As the final installment for my Week of Packing Prep I’m going to explain what and why I will purchasing in the USA and taking with me in my suitcase to Germany. It may be surprising to some, but even though Europe is very similar to the US, there are many cultural differences that reflect back on the product offerings in the countries.
One big difference in Europe is the strong desire for natural products. Many chemicals that are commonplace in American cosmetics and personal hygiene products, are illegal to sell in Europe. Normally I wouldn’t complain about being extra cautious or for something being “too natural” but some of the ingredients that are outlawed are really crucial to the performance of the American counterpart.
Let me explain using my stock up list as examples.
Mouthwash: Many of us know that fluoride is not good for us to ingest. Without being an expert on the subject, I believe that is the reason behind it not being allowed in mouthwash. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem as not much of the population needs fluoride aside from their dentist visits. Unfortunately, I’m one of them. One of my teeth has decalcification which mean I have to keep it extra clean and use fluoridated mouthwash. You can’t get it in Germany, it’s a liquid, and therefore heavy to ship so I’m going to try and take a big bottle or two with me if my space allows.
Deodorant: The problem with this is not the deodorant part; there’s a HUGE section of deodorants in every German drugstore. The problem is that all the ingredients to make a deodorant an anti perspirant are illegal. I don’t understand the desire to put perfume on your armpits if you’re just going to sweat it off and look gross afterwards. I had to buy deodorant in Germany last year and it was not a pleasant experience; I’ll take my chances with my “cancer causing” anti perspirant.
Tampons: While this product doesn’t fall under the “illegal ingredient” category, it does qualify as a cultural difference. If you already use aplicator-less tampons then moving to Europe will be no problem in this regard. Germans and other Europeans see the applicator as unnecessary waste and wonder why Americans “aren’t comfortable with their bodies.” Although I can’t speak for every American woman, the reason why I can’t go without the applicator is because it’s not always possible to wash your hand right away after using the restroom and that’s just not ok with me. But beside that, I am extremely partial to Playtex Sport which I couldn’t find in Berlin. Since tampons can be taken out of the box to fill crevices in my suitcase and are super light, I’m just going to stock up in advance.
Taco Seasoning Packets: Although there are Mexican restaurants in Germany, they are in no way, shape or form a true representation of Mexican food. When it comes to taco seasoning, forget about it. I’m going to bring a half dozen packets or so for myself and another half dozen for my German friends who rely on Americans to feed their Mexican food addiction.
Ranch Dressing Packets: Ranch is great, isn’t it? It goes with everything and if you went through the American education system, you probably remember making pizza that resembled cardboard edible with it. It’s yet another staple of my life that is not available in Germany (or what is available is a sorry excuse for ranch). Since one packet makes and entire bottle of ranch, I’m only going to bring two packets. That will last me for quite some time.
There you have it! These are the handful of things I’m going to stock up on to take with me on my adventure next month. Aside from the mouthwash, it’s all relatively light so it’s shouldn’t be a problem. Worst case scenario is that I buy the mouthwash to take, don’t have room for it and give it to my dad to use.
That concludes my Week of Packing Prep. If you missed any of my other posts, I’ll link them both below. Between the three posts, that is everything that I will have in my possession for moving into my dorm in Frankfurt next month.