I am South African. My husband is American. We have spent quite a bit of time in both places. Enough to have a child born in each country during our respective stays. To complicate matters further we spent a priceless nearly two and a half years in Ukraine where we found friendships that are still going strong five years later.  But here’s the thing: nowhere does all that time abroad affect me more than when I am in the toothpaste aisle of our local (American) grocery store.

People, I am scared of the toothpaste aisle.

The mind-reeling array of choices makes me feel lightheaded and I. Can’t. Decide. Seriously, how do you? I mean, just LOOK at it!

Do I want to whiten, brighten, or cater to sensitive teeth? Do I want mint, cinnamon, spearmint, bubblegum, or winter mint? Do I want one stripe or two? Do I want baking soda in my toothpaste? (That option had me stumped for years, I tell you). Do I want a tube that lies down or one that can stand up? Am I swayed by the box with the scratch and sniff option (quite frequently I am) or am I looking for the “Dentist recommended” stamp of approval?

Because, dude, I could get all of that and then some. I bet there’s a toothpaste that would sing Yankee Doodle and salute as it steps out of the box! It’s America in a grocery aisle – vistas of opportunity – mine for the choosing. I never seem to get quite used to it. I step into that aisle and blink twice, stand my ground and stare.

It brings me face-to-face with how blessed I am. My house may not be my own. My schedule may feel unmanageable at times. And my dreams unrealistic. But then I look at all that toothpaste, and I know: anything is possible.

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