the supermarkets of LA is staggering, whether you're scoping out the Trader Joe's or Whole Foods supermarket. It doesn't really matter where you go; since the geographical location of California is across the nation from Puerto Rico, there are some jarring differences that leave me very shocked. I felt like a child opening their eyes for the first time; it was an experience as mundane as a supermarket visit, but I found it riveting to the core.
Back home, we have amazing cooks, — and I mean amazing, — but not that much variety to choose from. Still, the food is great if you're into carbs and condiments. What I love the most about Puerto Rico — at least after family and friends, — is the food. However, walking into the supermarkets of California has made me feel that we are living in the dark. The choices here are so much more healthy. In reality, your palate could never get bored because it's not likely you will be enticed to have the same meal again for one or two months. If you were so inclined, as I am, you could eat three different meals every day and easily hit the month mark. Everything looks so good that I think I may just be setting aside my comfort foods and favorites to try new things... maybe not for a month, but enough to get a good idea of what is available.
There is so much variety in fact that all I could do is stand there and stare. There were products I have never heard of before and products from familiar brands that I have not seen in Puerto Rico. I really love the thought put into the packaging as well; it provides a melancholy memory of what it was like to go to college at Ringling. Even then, I don't remember Whole Foods being this massive. Perhaps the one in Sarasota was of a smaller scale than this one. The aisles were jam packed with food; I wonder how they sell it all without having it go to waste, then remember that there are so many people here that it won't matter if they pay attention to quantity or not. They are so lucky! I wish that we had this kind of abundance back home, but I need to be realistic. Puerto Rico is an island very far, far away from the distributors of these products. Sending groceries over to the island must be very costly. When you think about it, though, it's a necessity also.
I love the fact that there are so many people here concerned with their health and healthy living, although I know there are just as many that enjoy fast food. Even if I haven't participated in a while, I do too. I love fast food and I looove Chipotle!
I realize that the glamor of being in an alien city has been very overwhelming and makes me come off as lost or naive, but I don't mind. It feels really good to get excited over an Ikea, Whole Foods and Chipotle. They are businesses we lack back where I am from, and while for those it is an every day kind of thing, for me it's actually pretty magical. I humorously feel as if I have stumbled upon a grocery secret that is being kept from Puerto Rico... and I can't wait to send treats to my loved ones back home; I know they're going to love it as much as I do. I miss them so much.
My first week in LA feels like a very surreal dream. I will share the experience of transitioning from the Caribbean to the West Coast very soon.