Grocery shopping isn’t a difficult task. You go in, buy what you need, and then leave; however, it becomes a tad more terrifying in a foreign country (for me, at least). I spent a fair bit of time alone with Oma and Opa last summer. Neither speak English, and I, of course, speak basically no German so it’s always a fun yet nerve-racking experience filled with learning, pantomiming (on my part), and confused looks all around. Oma reminds me of my Nanny. She’s such a sweet woman, and she’s always in the kitchen, it seems. She has done nothing but dote on me since the day she met me. She can’t get around as well as she used to so quick trips to Kupsch around the corner are left for someone else. When we ran out of water and OJ that someone was me. Great.
Oma believes in the trial by fire technique: she speaks to me in German (obviously), is slowly trying to convince everyone else to only speak to me in German [Oma, please no, I need clarification sometimes. Don’t take my security blanket away just yet.], and she sends me off on errands now, apparently.
All I needed to get from Kupsch was water and orange juice. That’s it. It was a simple task. How could I screw it up? It’s me so obviously I did. I made it to the store fine. (If I didn’t then we would have some problems, because it is literally around the corner from where they live.) I found the water Herrball drinks, and then I found the juice and nectar aisle–not hard, there are like eight aisle in the place. I took a little longer finding orange juice mainly because I was looking for a specific brand. Turns out that brand is only at Lidl. Learn something new every day. I grabbed a box of orange juice, NOT nectar, and made my way to the check out. (Herrball accused me of grabbing nectar. I can tell the difference between saft and nektar, thank you very much. I’m not that German illiterate.) So far so good. My issue came when it was my turn to pay. German check-out lines move fast, far too fast for my slow American self. I managed to drop all the change Oma gave me, couldn’t get the drinks in the bag I’d brought, and was talking entirely too long to get out of the way. I could feel the stares of everyone in that tiny, tiny grocery store burning holes through me. How dare I hold up the line for 30 extra seconds?! The man behind me was nice enough to pick up my change while I struggled, and I mean really struggled, to put two things into a bag. Needless to say I pretty much ran out of the store. So that’s how I “screwed-up” my first solo grocery shopping trip in Germany–with a hail of falling coins and disapproving glares.