Milk in a Bag and Wine in a Box

There have been times in the past few days that I feel Guatemalan, that is until I went to the grocery store.

I have been to Antigua four times previously and I know my way around more or less. I have a favorite coffee shop and favorite bakery. I know where to get free internet  and where to find the best smoothies. However, I was not  prepared for my trip the local grocery store: The Bodegona

For one, I do not understand Guatemala’s standard of organization or lack there of. Bananas, avocados and basil are grouped together and sold in large containers next to the bread, yogurt and baby diapers. Hmm? I wandered through the aisles looking for those staples you buy when you move into a new place: toilet paper, napkins, a broom, some spices, olive oil, vinegar, etc. And I figured while I was there I might as well buy some groceries.

First discovery: Milk sold in a bag. No joke. I opted for the milk in a carton. Can’t handle too much change in a week now can we.

Next: I wanted some wine and because I am usually a two-buck-chuck kinda wine girl I naturally looked for the cheapest wine they had. Only to find it was wine in a box! Yep. Vino en Caja as they say. Who knew? Milk in a Bag and Wine in a Box.

Final realization: After I checked out, bagged my own groceries, forked over too many quetzales for my first grocery run, I stood there holding juggling my three bags and realized I had to walk home!

Somehow in the chaos that is the grocery store I forgot that I don’t have a trunk to throw my groceries in or even a car for that matter. So, I started walking the half-mile home, fumbling with my bags trying to keep two on my shoulder, one in my hand and balance my purse in the other. I must have looked pathetic because about 1 block into my trek a tuk-tuk (see picture) pulled up alongside the curb. My hero. For a small fee, I eagerly hopped in and got a ride home.

In case you weren’t sure I am not Guatemalan. I am an American. And I shop like an American. Americans tend to buy big and buy more. We have Costco and SUVs and are used to buying bags of chips the size of small children and enough toilet paper to last 6 months. Well, I am quickly learning that is not going to work here.  I am going to have to learn to live a little more Guatemalan.

I have a feeling I am going to learn a lot about living on less. What does it look like to only buy what I need for a week? Not for an entire month? What does it mean to simplify? And to maybe buy just enough so I can walk home from the grocery store?

Michelle vs. Guatemalan Grocery Shopping  0-1

I lost. Rematch next week.

P.S. I found a great place to live. Pictures coming soon!

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3 thoughts on “Milk in a Bag and Wine in a Box

  1. michelle, i am very excited for you and jealous of your current adventure. and also excited to read about what it is like to live to guatemala. random tidbit (that i learned in seattle)- it was the japanese who taught us to organize our markets when they opened up shops in pike’s place. i don’t know if that is true for all of the US, but at least the west. genius!

  2. Haha! Love it! Reminds me of when you stocked up to live in Clark H freshman year of college. I’m excited to see pictures of the place you found to live. I prayed you would find one soon!!

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