Posted by: asprockett | February 25, 2013

The Grocery Store is a Worthy Opponent

Who would have guessed the grocery store would be the thing that has stymied me most in my move to Sydney? In my first two days, I took three trips to the grocery store. And yet, my kitchen inventory is limited to:

  • 2 cans of soup
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1 package of rice cakes
  • 1 package of crackers
  • 1 multi-serve yoghurt (appropriately spelled with an “h” as a Sydney-sider would)
  • 7 apples, 2 bananas, 2 nectarines and a package of sugar plums (because I just had to know what a sugar plum really was outside of the Nutcracker context)
  • 1 jar of peanut butter and 1 jar of jelly
  • 1 container of sweet potato dukkah
  • 1 box of tropical fruit cereal

I’m getting along quite fine, but am struggling to account for my inability to meal plan in the Southern Hemisphere. This is coming from the woman who kept a month of dinner plans clipped to the refrigerator. And yet, I seem to look at fruits, vegetables and grains here and think, “Hm. Wheatberries! I like wheatberries. Oh look. Avocado.” The connections necessary to plan a meal seem to have gone on vacation in Florida while I moved to Sydney to study.

Although our kitchen has limited cooking tools, this hasn’t stopped me before. Two days before moving out of our apartment in Ohio I was making risotto without a single plate still living in the cupboards. And yet, I find myself staring at the pasta and wondering whether I can cook that in a covered stir fry pan. I tend to think it’s possible, but am awaiting my husband’s support to give it a go.

Given my grocery store struggles, you might think I’m not quite ready for a more difficult challenge. And yet I am not (currently) intimidated by the Australia health care system. Although “registering for Medicare” initially threw me for a vocabulary loop, I know where to go for support. I’m confident I’ll figure this system out, despite my complete unfamiliarity with the process or where to start beyond this thing I now own called “Overseas Student Health Cover.” As I prepare to begin my public health degree, I am reminded that this is why I’m here. I am here to learn about making health care accessible, understandable and unintimidating – and what an opportunity to put myself in the shoes of the population that struggles to access or understand the health care system. As I learn the theory and data behind public health initiatives, I will also have the opportunity to experience some of the struggles firsthand, which, I’m confident, will later impact how I plan and implement health programming and reach out to our vulnerable populations.

So while the grocery store may have won rounds 1 through 3, I’m still standing and ready to take on a new opponent: Australian health care.

P.S. Grocery store – when my husband comes and we double team you, watch out!

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