Friday, October 14, 2011

Grocery Stores and Cabbage Patches

Yesterday we woke up early and went to the base to get our IDs and take care of other administrative tasks. This basically means that we went in and out of various buildings and I stood by dumbly as military people conversed in acronyms. At one point I was sitting in a waiting room with people decked out in their flight suits, and we were all pretending to watch Transformers.

We went to the grocery store on base to pick up some essentials and I got very frustrated because I couldn't find things like garbonzo beans, crushed red pepper flakes, red wine vinegar, and spinach. We were also a little rushed because our ride was waiting outside. Once we got home, I had a mini-breakdown and it went something like this:
"I can't make the stuffed peppers now! What are we supposed to eat for dinner?"
He replied, "Babe, it's okay. We can just figure out something else."
Sobbing, I said, "But you don't understand! We don't have a car to drive to another store and even if we did, we can't understand any of the prices or read the labels!"
By now I am somewhat hysterical and he calmly said, "It's okay. It's just the second day. Things will get easier."
I bellowed, "We are helpless! Lost!! Confused Americans!!"

Eventually I calmed down. It seems like a silly thing to get upset about, but think about it. Any time you've ever needed something and one store doesn't have it, you can easily go to another store. We don't have our cars yet; mine is scheduled to arrive no later than the 28th of this month but that's still a little while to wait. And even if we did have a car, we don't know where the nearest grocery store is. We couldn't even tell our driver how to get back to our house. The directions to anywhere here are, "Go through the first and second roundabout, then take the second turn on the next roundabout. After that, drive by two green fields and one cabbage patch. Wave at the old man on the bicycle, look at the cows on your left, and drive by three windmills. Ours will be the oldish-looking house in the middle of two other houses that look like a church."

After my little fit we decided to take a walk to attempt to get our bearings. The walk was great! We kept passing people and they would smile and greet us with words that sounded like "pafall-di-gong" or "un-shuldy-glaghh." We just smiled, nodded, and hoped they weren't actually asking us any questions.

The scenery looks like something from a movie. Everything is so idyllic and I had to keep reminding myself that we're walking on a little bicycle path in Germany. It still seems crazy.

After our walk, our friends picked us up and we headed to a German restaurant for dinner (thank goodness). I had my first schnitzel and it was amazing! We also had some really great Belgium beer. I know you're thinking, "Who cares? I've had Belgium beer before." That's what I thought before I tasted this stuff. It's true what they say; it is better than any beer I've ever had. It was a dark beer but somehow it was light, refreshing, and almost sweet. The restaurant was great and we even attempted a little German. This went over much better than our previous night's dinner. When I tried to order in German, the waiter stopped me and said, "Please. Just speak English." Fail.

Despite being happy and excited that we're here, I already miss home and everyone so much. It's little things that trigger it. My computer still has the old time zone on it and I think I'm just going to leave it this way. Right now, it's 3:35am where you are while it's 9:35 here. You're in a deep sleep and I just ate breakfast. It makes me feel very far away. Yesterday I kept asking what time it was and then I would think, "Okay, it's noon here but in real life it's only 6am." 

I'm glad today is Friday because tomorrow we're going to Cologne! We'll finally get to do some touristy things and we're really excited!

Hope you're having sweet dreams.

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