I take it back… I don’t love it here. I didn’t yesterday, at least. Let me explain.
Although a beautiful view, our window faces the east and the whole place lights up around 7:00. Add in Mike rustling around before practice, and sleeping in is nearly impossible. Yesterday we woke up with the sun, and after Mike took off I decided to do some kitchen renovating. (You’d think since someone had been living here for three months things would already be settled, wouldn’t you? But it needed a woman’s touch, so I rolled up my metaphorical sleeves and jumped in). I washed most of the dishes we own and then took the remaining few out of the cabinets. A few items got the ol’ heave-ho, but the keepers were set in a giant pile for later sorting. Food was organized too, and then came the cleaning. Shelves, cabinets, counter-top… nothing went untouched. The floor was even done three times since I first knocked over a box of bread crumbs and later completely missed the trash can while emptying out the toaster. Things were put in their new homes, and when I was done, I collapsed on the (extremely clean) floor.
Mike found me there when he got back from practice a few minutes later, and kindly offered to make lunch.
After stuffing our bellies with a delicious (halfway) homemade soup we headed for downtown to do some grocery shopping. I of course got sidetracked, walking down by all of the shops, and we ended up in an amazing home décor boutique. They’ve already begun selling holiday stuff, and when we stepped in it was like we’d entered a winter wonderland. Rich golds, purples, and reds were everywhere. Stockings, figurines, dishes, and wreaths. And 50% of it was covered in glitter. It was beautiful and I wanted it. All of it. I ooh-ed and aah-ed at every single item I saw. About four steps into the store and I think Mike was already annoyed with me.
The people finally called security on me for loitering, so we had no choice but to go do what we’d come for. And this is when the day went downhill.
I needed a hairdryer and straightener since I opted to not bring them from home (the outlets are different, so I would have had to buy converters anyway), and when we got to the store there were about 30 options each, no lie. Now, I never updated you on my original to-do list (start a blog, learn German, pack up life), but I never completed number two. Needless to say, I didn’t have a prayer when it came to reading the boxes. We called over a worker lady to help us out and even though she claimed she could speak English, she spoke to Mike in German the whole time. I looked like a fool, bobbing my head along and looking to Mike to translate everything back to me. I was embarrassed and getting clammy, and she was getting annoyed. We probably made her describe half of their stock to us, and scan all of them for prices (because whyyyyyy would they have prices on the shelves? That’d be too easy) before we let her go. Then I had to pick out a straightener. Mother fu-BLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!
Shopping at that store was a big, German mess, and I was crying/complaining through the aisles for the rest of the trip.
We got to the grocery store after I dropped 95 Euro (OUCH) on my stuff. The previous fiasco didn’t leave me in the best mood, so Mike took over pushing the grocery cart after I crashed it into the grape display. Is this a joke? This is a joke, right? We wandered the aisles for a very frustrating two hours (since reading the labels was impossible and the other shoppers were less than forgiving) before heading to the check-out lane. I was warned about this. In Austria, the check-out people don’t do a whole lot to help out the customers. They sit behind the register, scanning your food and pushing it to the end of the belt. You are left to bag it all, but that is of course after you have emptied your cart at the start and paid. Oh, and they don’t provide bags, so if you forget yours, you’re SOL. This system is not rookie-friendly.
Picture this: unruly cart packed to the brim, being unloaded by Mike. Check-out lady man-handling our food and throwing it at my face (at approx 76 mph). Me, already flustered by the hairdryer experience, standing at the end of the lane, struggling to get our two canvas bags out of my purse (two was not enough, by the way. We bought $120 worth of food). Sweating, probably swearing–I don’t remember, shaking, and stuffing food haphazardly into the bags.
On the way home, we got stuck in a traffic jam.
Finally in the safety and comfort of our apartment, we started to unload our stuff. I asked Mike to deflate my birthday balloons to make more room (plus, I wasn’t in the mood to look at things for happy people) while I put the food away. Silently, he clipped the ends of the party favors until… POP! One of the damn things blew up unexpectedly and I lost it. I started bawling, right there in the kitchen. Because I can’t understand people here. Because they can’t understand me. Because I’m never going grocery shopping again. Because I refuse to leave the house for the next six months. Because a balloon popped and pushed me over the edge.
Yeah, it was dramatic, I’m well aware… but I couldn’t help it. The good news is that I’m all better today. But then again, I’m still in bed.