After leaving Romania, I asked myself on which planet I had landed. One thing I knew for sure was that it was very different from that of my favourite character, The Little Prince’s planet.  The roads were impeccable and there were smiling people who didn’t drink vodka to drown their sadness.

One could get chocolate, fries and candy. The stores were huge, like food  museums with all the things I never had; clothes, appliances, toys!

My first visit to a grocery store included the use of a shopping cart and, like a crazy woman, everything that fell into my hands went into it, filling it completely! I thought I was dreaming. There was everything; dozens of kinds of meat and cuts, fish, vegetables, exotic fruits that I had never seen or heard of. There was milk and eggs in abundance, breads; brown, white, crusty, sliced, Belgian, French. And toothpaste, with tubes three times as large as those in Romania, (it was as if I were wearing magnifying glasses!).  There were dozens of brands.

When it came time to pay, as I stood at the cash, the cashier examined what was in my cart.  By coincidence she spoke, albeit broken, Romanian, and said to me:

-What kind of dog do you have?

-What kind of dog? Well…I don’t have a dog…

-Then why are you buying 20 boxes of dog food ?