From Cisterns to the Commissary

For the last few weeks, words like “Bosphorous, Hagia Sophia, and Suleiman” have floated through my head. It’s because I’m looking forward to a trip to Istanbul this weekend with girlfriends. There are many Turkish immigrants here so Turkey may not seem so exotic to Germans. But, to me, Turkey’s ancient history and their balance between East and West has always been intriguing.

My friends and I are able to do this because our husbands are willing to survive a weekend on their own with the children. I try not to look at it as payback but they all have had many solo ventures of their own to far flung places like Singapore, Hong Kong, Seoul, Buenos Aires, Mumbai, Johannesburg, Hanoi, and on and on. I know, it’s for work, not leisure. (Gary’s done this for the last 10 years–it’s hard on him and not easy for those of us back home.) But these places still beckon me. Right now, however, I am very happy with Istanbul.

I am nearly just as excited for another journey I’m taking: to the commissary on the U.S. military base in Weisbaden. A friend of mine here who is connected to U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt has access and is taking me along next week. Just how exciting is this? Well, ever since Nora heard about it, she’s been leaving me notes all over the house listing American items that she misses: Goldfish, Pirate Booty, Nutrigrain bars, etc. My list could only be exciting to a person who wants to cook and bake with American recipes: chicken broth, rolled oats, Nestle chocolate chips, Domino brown sugar, etc.

It was surprising, no actually shocking to me that you can’t just go to a grocery store here and buy a quart of chicken broth. I can only suspect the worst possible reason for this: Germans make it from scratch at home. Who has time for that?? When my Father and Stepmother, Mary, visited a few months ago, Mary learned that finding a quart of chicken broth here was like finding a lost treasure. She then did the most unexpected and wonderful thing: she spent half a day making chicken broth, placing it in individual packets and put them in the extra freezer in the basement. How is that for a blue-ribbon houseguest?! Just thinking about it now reminds me of all the other ways our family and friends help us when they visit or when we go back. The list is so, so long. Thank you.

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