Tourist in My Own Town

Armen shelves

I love today’s post title.  It’s refreshing and healthy to think about looking around at the same old people, places and things, but with a fresh perspective.

The “being from Minnesota” part that made me a tourist in southern California almost 20 years ago has worn thin.  I’m more like a local than not these days.

Lucky for me, I live in a very culturally dynamic part of the country.  Actually, it’s not luck.  After growing up in a town where most of the other people looked pretty much the same way I do (and dressed the same, prayed the same, talked the same way “don’tcha know” :)), raising my family in a diverse community is something for which I sought.

Towns with lots of the same kinda folks are cool in their own way too, but my personal preference is for a hodge-podgy-er inhabitant set up.

In Los Angeles County, a person could likely find pretty any food item on the planet authentically prepared by someone from that part of the planet.  I like that.  It means I can still be a tourist in my own town if I get the hankerin’.

Here in Pasadena, one of my favorite ethnic influences is the Armenian community.  I love the way the written language looks (can’t read a word) and how it sounds both gruff and sweet to my white little ears.  I love the exotic beauty of the people and, of course, I love the food.  LOVE THE FOOD.

The Armen Market: 1873 Allen Ave. (at New York Dr.), Pasadena, CA 91104 (I have searched and searched and cannot fine a website for these guys!) is one of my favorite places to shop as a tourist in my own town.  Remember that Sesame Street song “which one of these things doesn’t belong here?”  That’s me!  But in a cool way when I shop at  places like Armen’s.

The thickly accented friendly foreign-born ladies smile politely at my deeply thought provoking questions such as “What is that?” and “What is this?”

Armen jar

Many of the food labels are void of any written characters I recognize so I gotta ask sometimes!

This market sounds and smells like a food market–not like cheap degreasing agents used to clean floors of sterile big chain super markets.

If you live in a city like mine, and you think Trader Joe’s is the ticket to international cuisine, I really must beg to differ.

As a fixed-income stay-at-home mama with a travelin’ heart, I truly appreciate the variety of food experiences offered to me here in Pasadena.  Armen’s is but one of many places I can “visit” in my own town.


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