Tag Archives: seattle

life without trader joe’s

Traderjoes

Or, How Sabrina is Coping Poorly Outside of Her Natural Habitat.

I miss Trader Joe’s.

That can pretty much sum it all up.

But I’ll explain, because that makes a better story.

Okay.  I’ve lived within reasonable proximity to a Trader Joe’s (2-4 miles) for the past 8 years or so (and Whole Foods, but they’re becoming over-rated).  Oh, you don’t know what a Trader Joe’s is?  Let me fix that.

Trader Joe’s is essentially a haven for wanna-be foodies who have a budget, hippies who desire vegetarian, organic, and alternative fare, and it is also friendly to those who live gluten-free.  In Southern California, Trader Joe’s is frequented by yuppies; in the PNW, well, Trader Joe’s is a given for almost anybody.  There you can find the yummiest coconut milk ice cream, the cheapest organic spaghetti sauce, the tastiest dark chocolate covered almonds with sea salt, some of the most innovative food creations, cheap, organic veggies, the best junk food paraded as healthy food, and mostly, I was a very happy human being shopping there.

For four of those years, I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest, where I naturally acclimated as a nerd, quasi-hippie, musician, bookworm, and an individual who is generally interested in the arts.  Health food stores are a given there (Marlene’s was the best!  Who knew local health food stores could have such lovely delis!), and vegans are so common that no one bats an eyelash in encountering one.  I was safe, happy, and comfortable in this environment.  I shopped every week at Trader Joe’s, because, for the things that I normally buy, it was the least expensive option.  When I first moved to the PNW, Trader Joe’s was a welcome, familiar place.  I also frequented Marlene’s…surprise, surprise.

I moved to the South in July.  And boy oh boy, was there plenty of culture shock in the food department.  Nearest Whole Foods?  60 minutes away.  Trader Joe’s? Around the same.  Nearest health food store (a tiny one, without a deli)?  A good 6 miles away.  The nearest grocery store?  Kroger.  The only grocery stores in town?  Food Lion, and…Kroger.  I’ve had to reassemble life without inexpensive access to organic baby carrots, natural peanut butter, free-range chicken, gluten-free snickerdoodles, sweet potato chips, organic olive oil, vinho verde, and…basically everything I’m used to snacking on.  Any (rare) equivalent I might find at Kroger’s is around 100% more expensive.

The funny thing is, Trader Joe’s requires a high collegiate population in order to place a store in that city.  Lynchburg is teeming with undergraduate and graduate students.  Why no Trader Joe’s?  Why?

And it’s not just Trader Joe’s I’m missing.  I still mope over the fact that I can’t pop over to Metropolitan Market and grab a vegan, gluten-free cupcake.  Those kind of cupcakes don’t exist in Lynchburg.  I’d have to scrounge up the ingredients to make them myself, and would seriously luck out if I didn’t have to spend half a day traveling to find them.  BUT.  I would be very happy if there was just a Trader Joe’s nearby.

There’s something to be said for eating familiar foods; it’s good for the soul, don’t you think?  Somehow, everything else will be okay, as along as I can put familiar foods in my belly.  But for now, there’s an ache in my belly and consequently, my soul, because they miss Trader Joe’s.

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on apathy and action

I like Seattle.  It is home to some of my favorite coffee shops, favorite bookstores, favorite ice cream, favorite scenery, favorite buildings, favorite people, favorite chocolate, favorite weather, among other things.

In this city, I can usually share about my faith in a nonchalant manner, and receive neither an overtly negative nor positive response.  This usually results because someone, (who sits, or stands across or beside me as we wait for some function/event, or stand in line, or share a coffee shop table, or wait for the bus) in doing their small talk duties, will ask about my background.  After I respond, they nod and say, oh, that’s nice! and perhaps inquire with a benign, follow-up question or two.

I spoke with a woman the other night.  A very intelligent, congenial, beautiful, older woman.  I remember her green eyes and dyed red hair, but  I don’t know even know her name.  She sat next to me and began to talk animatedly, as we anticipated the introduction of an admired philosopher, underneath the starry ceiling of a temple.

She began with chit-chat topics, and eventually got to the infamous “what do you do.”

Most people do not expect from the likes of me the kind of answer I give them.  MDiv student, yadayada, books, etc.  Oh, what will you do with that? they ask.  Be a nun?  (Okay, actually, that’s not fair.  I’ve only gotten that response a couple times.  But still.)

Instead, this woman was very attentive and wide-eyed as I explained my aspirations, and she was full of encouraging words as she proceeded to  relate to me how her parents had been missionaries in Japan for over 40 years, but she and her late husband were not particularly “religious.”  She remarked that in her life observations, it did not seem to matter what kind of “faith” someone claimed to have; no matter what their religious alliance is, that faith has been rendered null and void unless that person’s life reflected change.  Claiming a faith means nothing unless others can see what tangible difference it makes in your life.

Quite an accurate and interesting observation, from someone who claims no faith.   I thought she was just repeating James, you know.  But the manner and content of her communication did not relay such knowledge.  She was earnest with that statement, and she hit the nail on the head.

Then I got to thinking…perhaps…this is WHY it’s so easy to be open with one’s faith around here.  Nobody cares, because it’s mostly just talk. So, who gives a fig about what you believe?  It’s fine to be “spiritual” anyway you like….right, ’cause everybody knows you won’t truly act on it.  Laziness and apathy.  Apathy and dishonesty.  Hypocrisy.  Ouch.  In the end, apathy becomes our greatest enemy.

Something is very wrong with that picture, people.  Especially if you claim to know, love, and follow Jesus, yes?  Do others see that?

…yes?  How do you know?

…no?  Well, what in the world are you going to do about it?

I hope you act prayerfully.  If you don’t want to act, I suggest you have a good, long conversation with God about why.

And let’s keep this kind of stagnate-producing-apathy at bay.

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