Consumables Shopping: Afghanistan Edition


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consumables shopping, kabul, afghanistan, foreign service, packoutA selection of our preferred consumable items.We had our consumables packout last week. We’re sending 760 pounds of personal hygiene and beauty products, cleaning supplies, snacks, nonperishable foods and other goods to Afghanistan. This is separate from the roughly 600+ pounds of clothes and housing items we shipped directly from El Salvador.consumables shopping, kabul, afghanistan, foreign service, packoutThank you, Trader Joe’s.It’s not like there isn’t food (free food!) and toilet paper in Kabul. However, the general advice we’ve received is to pack things to help break up the monotony of cafeteria fare (hence the just-add-chicken collection of Trader Joe’s Indian food) and things for which you have a particular preference — whether it’s Lady Grey tea or a certain type of laundry detergent.consumables shopping, kabul, afghanistan, foreign service, packoutOf course there is tea and laundry detergent and toilet paper and mascara and all kinds of other things available to us in Kabul. But from what we’ve heard, there’s usually one kind of tea and one kind of toilet paper and one kind of mascara — and often at a much more expensive price than what you can purchase in bulk at the mecca of mass purchases: Costco.consumables shopping, kabul, afghanistan, foreign service, packoutSo Kail and I took a Zipcar to Costco and loaded up two carts — one normal cart and one of those flat carts for heavy loads — on what sadly was not our only consumables shopping trip. We also hit up Trader Joe’s, Target (twice) and Shoppers Food Warehouse … not to mention Cracker Barrel (for pancake mix, duh) and the mall.Afghanistan-Consumables-Shopping-11Stuff and things!We may or may not have overshopped. And I’m sure that we’ll discover that some of what we bought is available in the cafeteria or commissary or online. But (price tag aside) there was something really satisfying about buying a year’s supply of everything like we’re preparing for the apocalypse.Luckily for us, we have good friends (one former Foreign Service kid) who not only let us “house sit” (i.e. live at their place for a week while they were on vacation), but they let us use their house for consumables storage and packout. We kind of took over their entire home living room.consumables shopping, kabul, afghanistan, foreign service, packoutConsumables shopping is complete. Home leave is almost over. We have a few weeks of training and then we’ll be departing for Afghanistan. At least we’ll have 760 pounds of comfort food waiting for us!What items could you not live without for a year?

Published by La Vie Overseas

I'm Natasha -- writer, runner and wife to a Foreign Service Officer with USAID. Current location: Frankfurt, Germany.

8 thoughts on “Consumables Shopping: Afghanistan Edition

  1. Love all the Swiffer refill pads! I go through those so fast and feel glad to know someone else has an attachment. Good luck with your training.

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    1. That is a good question! We’ll find out when we arrive I guess … Since there’s two of us we will have an apartment (a small apartment, but an apartment nonetheless) with a separate bedroom, kitchen, living/dining space, etc. We did pack bed risers and underbed storage containers to make more storage space but it’ll be tight.

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  2. […] unwrap our Fire TV when it arrived, instead just leaving it ready for our UAB shipment. But after temporarily moving into my friend Todd’s house on home leave and using her amahzing smart TV to watch the second season of Orange is the New Black in a week […]

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