The First Sign of Moving.... Cleaning Out the Fridge

  • I am quickly becoming accustomed to the regular packing up and moving from one country to another. We are now on a full year of moving as a family (our first move was across the US from New York to Texas before moving on to another country entirely) and I have learned that the first sign of an impending change of location is the stopping of grocery buying and the cleaning out of the refrigerator. All of the leftovers need to be eaten or thrown out, no new food can go in because there is no time in which to eat it and all food decisions need to be made based around eating whatever has accumulated around the kitchen. The goal is zero food left behind, but of course, that never happens.

    A year into this process and the reality is is that we still dramatically overbuy our food provisions for wherever we are. It feels like we have so much time in which to eat it all, but there just isn't. When you live in a single place for years at a time you don't think about the fact that your ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, cereal, salad dressings and more last for months or maybe years. Spices even longer. Vinegar, cooking oil... you collect this stuff and use it in small quantities over a long period of time. You buy based on how long food while keep from spoiling not if you can eat it and match it all together before moving on. We are facing a whole new world of food acquisition challenges that we had not foreseen. Leaving Nicaragua we left behind a kitchen completely stocked with food. We are getting better, but it is a learning process, to be sure.

    Now I know that the first sign of us preparing to move on to a new place is our changes in food habits. In reality, we need to condition ourselves to begin this process much earlier, at least two or three weeks before we leave somewhere rather than one or one and a half. There are so many unknowns going into the "home stretch." Right now, it is the Christmas holiday, but there is always something. Food management is a problem that we had never really thought about and short term travelers rarely face and long time relocators do not face but those of us doing the constant movement from one place to another have to deal with it constantly.

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