I’m at Trader Joe’s. I’m grocery shopping.
Walking through the aisles and picking stuff.
I learnt about Trader Joe’s just recently. My American roommate told me about it.
I didn’t even know there was such a thing.
I previously used to do all of my grocery shopping at Walgreens. A few blocks down Powell.
I go down Powell on my way to a number of places. The college HQ, events – a lot of places. And the Walgreens logo is pretty conspicuous, so I learnt of the location pretty quickly.
I learnt about Trader Joe’s later. I think it was during Halloween. I was roaming around the city – it was me, a Spanish classmate, and my roommate. We were trying to get costumes. We hadn’t even made up our minds on what we wanted to dress as.
My roommate said he wanted to go get some sushi somewhere.
We said alright.
And then we all went to into this grocery store on California street that I never even knew existed.
I was just walking around like Ohh wait what, there’s this place? Whatt?? All this while I’ve been shopping like Walgreens is the only place to buy stuff – Whattt?
So now I shop at Trader Joe’s every now and then. More frequently than Walgreens actually.
Well not really.
Usually when I shop at Trader Joes I get more stuff, and so there’s a longer span of time before I have to go grocery shopping again.
So I don’t know.
There’s this other store my roommate talks about. Costco.
He says his whole family shops there.
There was this day he came to the room with like two whole suitcases full of groceries. In fact I think they were more than two.
He says at Costco you can get membership cards and this gives you some huge discounts on stuff you buy. So his parents do like family-sized grocery shopping at solid discounts.
Shopping at Costco. Hm. Now I’m curious.
Sounds like such an American thing.
Oh hey look at me shopping at Costco with my membership card and getting huge family-sized discounts.
Such USA, so American ooh.
I also recently learnt about 7-Eleven pizza.
I was in the room of a Kenyan classmate. I probably stopped by to chat about something. He had one of his friends around. Also Kenyan. Was studying at UC Berkeley.
As we all chatted and shared laughs, something they were eating caught my eye.
It was pizza.
But the smell though, the smell. Oh man.
It had a very distinct smell.
I asked if I could have a slice. They said sure why not.
Next thing I knew I was asking for a precise description of where they got the pizza.
Wait, so the place is called 7-Eleven right?
Oh there’s a 7-Eleven around Battery street?
Mm, and they’re open twenty-four hours?
Wait, it’s just like ten dollars for the largest size?
Oh there’s another one on Powell?
That evening I became a staunch believer in 7-Eleven pizza.
On a random evening you can find me puffing my way up Powell street, with like two cartons of 7-Eleven pizza in my arms – the largest size of pizza they have.
Sometimes I even get three at once.
The pepperoni pizza is wonderful, the BBQ is okay, and there’s this one that has all sorts of meat stuff ohh.
The hill on Powell is funny.
Sometimes I think about how many calories I could possibly gain from eating three largest-size 7-Eleven pizzas – People think about calories a lot in this place – And I’m pretty convinced I burn pretty much the same amount of calories just getting the pizzas up to my dorm room.
I’m in the “Bread” section of Trader Joe’s.
There’s this thing my American roommate introduced me to.
Cinnamon Raisin bread.
Jesus. Jesus Christ.
That thing. That freaking thing.
I mean, initially I had doubts when he suggested I try out some that he bought.
The bread looked weird and mouldy and damp.
I was like ehhh I don’t know, it looks sketchy, I don’t know….
I took one bite and became a convert.
So yeah, on a random day at Trader Joe’s you’ll probably find me stocking my trolley with a customary loaf of Cinnamon raisin bread.
I’m at the Cereal section.
I’m making up my mind on some options.
A hand touches me from behind, and slowly snakes its way around my waist.
Very surprised, I turn around to see a cheeky face smiling up at me.
Oh heyyy. Hey you.
Image: Somewhere along the Embarcadero.