How To Cope With Nostalgia

I was putting groceries away last week when, in between the kitchen counter and the refrigerator door, I got hit by a wave of nostalgia so strong it knocked me back on my heels. I managed to not drop the eggs, but I couldn’t stop thinking about CityShop.

My first CityShop

CityShop is one of Shanghai’s great wonders. I hate shopping for clothes, but love going grocery shopping (think there might be a correlation between those two truths? nah.) and CityShop was my chain store of choice in China. They’re a great combination of domestic and import goods, ridiculously expensive produce, reasonably priced in-house baked goods, and recognizable cuts of meat. Their marble pound cake got me through my pregnancy.

Still, what I loved most about CityShop was its Western-ness. The aisles are actually aisles, that is, straight rows with reasonably grouped boxes, bags, and bottles of food, not labyrinths ranging over numerous floors. The smells of cheap soy sauce, mystery meat, and durian do not permeate the entire store. Towards the end of our stay in downtown China, CityShop even started stocking mochi ice cream balls. What more could one ask for from a grocery store in the Far East?

So why was I overcome with an urge to go outside, hail a cab, and head to CityShop? I’m still puzzling over that. In the meantime, here are some handy tips to cope with your own battles of nostalgia, be they foreign or domestic:

Savor the memory. Remember what it was that you loved about that time, place, moment, aroma, sound. Our experiences make us who we are and we should celebrate the great moments we’ve had.

Get in touch with someone connected with your nostalgia. Catch up on mutual friends. Reminisce over good times. I’ve let too many good friendships go to seed over the places over the years, and I don’t intend to do that any longer if I can help it.

Enumerate the reasons you’re grateful for the life you’re living now, lest your nostalgia become more bitter than it is sweet. Lists are my thing, but I suppose anything that is conducive to gratefulness will do.