It’s 4.30am. I’ve barely slept. I ache all over. My back is so stiff it hurts to move. I’ve eaten an obscene amount of avocado on toast to fuel me through the morning.
Because once upon a time I lived in Germany.
Expat princess and the pea
Back in 2008 I was transported into another world. Angels gently massaged my limbs into a peaceful state of nirvana and I woke refreshed, alive and ready for the day (even if the night before had involved far too much local German ale).
Allow me to explain – the Germans, like the Scandinavians, know how to make a good bed. Mattresses, at least the ones I slept on are high tech wonders crafted especially for the season, with layer upon layer of natural fibres to gently lull you to sleep.
Meanwhile, our bed here in Chile has suffered the effects of years in storage, a few cross Atlantic journeys, several home moves and is very worse for wear.
I’ve searched high and low for a solution, but it seems the Chileans don’t make mattresses like the Germans. Yesterday we bought a so called mattress topper which I should report to social services. I’m sure I have internal bruising. I feel sleep violated.
I’m camping out in the guest room until we find a solution.
Silver spooned Expats
Yes, perhaps I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, and the more I’ve moved countries, the higher grade the silver has become.
Before my time in Germany I was content to sleep with French style toilet rolls for pillows (they’re called bolsters, but shut your eyes and they feel just like loo rolls).
For every country I’ve lived in I’ve become more precious.
Urgh, call this Champagne? This is nothing like what we used to drink in Paris.
Seriously, what is that crap? Chocolate?! Well, it doesn’t taste like that in Lausanne.
Call that Himalyan chai? Are you having a laugh?
Do you measure on the EPS?
While I might feature a little more to the extreme on the Expat Precious Spectrum (let’s call it EPS). I’m not the only one.
If you’ve ever lived abroad, or even travelled a lot, no doubt you measure on the EPS too.
Even my husband, a notoriously, so laid back he’s horizontal Spaniard, is on the scale. After a month long honeymoon in Japan in 2013, he’ll rarely eat tuna sashimi nowadays. If it’s not good Otoro (i.e the ridiculously expensive, near impossible to find in the rest of the world fatty part of the fish) then what’s the point?
He turned his nose up at ham I bought from a British supermarket. As a near vegan, for me it’s all basically pig flesh, no matter how you package it. Oh no, he cries. There’s lomo, pata negra, then there’s the meat from piglets fed on a diet of gold dust massaged by Andalusian monks since they were foetuses.
As for me, the first time I tried tea in Spain, I retched it back into the cup. Since when did an antique bag of ash floating in tepid (not filtered) water qualify as a cup of tea?
We all complain about the stuff we miss from ‘home’, all the while adjusting to the delicacies of our host country.
Home is where the avocado is
Now based in Santiago, I know that when I return to the UK I’ll moan about how uptight people are with children, how the weather sucks, how the avocados taste like frothy air. I’ll miss the domestic help just as much as the mountain vistas.
After a lot of Googling, Facebook messaging and hunting across department stores, bed warehouses and outlets, it seems the type of Scandi style mattress I’m looking for just doesn’t exist here in Chile. My EPS is showing no signs of relief and we may just need to get a whole new bed.
Until then, pass me the avocado.