(Synthetic) Love from Home

By - March 12, 2007 (Updated: November 28, 2014)

‘Food’ products that are probably outlawed in Belgium… Yummy! (Note the stamps on the box…)

I know I’ve commented before on how great it is to get fun mail. These days, with the prevalence (ok, utter indispensability) of e-mail, skype and chat, it’s easy to stay in touch with friends and family. However, there’s something wonderful about a homemade card (Jenn, Cheri), a funny Hallmark (parents on both sides) or a great package like the one I picked up today.

About a month ago my friend Amy (you may recall, she’s the one who I’ve been buds with since I was 5 and people used to think we were twins) offered to send me Shaye’s latest CD, knowing there was no way in hell I could get it in Belgium. I took her up on the offer and since there was nothing else I was particularly craving from home told her to add whatever she felt like. I was expecting the Cd… maybe a card or a note… with Ame, I should have known better.

I got the note in my box on Friday that I had a package waiting at the post office (of course I only ever get these on Friday so I have to wait all weekend.) Andrew drove me over this morning to pick it up… it was much larger than a CD. The first thing I noticed were the 87 stamps… Andrew then pointed out the super-sexy picture taped to the back of the box… was I drunk in that one…? God I hope so…

Like a good girl, I waited until I got home to rip into the box (partially because I didn’t know if the contents were fit for Belgian eyes… coming from Amy you never quite know…)

The first thing I pulled out was, of course, KD. The original kind (I don’t like people messing around with all these new fangled KD flavours… it should be neon orange, just like God intended). The next box contained something that Amy correctly suspected that I wasn’t getting my fill of in Belgium… potatoes. No not REAL potatoes… potatoes in a box. North America… you’ve gotta love it.

Continuing with the synthetic food theme, there was also a packet of Alfredo sauce mix that I used to eat all the time and a package of grape Kool-aid… because, well, just because. The last food item made me tear up with memories…
Cheddar Bits & Bites were something that kind of defined the relationship between Amy and I. We always ate them together. To the uninitiated, Bits & Bites is a snack mix that contains four different shapes: Shreddies, pretzel sticks, cheerios and cheese sticks. Amy always ate the shreddies and cheerios which I hated. We’re good like that – Opposites that work together.

Besides the food, there was of course the CD which is cranked up on the computer as I type. Some goodies from Lush (my favourite and the closest one to me right now is Amsterdam), a lip gloss and underwear… because when you’ve known someone since they’re 5… underwear is a totally acceptable gift.

There’s a letter that made me laugh and cry and a birthday card that sums us up pretty well. Thanks babe, you rock. Xx

Yay for shoes!

While I’m on the subject of my awesome friends back home (you all know who you are), I have to send out another huge thank you to my friend Jenn. You may have noticed a quick comment to Jenn in my Pau post in regards to some totally impractical boots. Well, Jenn sent me an e-mail on my birthday that she had deposited money into my bank account and I was to use it for something totally frivolous that she would approve of if she was here… well with Jenn that means one thing – SHOES.

Does the fact that I can walk more than 20 meters in them without bleeding mean they are too practical?

Now, I have to say that most of my girlfriends are shoe whores. Jenn takes the cake though. The downside being she has utterly tiny feet compared to my clod-hoppers so I could never borrow hers. We had a great time shoe shopping in Amsterdam together and she can always convince me that red patent-leather Mary Jane’s are indeed practical and why not buy them in several colours while I’m at it.

So darling, Thanks bunches and let me know if you approve… Xx

If you like this, you might like:

Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
I'm always shocked (in a good way) at what a great response we get to our Belgian Gift Guide. This year's is even... - 5 hours ago


  1. Comment by Alison

    Alison March 12, 2007 at 21:22

    Jenn – I’m glad you like them 🙂 You have great gift giving taste 😉

  2. Comment by Jenn

    Jenn March 12, 2007 at 20:32

    Oh Al, I absolutely love them. The email you sent wouldn’t open the pics so I’m glad you put these on the site. They are cute and the fact that they’re black makes them very practical 🙂 Makes me want to go shoe shopping 🙂

  3. Comment by christina

    christina March 13, 2007 at 00:22

    Heee! I’m laughing my head off at the food. 🙂 You know, my parents used to send tons of those boxed scalloped potatoes to my grandparents (now deceased, unfortunately) in Austria for Christmas. They just loved them for some reason. Also, my kids tasted KD for the first time last summer and…they weren’t impressed. Where did I go wrong??
    Very cute shoes and have fun drinking grape Kool Aid ’til your tongue turns blue! 🙂

  4. Comment by Alison

    Alison March 13, 2007 at 09:27

    Christina – Yeah, I’m not too sure about the boxed potatoes although there was one particular brand that I was quite attached to at one point in my life.
    Your kids don’t like KD??? I guess you didn’t start them early enough… I think you need to smell it cooking from the womb 🙂

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