The Broad is Back!

January 9, 2009

Cold Irony

Filed under: colds,homesick,medicines,New Broads — by maggiec @ 3:49 pm
Tags: ,

When I lived in Sweden and wrote the original “A Broad Abroad” I wrote a column called “I Want My CVS,” an ode to the drug store chain prompted by a bad cold.  In it, I lamented the unavailability of American cold remedies, for when I’m sick, I long for the familiar.

Well, today I was given a thump on the head by the irony gods.  While walking the aisles of my local Rite-Aid drug store, all I really wanted was a packet of Lemsips.  For those of you unfamiliar with the name, Lemsips is an over-the-counter cold and flu medicine sold in the UK and Australia.  It’s a powder you mix with hot water to get a warm lemony drink with pain killers and decongestants.    My husband turned me on to it in Switzerland, because in Geneva we got stuff from all over Europe.  It wasn’t sold in Sweden, but there was a local equivalent that also came in black currant flavor, my favorite.

So there I was, wanting my Lemsips, searching in vain.  At the bottom of the shelves, after much scanning and back and forth, I did find Theraflu’s lemon-flavored version of the product and considered myself lucky.  Black currant is pretty much a non-starter in the US.  I can often find black currant tea, and now because people tout its health benefits, black currant juice, but it hasn’t really reached the OTC medicine flavorings yet.

I grabbed a couple of bags of Ricola drops (from Switzerland, of course) and out the door I went.  As I got in the car, the irony hit me.  Here, I want familiar things from my days abroad.  When I was there, I wanted things from “home”.   Human nature is amazing, isn’t it?

The other day I said something about Americans and used the term “they”.  My sister said, “Hey, hon, you’re an ‘us,’ not a ‘they'”.  She’s right, of course.  I am an “us” in the US.  How quickly we change our point of view.

So I sit here in my fuzzy robe, with my Vicks VapoRub (available world wide, you’ll be happy to know, but in the US, I cop to using a store brand), and my Ricola, tea and tissues.  I downed the Theraflu, which was sweeter than Lemsips but did the trick.  I don’t know if it’s helping the congestion and sore throat, but it made me feel better emotionally, which, I swear, is the only thing these medicines really do!

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1 Comment »

  1. Can’t agree with you more. Sometimes I wonder whether it has to do with our nature of nesting or it might be the issue of identity. I think in my case, both hidden mechanism are activated to remind me who I am and build a consoling base with the familiar items from home.

    Comment by Julia — January 14, 2009 @ 2:10 pm |Reply


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