My Pre-Trip Traditional Buying Frenzy

Each time before I visit my boyfriend, I go on a big shopping spree to bring him supplies.  It’s kind of  a fun trip for me but here’s the thing…when I go on these shopping trips I feel like a bad mom.  You see, when I go shopping, I buy a ton of soda (Dr. Pepper that he can’t get in Kenya), tortilla chips and Cheetos (the most common kind of chip there is potato) and candy (different kinds that can only be purchased here)–that thrown into a cart with a ton of school supplies (coloring books, flash cards, pens, etc.) makes mothers stare me down.  I can hear them wondering what kind of mom I am to buy such bad food for my children, yet still try to feed their education with learning activities.

The part of the shopping expedition that is the most painful is when I am checking out.  The moms behind me and the cashier, seem exhausted by my loot and appalled at the junk I will surely be feeding my children that evening.  So it’s at this point where I offer up something like, “I just love all the school supplies that you have here–they are so reasonably priced.” “Yeah, it’s a great deal,” replies the cashier.  And then I delve further, “Yeah, my boyfriend lives in Kenya and teaches at a school and so all of this stuff will be great for him.” The cashier and people immediately seem to change their positions of judgement to adoration (yes, I realize this may all be in my head), so at this point I hastily continue, “Can you believe they don’t have Dr. Pepper in Kenya? Or tortilla chips?!”

Last time I went on this shopping excursion, the cashier was from Nigeria.  We talked a little about Africa, and then I saw my opening, so I commiserated with her about how tortilla chips are not readily available over there.  She agreed, and I felt relieved to have met someone who could verify my story.

Part of me feels a little guilty for playing the “my boyfriend lives in Kenya” card when I am buying stuff for his school–my real intent is not to be praised for being a do-gooder, or having a selfless boyfriend. Honestly, the bottom line is I just don’t want to be judged and written off as a would-be horrible mother.  So I guess that’s kind of selfish of me, but it’s a good example of when it comes in handy to say, “My boyfriend lives in Kenya.”

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