Confessions of a farm gal gone shopaholic
There are some things only money can buy and that’s shoes, lace navy blue bralettes and off the shoulder dresses to balance out your child-bearing hips.
I was born on a farm in South Africa (BTW that’s a country at the southernmost point of the continent of Africa #sarcasmintended). Once a year, at Christmas time, our whole family- 4 of us - would pack for the week and take the long drive 4 hours to Durban to do our Christmas shopping.
It was the highlight of my year.
I loved this trip for several reasons:
1. Grandma’s roast dinners every night. Yes, every night.
2. I got to go to the movies; big screens, overpriced popcorn and seats which jump up when you leave them.
3. A lot of shopping.
I could out shop them all.
Every year it looked the same. I would drag my poor Mother and her check book around the biggest mall the city had to offer. I was both fussy and a bargain hunter which made for a problematic combination. We would have to go into every store. I was ruthless. I was determined. Nothing and nobody stood in my way. Sales racks offered no challenge; I could squeeze between people without a problem (#smallpersonadvantage). Blistered ankles offered no challenge. I had endless stamina.
At the end of the day, I would emerge with multiple shopping bags of gifts and a smug smile of satisfaction. This was my one opportunity a year for a glimpse of city living and I was darned if anything would take it from me.
20 years later my inner shopaholic lies dormant, but not dead. Now, an adult, grrrrrr… I have my own check book (debit card). I have my own salary. I also have my own rent, taxes, grocery bills. My inner shopaholic only comes up for air for the occasional online shopping browse or friend’s birthday. Ok ok, who brought out the tiny violin?!
But, some things never change. There are still 2 ways which will always make my break-ups, broken cars and swearing client days better: a good friend and an epic shopping trip.
Before you go crazy on me, call me a consumerist junkie and start picketing outside my apartment, let me remind you, I would never endorse buying countless amounts of things you don’t need because John didn’t text back. No way. I think we can all live with far less than we do and I am a strong quality over quantity kind of person.
However. However, there are things that a shopping expedition can do to this woman’s soul that no “You are fierce,” Pinterest Motivational Porn can touch.
As fate would have it, my best friend was raised in the same suburb as America’s biggest mall and the ultimate destination for a shopping expedition. Clearly, I was destined to experience shopping and a best friend in one!
The Mall of America is the exact opposite to my simple, cattle and dirt road upbringing. It’s the biggest mall in America. Yes, in America! And we all know everything is bigger in America. It’s almost a city. There are rides inside the mall. There is an aquarium inside the mall. You can zip line through the mall. Oh yeah, and you can shop in the mall.
When Kelsey Lindell and I approached the Mall of America to write a piece on “Besties go shopping”, I didn’t think they would say yes. Turns out, they liked the idea of two cute gal friends hanging out, posting cute pictures and creating silly Instagram stories in their premises.
When I walked into the Mall of America for the first time the sleepy shopaholic in me raised her head like a diet-er in the Lindt Factory Shop. Wait a second- what is this?
Kelsey and I spent an entire day in that mall and I haven’t done that in forever. I think if I had worn a step tracker it would have exploded. We found 2 for 1 shoes. We ate lunch and snacks and snacked some more. We stepped into the wonderland which is Aerie with their beautiful natural underwear made for real humans, not Kim Kardashian and stepped out with 2 more bags. We went on the carousel with 7-year-olds. We pretended to produce a BBC documentary on fish in the Aquarium. We bought party dresses and we bought lash extending mascara. I felt…fancy.
When I had to check in my bag after my last trip to Minneapolis to take it back to South Africa it won an orange “HEAVY” sticker. Oops. Wonder why?
Gigantic thanks to MOA for keeping the shopper me alive and thriving. The best friend and shopping mall combination lived up to its promise. Maybe this is just a story about shopping, or maybe it's about something more- about the unlimited potential in all of us to write whatever story with our lives, no matter what our past looks like. Maybe it's a story that friendship can take you across the globe and over the ocean and who knows where else.
Although money can buy a fun day and lots of memories, it can't buy a friend who will do whatever it takes to see you. Even the shopaholic in me will admit that.