First things first, let’s talk about food.
Rotel. Diced tomatoes and green chilies are the secret ingredient to 99% of my recipes. I’d be lost without this crowd pleaser, so I’m glad I went overboard and brought somewhere in the realm of 70 cans.
Camellia Red Beans. They do sell dry red kidney beans here, but it's just not the same as this authentic Louisiana brand.
Oatmeal. Now I only brought enough of the Quaker instant packs to get me through the first few months. After that, it’s porridge for me. I don’t care what people say, but porridge and oatmeal are not the same thing. Not even close. Yuck.
Cake and cookie mixes. They sell them here as well, but not in as many varieties.
Pinto beans. Although they are available from time to time, it’s nothing to hang your hat on, so I’m glad I brought a few cans of those as well.
Other than that, I’ve been able to find most of the food products I need, or at least find comparable substitutions.
Hanging racks. Though I’m mostly relegated to long sleeves and jeans while in Scotland, I have accumulated a nice collection of maxi-dresses and professional wear over the past few years that I didn't necessarily want to give up simply because I'm now a housewife living in the Arctic circle. Even though they aren’t part of my daily wardrobe, they do come into use for functions and vacations to mainland Europe. We’ve made one of the bedrooms into an office/dressing room and I keep all of my extraneous clothing hanging in here. I’ll be shopping from this rack for my upcoming trip to Poland, where it is currently 82 degrees.
Hiking boots. My Mom gifted her Scotland hiking boots to me, and I’ve already gotten a lot of use out of them. They prevent me from looking like a complete poser when I go trekking through the hills, though I’m afraid my denim trousers give my amateur status away pretty quickly. Either way, it’s good to have ankle protection when getting dragged down a hill by a very eager Brittany spaniel.
Furniture with built in storage. When Jon and I got engaged, we expected to start our newly wedded lives in an 1000 square foot apartment, so we prepared for this by ensuring that all of the furniture we bought doubled as storage space. Circumstances changed and we ended up buying a 3 bedroom house in Midland, but I’m sure glad that now we have a coffee table that will house all of our throw blankets, gym bags, and board games and a TV stand that can hold my massive Disney movie collection.
Our Step Up/Step down converters. Since we only plan on being in Scotland 2-3 years before we embark on our next ex-pat adventure, it didn’t make financial sense for us to invest in all new appliances. These bulky, electricity guzzling devices allow us to keep on using our American coffee makers, elliptical machines, wireless printers and DVD players so I’m glad they made the trip.
Vonage. I’m so glad we brought Vonage equipment so that we can more easily keep in touch with the States through our US phone number. I think you can get Vonage in the UK, but since the UK is likely a temporary stop for us, I’m glad we set it up before we left the States.
Kindle Fire. I’m also really glad my honey spoiled me with a Kindle fire before moving to the UK. There’s not a Barnes and Noble in our neck of the planet and having an e-reader makes buying books much easier. Especially since I’m now signed up for 2 book clubs. I’m crazy like that. The Kindle fire also eliminates the question of where to put the book when I’m done reading it. Have I mentioned we’re short on storage space?
Well I’m sure that time will tell what other items are invaluable to us, but for now, it’s 60 degrees and sunny-ish in Aberdeen, and I’ve got a new book to read on my Kindle, so I really must be getting out the door to enjoy our patio furniture. A week ago, I was questioning our logic in even bringing our outdoor furniture, but today, I am patting myself on the back for such a genius decision.