Found my diaries from my study abroad in Germany in 2006. This entry comes from my 9th day in Eltville, Germany. I stayed with my friend Kelly and his daughter Alyssa prior to heading to Dusseldorf for my program. While he went to work I had time to go on adventures alone. Prepare yourself for some 2006 language goodness like “score” and “holla”. It’s amazing how differently I would approached this scenerio now having traveled a lot more. But for any of you who have tried to do a simple task abroad and ended up frustrated, this one is for you.
May 18th, 2006
I email mom asking her Britt’s shoe size and the recipe to these amazing toffee bars. She responds within minutes… yeah, Mom!!! I look in the kitchen and all I need is graham crackers, a stick of butter, a stick of margarine, chocolate, and pecans. Oh that is so easy even I can’t screw this up. So I grab my purse but not forgetting a bag to put the groceries in since you have to pay for bags here. I had an episode a few days ago where I needed a bag and they were asking me for money and it was pure chaos.
Ok so I am off. I am feeling pretty good about myself. I be-bop down the streets jamming to my Ipod feeling not so touristy. I mean, I’m going to the grocery store like a real local. I enter the store. I find the nuts quickly but all the bags are in German. Well that’s not a problem, I know what pecans looks like. But it just so happens that a worker is putting nuts away 3 inches to my right. Great… I look like a idiot since this is taking so long. Please God don’t let him ask me if I need help, please don’t ask me if I need help. I won’t know what he is saying and my confidence is quickly fleeting. Dang, I need a cell phone so I can pretend to talk to someone. Ok, I give up there are no pecans anywhere. I’ll just find the butter and come back when this guy isn’t cramping my style.
I find the “butter” area. The German grocery stores are way different than anything I’ve every experienced (obviously). The labels are very simple, no crazy advertising and they are in, of course… German. So I’m looking at the “butter” and see that there are a million different types. They aren’t any in the stick form either. They are in weird tubs that wouldn’t easily equal a stick. And the margarine is the same way… ahhhhh…. I am going to go find the chocolate and graham crackers.
At this point I am a little frustrated and hot. Not just hot, I am sweating… Profusely. I need to take off my sweatshirt but I have my Ipod in one hand and my purse in the other. I know this will be a task to get it off and I reallllly don’t want to make a bigger scene than I already feel like I am. So I need a cart that way I can put everything in it. Genius, Alicia. So I go to find the carts. But wait, everything is roped off where the carts are…ahhhhh! Finally I walk around the store a little longer and find some. BUT you have to have a coin to get one and I sure as heck don’t know which coin to put in so I just roll my eyes and grab a basket.
Now I take my sweatshirt off revealing my enormous pit-stains. Just great. But now I am ready to go. I pass the nuts again… I stop… no luck… I decided to go look for the graham crackers. But without even trying I stumble upon the chocolate! SCORE! But no graham crackers. And the next aisle no graham crackers… and again no. Oh hell, they don’t have them. Just breathe and go look at the butter again.
I go back and decide to get the one with a chicken on it (looking back that probably wasn’t my best option) and then the only thing that said margarine (or the closest word to margarine). So I have 3 of 5 items on my tiny list… 45 minutes have passed. THEN I finally find pecans in a weird area that made no sense to me but I was just happy find them!
So all I need is graham crackers! I decide to tear that place apart. I search everywhere. Then I realize this place doesn’t have Lucky Charms or tortilla chips and salsa… no, NOTHING GOOD! It’s like they are super healthy or something (what?!) So at this point I want to cry. Ok maybe I do get choked up. So I put everything back. Well, not where I found them, more like the closest place to ditch them. I almost just laid down the butter but I knew it needed to be refrigerated so I walked to the back of the store put it back because I just can’t handle the guilt of butter going bad on my account. Then I walked out. Yes, I just walked out with nothing but my pit-stains and broken pride.
I get back and look in Kelly’s cabinets. I find cake mix and icing! HOLLA! Maybe my day wasn’t a complete waste and I can totally redeem myself. Wait… he doesn’t have eggs. Maybe I should just… NO! Forget it. I sat down.
An hour or so passed and I decide to go the shoe store (which happens to be in the same building as the grocery store) to buy Brittany a pair of shoes. When I get there I notice that the size chart is dramatically different. What the heck is a 42?! I need a size 8! I know this isn’t a freak show shoe store. So I have to try them on (my bare feet… couldn’t find the footy things but that was the least of my worries today) Finally, I find the ones I want and go to pay. She says something to me. I say “Sorry I don’t speak German, do you speak English?” “Yes I do and its 19.90 Euros…dip shit.” No, she didn’t say that but I could tell that is what she thought. I feel so stupid I walk out….without the dang shoes. She yells and I turn bright red and grab my shoes and pretty much run. So I come back and shower and put on my guitar shirt… that makes me feel better. That and the ice cream I had before bed.