I had a debate with my housekeeper this morning about Halls products - she says they are candy... I say they are medicated cough drops/throat lozenges. Because, I seriously cannot think of anything worse to eat as "candy" than menthol or honey/lemon lozenges! Gag.
Sydney has been a bit congested lately, so I kept her home from school today. As I was heading out the door to tennis this morning, I told our wonderful helper, Rosalie, "If Sydney starts coughing, you can give her one of these cough drops." I then handed her 3 different bags of Halls products - 1 bag of cooling menthol lozenges, 1 bag of honey lemon lozenges & 1 bag of raspberry flavored lozenges (which actually did look more like candy). She looked at me & remarked, "You buy too much candy, ma'am." (Ummm... blaming that comment on the gigantic bag of "kisses" from Mimi & Papa that were brought over in their suitcase!) I replied that they were not candy, but cough drops. She corrected me, saying that they were indeed candy. I looked on the package & sure enough, the description on the front said "Mentho-Lyptus Candy" and "Honey-Lemon Candy", just like what is shown in this picture. I asked Rosalie if she really eats these as candy & she was adamant that all Filipinos eat Halls as candy, not as cough drops or throat lozenges. I prodded further:
Me: "Even the menthol flavor?"
R: "Oh yes. That's my favorite!"
Me: "As candy?"
R: "Yes, ma'am. It makes my breath fresh."
Me: "So, it's more like a breath mint then?"
R: "No, ma'am. We eat them as candy."
(This explains why Halls menthol "candy" is handed out at birthday parties & stuffed in every goody bag my kids have ever received here in the Philippines! I never understood why the parents were handing out cough drops to little kids at parties!?)
I couldn't fathom it. Even as our 2-year stint here is coming to a close, I'm realizing there are still so many cultural differences I have yet to learn. Rosalie & I have conversations like this almost daily about so many different things, but mostly food. I've introduced her to kiwi & alfalfa sprouts (just today!). And, she has introduced me to calamansi & toyo. I will most definitely miss being immersed in a completely different culture when we move back home. It is a life changing experience that I am eternally grateful for!
I am really, really going to miss Rosalie...