For me feeling comfortable somewhere new is always a matter of knowing how to do things and setting up the routines you have. Even when on vacation we’ve always made an effort to learn how to shop and cook in house or hotel. One of my favorite things about new places especially Europe is going to the grocery store. Most things you can figure out but many you can not, so you just gotta go with it sometimes.
On day three I wanted to make a valiant effort to drive to the store in the car Justin got us, it’s either now or never. It’s definitely easy to give into the helpless feeling and give up. It’s a stick shift but given the fact I’d never driven it (despite knowing how to drive a stick) and needed to back out onto a busy street I very quickly freaked out with a delivery truck behind me, teenager in the car, lots of people walking by and my husband watching from the window. Needless to say I almost burst into tears. I came back upstairs and gathered myself together and my husband kindly took me to a quieter street so I could get the feel of the car. I got the hang of it, but driving in another country is intimidating to say the least. Lights and signals are different and the roads are hilly and construction is all over the place. Thank god for google maps and all that jazz. We made it to the store only to be told in not so many words the the store that took so much mental and energy to get to was a membership only club. Ugh, I almost burst into tears again but with my teenager with me I realized I had to figure something out. The ladies at the front were too busy to help or even look at me so I walked into the bistro side and asked kindly if the guy there spoke English, a phrase you learn quickly in German. He gave me some instructions and I went back to speak with the women who let me have a day pass to shop. Mission accomplished and lessons learned. I was proud of myself as moving to another country is not for the faint of heart and definitely has its challenges, let alone trying to accomplish daily tasks that are usually easy.
However, with the challenges come little bits of joy and things to make you appreciate the journey. Charlie laughed at the store at the Mr. Clean interpretation here, and some of the other fun products they have here, including colored toilet paper which was always a strange concept to me, but hilarious. Good scotch is dirt cheap here, and there is marzipan for days. I accidentally bought 35$ American beef steaks since I didn’t know what was what. There is every kind of haribo gummy you could imagine here which makes my kids so happy. There are even vending machines that sell you meat and sausage on the street in our neighborhood. My favorite moment came the other night when we walked down to an ice cream shop (gelato) which turned out to be owned by a nice Italian man and wife. We enjoyed our gelato on benches outside with everyone else on the warm evening and Justin chatted it up with the owner in Italian telling him a bit about us, and so he gave Justin two tubes it travel toothpaste. No clue on that one, but I loved the fact that our first “friend” in the neighborhood was an Italian.
While Justin’s the one who’s working now I have to look get back into the cooking routine so it’s time to go for Today…and hang some laundry out to dry, when in Rome…or I guess Stuttgart. Prost!