Sisterhood of the Traveling Ritz Box

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

So my dear friend Vivian, who I've known since I was 17 and she just about to turn 17, is currently studying in Paris. She suggested way back when I first let on that I was coming here that we do a snack exchange every once in a while. She's been to Taipei before, so she's familiar with the sometimes funny snacks Asians come up with, and I knew I'd be missing Western snacks. Anyway, between getting settled and the holidays, we didn't actually start this little project until this month, when I sent a little recycled Ritz box to her.

Vivian and I have a long but short history: we met online through an early blogging site and exchanged contact information. We would chat online late at night (for me, as I was on the East Coast and she was on the West Coast) and keep each other company as we did our homework. We even "spent" one New Year's Eve's Eve together, pulling an all-nighter as we rushed to get our college applications in, noshing on all sorts of junk food through the night.

Although we occasionally called each other in college after I got my first cell phone, it wasn't until we were 20 that we met ... in London, of all places. And even that was serendipitous. Vivian was studying in France at the time, and I in England, and during our Fall Break, we were both traveling through London, so we decided to meet in front of the Albert and Victoria Museum at a designated time. (She did not have a cell phone that worked in England.) I waited for about an hour and a half and did not see her or any semblance of a person who might be her (keep in mind I'd only seen her through photographs up to this point).

Deflated and frustrated with at least a few hours until I could return to my temporary home at a high school friend's dorm room, I walked towards the tube, passing a fish & chips shop on the way. At that point in my life, I was obsessed with all things English -- especially fish & chips. So I popped my head in for a bite to eat, and lo and behold, who should I see but someone who resembled Vivian.

"Vivian?" I remember asking hesitantly through the doorway.

The girl looked up! And that is the story of how we miraculously met up the first time. The second time was nearly a year later in New York City, and then the time after that was three years after that in Seattle, where she's from. We thought it would be cool to meet up again (in keeping with our 2-3 year "rule"), but it's simply too expensive to travel between Taipei and Paris.

But we have our Ritz Box! Here are the contents of my first shipment to her:

A paper dragon ... I won this during the Chinese New Year sales

Kimchi-flavored popcorn

More chips ... not sure what flavor to call this, maybe grilled foods? 

Tastes like chicken (what doesn't?)

Rose-flavored candies ... the outer candy shell tastes really nice, like lightly-flavored rose tea
and the inside is a more intense sour rose-flavored gummy

Strawberry marshmallow-filled mochi, covered in chocolate and nuts (bought in Miaoli)

These are different flavored rice snacks (wasabi on left, sesame on right)

Curious to see what goodies she sends me ...

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  1. I finally got your package! I brought it with me to school (long story) and actually ended up eating the kimchi popcorn in the library while watching a movie (for class) like the loser I am, haha. I think you said this in another post, but the kimchi popcorn tastes kind of like kettle corn if you don't get a particularly kimchi-y piece. Also, I really like the "grilled foods" chips. Will report back on the others.

    Thank you again :)



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