It’s more than just a Costco

I can’t believe how long it has been since I have posted… Things here are plugging along. We are busy with all 3 kids in different schools, on different schedules, and each have their own activities. Life here is really similar to what we would be doing in Seattle, but not quite the same. At times I have thought about posting but while I like to give general updates on the kids I really never thought of this space as being a platform for the minutia of our lives but instead somewhere to share our adventures. As usual there are conversations happening and networking being done which may result in some changes for us, but nothing is for sure yet so it’s too early to start making announcements. One thing these conversations have done is forced me to stop and think about living somewhere really different. We have been so lucky to get the chance to live in the UK and now Australia. We have gotten the chance to experience different places and different lifestyles all while being in very safe locations. Both are English speaking, although there is still plenty of misunderstanding, both are obviously western and the traditions, foods, etc. are very similar to the US. This time we may be taking on a slightly bigger adventure and as we have agonized over locations and lifestyles it has forced me to consider what do we need to be happy somewhere? Turns out the answer to that question just might be Costco.
Everyone I know in Reading and Sydney just rolled their eyes and everyone in Seattle nodded in agreement.
A tour of Sydney wouldn’t be complete without taking Grandma and Papa to our local Costco. We even got a little lunch.
So I love Costco, which is no secret. I think it is a great balance of value and quality, good customer service, and brands I trust. Plus who can beat a $1.50 hot dog and drink? But really that is not the real reason I love Costco so much. I have now been to Costco in 3 countries and I can tell you the warehouse is the same whether you go to the Woodinville location or Reading. The layout is all basically the same, there are some minor differences. In England the candy section is absurdly big and here in Sydney the seafood selection is extensive. As you walk through the brands are all pretty much the same and of course you have the Kirkland Signature options in almost any product. It is the only thing that has been consistent no matter where we live. Walking in those doors is the only place that I am instantly familiar with regardless of how long I have lived in the area. I don’t have to read every package to understand what I’m buying or try out multiple different brands until I find the one I like. It is the easiest part of what is at times a really overwhelming process of getting settled in a new place. It also provides little pieces of home even after we have been here for a while, being able to buy the salsa we like or the warm Carter’s PJs for the kids is really nice. When we get to a new city it is our first stop because we need everything from groceries to bath mats. Once we have done our Costco stock up I can start venturing out to the local stores to figure out where to do our regular shopping, what a good price on milk is, and which chemist is the best. All of that takes time, effort, and usually involves quite a few wrong purchases before I get it right.
They have learned that it is the one place mom is will to buy things like absurdly big ice cream cones.
When we started seriously thinking about another move that would put us in a non-English speaking city my initial thought was that if the school is a fit and our home is comfortable then I can manage the rest. For the kids it is really about them being happy in their school. The benefit of going to an international school is they would be going to school with kids who have the same experiences they do, of having lived different places. We would no longer be the one family with a different accent and no intention of settling down for the long term. We would be part of a larger community of expats who do move and the schools are set up to provide support for families like us. On the home side if we can fit our space I can make it a home. I find that I have become so dedicated to our little family routines. Every Friday night is pizza and a movie night, all 5 of us sit down together and watch a movie while eating our pizza. This seems like a silly little thing that doesn’t matter all that much. But if I can keep our pizza and a movie night no matter where we are it provides that consistency and stability. Those are the things that make different places home not just where we live. For Jamie the transition tends to be a bit faster because he is going to a Microsoft office no matter where we are so for better or worse his experience is really similar regardless of location. For me it is Costco. It really isn’t Costco but it is my job to figure out how we actually live in a new city. Having one place that looks and feels the same really helps.
That being said Seoul has multiple Costcos and Munich has none… so it isn’t our only criteria for moving.
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4 thoughts on “It’s more than just a Costco

  1. It is the tiny familiaties, isn’t it? We get really happy eating real German bread (my husband is German). I have not found any good and affordable cheese in Australia yet, still searching…..

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    1. We should trade notes as we just left Sydney and are in Munich now. I believe Melbourne has Thomas Dux which has great cheese but not what I would consider affordable for everyday. Unfortunately it was Tasty cheese most days. 🙂 It is definitely the small things that are comforting.

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      1. That is funny! So I will definitely look at your site more extensively, my husband is in Sydney regularly and we are planning to go up there during the summer holiday. You must have plenty of advise for us! I am also looking forward to reading about your experiences in Germany.

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