Chiquita. Not the bananas themselves - the stickers. You couldn't really get bananas in the Soviet Union (a fact made all the more ironic by their cheap ubiquity today), so when you got a hold of one, you treasured it. Eat it slowly, and completely, chewing the tasteless flesh off the inside of the skin, and then peel off the Chiquita sticker and put it on your desk or some other prominent piece of bedroom furniture, to remind yourself and others that you are a happening frood with access to bananas.
At about the same time, a bit later maybe, empty drink cans were all the rage. It was ages until you could get soft drinks in cans in Estonia, in the first years of independence the only thing that came in cans was beer - and then it was expensive imported beer. I don't think my parents have ever been beer drinkers anyway, but even for other kids my age, colorful cans were an awesome thing to possess.
It must have been '88 or '89, when my dad went to Sweden, and brought back a whole bunch of bananas. They were still green, and were left to ripen in the kitchen cupboard. Dad's return really was better than Christmas. A pencil sharpener in the shape of a cartoon car for me, a remarkably tiny electronic calculator for my sister, and - gasp! - a twin-deck Siemens stereo cassette player. Its recording capacity, built-in microphone, and the ability to copy tapes directly was truly remarkable.
I'm only 23, but the world around me has changed unbelievably.
Postsoviet - because Estonia in the late 80s was not entirely Soviet any more.
4 weeks ago