Before I left for Amsterdam, I attended a student panel specifically for addresing the fears associated with studying abroad. It covered what to pack, what to budget, good memories and bad memories, things to watch out for, and suggestions on where to visit if you happened to be studying close to where one of the panel members had been. My mind was burning with questions regarding the change. I wanted to know how they handled cultural differences, what was absolutely necessary to pack, and what could go without. One of the questions I was dying to have answered was: What was the most unexpected thing you didn’t pack but wish you would have?
Nobody could remember if there was something truly weird. Most of them seemed to have packed everything they found was essential, and adapted to what they hadn’t brought. I, however, have an answer to this question, along with a lot of feelings about the subject.
The thing I most miss from home, the most random item I would have never thought to have packed and now deeply regret not doing so is, in all seriousness: Velveeta cheese.
And yes, I know it’s not real cheese, it’s cheese product cleverly melted down and packaged as a brick of orange perfection. I’m also very aware that I’m in the Netherlands, where gouda was invented but no amount of Dutch cheese will ever melt down the way that Velveeta does. No rue I could concoct or box mix I could buy will ever elicit such emotion in me as Velveeta will. Nothing I have been able to find, buy, or imagine has been able to quench my craving and it is something that is slowly eating away at me (get the pun?).
To cope with this void in my life I done my best to express my feelings towards Velveeta in the form of an Ode (which I only learned how to write twenty minutes prior to writing this one):
How can I ever express my love for thee?
Your golden, melted perfection
Atop my macaroni noodles
Leaves me longing for more
You inspire me!
Your presence gives me warmth and comfort,
Nourishment for the soul.
Your golden, melted perfection,
Second only to the warmth of the sun
How I have abandoned you!
Many a nights have been spent with you at my side
Offering comfort in the wake of bad times
Forgotten is your bright orange color,
The way you melt into smooth, heavenly bliss,
The weight of just one brick
Something you will never know the european conversion of
Forgive me, Velveeta, for I will return soon
This country is filled with cheese
but nothing delights me as does you
And as I finish writing
This ode, I reminisce:
Of the comfort foods,
There is none better than thee
You inspire me.
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Charlie (Charles) McDowell
<p>I am a 20 year old Psychology and Intercultural Studies major escaping the suburbs of Chicago in search of an adventure. I can be found reading or writing most of the time, and love to talk to people. I've been daydreaming of traveling the world since I was a child, and am so excited that the time for that is finally here! Thank you for stopping by, I hope my stories are as helpful to you as these moments were for me.</p>