Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Grocery Shopping in Denmark

Before I begin with today´s adventure, I need to show you what will greet you when you enter our home Haraldsgade in Herning because I am so proud of this!

My dear friends, Dustin and Shelly, gave Mads and me the ultimate wedding gift. It is framed picture of NØRGAARD but not just with ordinary letters! The three of us have been friends for many years, so each of the 8 letters in my new last name is a black and white photo that they took from a sign that has personal meaning to the three of us. Some of the letters are easy to associate like the "O" represented by the Starbucks symbol...but others are location jokes that only we understand, which is what makes the gift so special. Not only does it represent my new name and hang in a place of prominence in my new home, but it is a constant reminder of the memories I have created with these two friends over the years in Allen, Texas. I cannot wait for visitors to see this and ask about it!

Now for today´s adventure... we set out today with one thing planned...for me to have my first real shopping experience in Denmark. We headed to the kitchen appliance store first...to look at new coffee pots as well as the kitchen things that I will need when I get here. We need a new coffee pot because the one Mads has only makes 10 cups and does not have a timer...so either we get one with a timer, or he will have to run downstairs each morning to turn it on when we wake up! LOL

I also needed to find my 2 main kitchen appliances...a rice cooker and a crock pot. You may ask yourself why on earth I would list a rice cooker as one of my main appliances....well, just remember, I AM A CAJUN GIRL.... nuff said.

We found the rice cooker (for 60 bucks!!) at the third store we went to, but discovered that Crock Pots AKA Slow Cookers do not exist in Denmark!! Not sure how I will make pot roast in the future, but I guess that is a worry for another day!

The most exciting part of buying the rice cooker was that I bought it with my DANKORT! My Danish visa check card! I have discovered over the last year that my regular check card does not work all over Denmark so Mads opened me an account at the bank and ordered me my own DanKort....and after depositing money in my account today, I was able to use it for the first time!! Woo hoo! So now my money IS good in Jutland!!

Then came the exiting part of the day... the grocery store. We went to 3 different stores so I could see the differences between them and then actually bought our groceries at the last one. I am trying to stay very open-minded and not say "but in America...." and I am also trying my hardest NOT to think about how much each price is in American dollars. Nichole told me that if I did that, I would make myself sick over how much things cost! First stop in the grocery store...TOILETRIES! There are just some things a woman has got to have and when you use the same brands for YEARS, you become quite accustomed to them. For instance..DEODERANT. I am not a stickler for the brand (although I am definitely a Lady Speed Stick kind of gal) but I do demand one thing.... A STICK! And here is what I found in all three stores:

STICKS DO NOT EXIST FOR WOMEN! Guess I will stock up before I move!

Next stop...shave gel. Although I have used SKINTIMATE GEL for YEARS, I could switch to some other brand as long as it was comparable to what I like... so I give you...
Gillette Satin Care for women...

not a bad substitution...until I saw the price... in American dollars, it comes out to being about 9 bucks for the same sized can.....you have got to be kidding me!

But then came the worse discovery of the day...
Unless I get pregnant or go through menopause before I move, this last item is quite important to me.... again, one of those comforts of life you just get used to... well, after much searching, I can now announce that

Tampax PEARL Tampons cannot be found in Jutland.... what am I going to do??!!

The stress was building... the idea of being flexible, quickly fading. I already knew I would have to import my JIF peanut butter and my hazlenut coffee, but all my personal items as well? I am going to have to buy stock in Fed Ex!

The last discovery of the day was perhaps the toughest of them all. I have had pink and white nails for about the last ten years... I never go longer than three weeks without having them filled and I knew that it would be more expensive to maintain this in Denmark. We kept joking and saying that I could afford to pay double for this because it was so important to me..
Well, we went by one of the salons here in Herning, just to find out what the typical price would be for this "necessity"....
Here is the price comparison for my nails---hope you are sitting down.
A new set in Dallas ... $35
A fill every 2 to 3 weeks ... $30
A new set in Denmark ... $700 DK (which is $140 American Dollars)
A fill every 2 to 3 weeks in Denmark ... $625 DK (which is $125 American Dollars)
Seeing my face when I realized I will not get to keep my nails ... PRICELESS.

So alas, things are different....very different. Not necessarily bad....just different. The next few months will prove to be very interesting as I shed the nails, stock up on the Lady Speed STICK and figure out how to get Tampax to add PEARLS to their regular shipments to Denmark!!

I think I may need to find a support group..especially as I face the NAIL SHEDDING TRAUMA! Anyone know of a good therapist??!!

I am headed to bed.....my last night here before I head west at 6am Wednesday morning. Leaving is filled with mixed emotions as the thought of leaving Mads and Herning hurts like hell but the thought of seeing Jess and Albert makes my day....I think I am living the ultimate definition of BITTERSWEET.


HOLMES said...

Those prices have my palms sweating. $140 for nails??? WOW.

As for the tampons.... OMG IS THAT CARDBOARD? I can't tell. OUCH.

That thing looks great in your house! Now that I know the nail prices, I'm wishing we would have put the R from Star Nails on there!

Love you both!

Unknown said...

That was a great post! I remember when I went to Vienna for a summer design program I was shocked to find out the tampons didn't even have APPLICATORS!! We're talking the original OB. I finally had to just suck it up. I will say that Danish yogurt is the best, and I am still trying to find an equivalent in America. And that is CRAZY about the nail cost!!! Can you order Tampax Pearl (my fave, too) through Amazon, or something, and have them shipped to you? I am totally taking notes for the future... :)

journeyinfinite said...

I did the nail shedding trauma last year. I just got tired of seeing pink and white.

Well, it was four months of pain and crappy nails! There is no way to avoid your nails being very thin when they take the acrylic off. They will crack easily and your nail bed will hurt from any tap on your thin nails. I tried the strengthener stuff, and it made my nail bed burn! My nails looked crappy and short, too.

After 4 months, they'll grow out enough so the pain is gone and they start to look human. Now I love my natural nails, and I love that I get to polish them any color I want, if I want. The 4 months of agony made me vow never to do acrylic again...I'm permanently de-clawed!

Nichole said...

Remember when I said, before you freak out about not finding something to ask me??? :o)

I seriously meant it. So, good news, there IS a solid stick deodorant. I use Dove silk dry. I can't remember if I found it at SuperBest (which use to be ISO) or at Føtex. But it does exist! I'll find out where I got it for you.

That is the same shaving cream I use. I like it, and I usually have to grab it as fast as I can without looking at the price. When all the money comes in as Kroner, it is much easier to not think about what it would cost in dollars.

Just FYI, Amazon UK ships free to Denmark, but depending on how much is shipped you will be taxed on the merchandise. Sometimes it will equal itself out, but other times, well...you know how the taxes are here.

I LOVE the Norgaard sign. I wish Dustin and Shelly could have seen your eyes and face glow as you were telling us about it. You are lucky to have some wonderful friends that would make you something so perfect.

Nichole said...

I just thought of something.

I HIGHLY recommend bringing your own meds with you. Things like a pain killer, Nitequil, cough medicine, TheraFlu, Pepto and an allergy medicine(if you have allergies). There is a good pain killer here, but it pales in comparison to all the American brands. The other stuff isn't really available here. And even if it were, it probably wouldn't live up to our American expectations. Meds can't be shipped because they will be confiscated by customs so it will have to be something you bring with you. Some of Michaels co-workers and our friends who have lived in the states often ask Michael if he can bring back certain meds for them.

We are rarely sick in the states, but here, we are exposed to so many different new strands of stuff that we find ourselves sick much more over here.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure that is the price for nails over there? I got mine filled while I was in Germany over the summer and it was about the same price...of course, I was in Berlin, which is a bit larger of a city perhaps? Anyway, you might investigate a bit more...They had the same Asian places in Berlin like they had in the US, only it was absolutely impossible to understand them speak English with a German Korean accent.

Another note...my friend Sandra from Berlin always stocks up on Urinary Tract pain meds (AZO)when she's here. Apparently, you can only get that stuff through a prescription over there.

The good news is, tampons and deodorant are light. That is totally no biggie to have shipped to you. Just e-mail me, Shelly, or someone...and we can pop a few in the mail to you.

Anonymous said...

One more thing...keep it in perspective. For every American item you love that you can't find in Denmark, you'll find some Denmark item that when you visit to the states, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it here...

HOLMES said...

I wonder if they will confiscate mailed medicine if you hide it in 4-lb jars of peanut butter?