There are a lot of things that people take for granted, some of the simplest things that they would never think are unique to their place of origin.
If you are from another country or state, you know the feeling of missing the weirdest things from home, things that are nowhere to be found in the beehive state.
The first thing that I always took for granted from home is the corner convenience store. Located in almost every corner of every street, there was a convenience store that would save you from making another trip to the actual grocery store. These stores were so close to my house that my mom used to send me to them at a young age without adult supervision, because they were only a couple of houses away from mine.
In these convenience stores (run most of the time by my neighbors), people could find almost anything, from milk, cheese and eggs to candy and hygiene products. Most of the time, prices were affordable, and if mother didn’t give you enough, the owner would put your name down on “the notebook” where he or she would keep track of the people who owed money.
The second thing I’m unable to find in the beehive state, something I took for granted for 18 years of my life, is the fresh produce stores (known as verdulerias).
Fresh produce stores were something that I would visit often. The stores were filled with the freshest fruit of the season, as well as a good inventory of vegetables and spices.
The employee of the store would cut some fresh fruit for his customers so that customers would buy the seasonal item. I remember many times being in line at the produce store and getting some fresh, juicy mango, watermelon or an orange.
The best thing about going there was that if customers didn’t know how to cook something or what the ingredients were for a recipe, the employee would give some advice on what vegetables to get, making the service more satisfactory than going somewhere like Walmart.
Next on the list is something that in Mexico we called “papeleria” or, in English, stationery. It was paradise to me. The stationery carried a large inventory of office supplies at a retail price.
It was my favorite because it was like going to an Office Depot, but these would be in a very reduced space, and usually, the employee would be your friend, since you would purchase something there on a daily basis.
The last one is something very simple and very popular in Mexico, “tortilleria” (a store that specializes in the production of tortillas). I remember every single day after school, my grandma and I would get in line to buy some warm, fresh tortillas.
If the tortillas store was good, they would give a warm tortilla to each person in line, but that’s not all; they would provide the salsa as well because a tortilla without salsa is not the same. Even though the line was long, most of the time, nothing would compared to the smell of fresh tortillas.
Next time you go home, take advantage of the things that you are not able to get in Utah and appreciate what the saying teaches: “There’s no place like home.”