Thursday, 16 August 2012

Is this English enough? What we sent for our Worldwide Culture Swap

This is the package we gathered for our Worldwide Culture Swap 

 (Spoiler Altert: Don't look if you're in group 88 and you haven't had our package yet!)

 We were given the addresses of four families to send a package to: two in the US, one representing Puerto Rico and another from Qatar.

It was tricky deciding what to put in. Some of the photos of others' packages looked rather daunting in terms of time and money invested. Besides, what is quintessentially 'English'? (and doesn't cost a fortune to buy or to post?) We are such a multicultural country now that our national favourite dishes are something like Chicken Tikka Massala and Pizza! Nothing English there, then.

What to send? Shells and plant materials were excluded (customs regulations). Books were heavy. China items were likely to get damaged (as well as being heavy to post). And the children receiving the swaps were (mostly) very young, so lots of written information wasn't ideal.

In the end we settled on a mixture of local and national items, some written material, some activities, some food, and quite a lot on flags. Even as I posted the packages I thought of other alternatives I could have put in, had I had more time to prepare. I guess I can save those ideas for another time :)

So, with exception for any special requests that our swappers had asked for (and there were a few), the contents of our packages were:

Pictorial postage stamps (from my stamp collection I had as a child, plus some newer ones)
Materials to make an England flag tissue paper collage
Colouring sheets for St. George and the Dragon and the England coat of arms.
England flag (we had to remove the stick out because it was too long for the package - Doh!)
England stickers
Home-made bookmark of England flag
Information sheet on England/Great Britain/United Kingdom
Union Jack flag
Home-made Union Jack jigsaw (thanks to Activity Village!)
Home-made dvds of our area
Postcards of our area
pin badge
Olympics: Olympic postcard and activities.
Food:    Butterscotch delight (we tried to think of a food item that was very ‘English’!)
            Traditional British sweets (the sorts of sweets I ate as a child).

I'm not sure what the total cost came to (I lost track) but we tried our best to keep it low budget. The postage costs for the four packages came to nearly £30 (!) , even with selecting low-weight items, so that's something to consider if you want to do a swap like this. But there are opportunities to do 'single' swaps, rather than send four packages, if you ask.

Now I'm just hoping the packages get there. It's been nearly two weeks and not a peep from anyone!

Maybe some guy in Customs took a liking to that pack of Angel Delight...


Ruth said...

Looks very English to me :)

Rachael said...

Oh my goodness, butterscotch delight! I though I was the only person that put it in my packages!!
Really great job :)

Big mamma frog said...

It was either that or a pack of trifle mix...A hard decision to make :)

MadameSmokinGun said...

I wouldn't have been able to post butterscotch Angel Delight.... if I see it I can't speak to anyone until it's been mixed, set (mostly) and devoured slowly on the smallest spoon I can find all by greedy little self. I'd've sent 'em a selection of take-away menus for English cuisine - and see if they can get them to deliver....

Saracen said...

Lovely selection!

I don't even know what butterscotch delight IS, so it must be very English. Marmite (bleurgh!) would be a good choice if not for the postage costs. Shortbread is always popular.

But my favourite food with which to ply my fellow foreigners is strange flavours of crisps. They always want to know whether prawn cocktail crisps actually contain prawn cocktail inredients and why on earth anyone would want a crisp which tastes like that!

Big mamma frog said...

Ah yes, hadn't thought of crisps!

It's a shame you don't see "Hedgehog Flavoured Crisps" around any more. I think they might have raised eyebrows with my fellow swappers ;)

Frances said...

Hi! We love, love the package you sent us! I'm not sure who was more excited if hubby or little one. Will blog about it soon! Thanks so much!

OzSky said...

Good selection.

I am always surprised at the selection in various 'British sweetie shops' here in Western Australia. We also get our own shelf in some supermarkets. It's usually a rather embarrassing mix of the following: Aunt Bessie Yorkshire pudding mix, Yorkie choc bars, Iron Bru fizzy cans, Picalilli and Branston Pickle, Double Deckers (I do actually miss those... yum) and Tunnocks Tea Cakes. Yep. That's what I used to eat every day in England.... not.

Some of those might be a little too heavy to post in your next swap parcel though :)

My mum has just packaged up the eclectic combination of Thorntons continental chocs and Chedders, to wing its way to me in the near future.....