Tuesday, 4 October 2011

First steps in a "foreign" country

Today is my first day all on my own. Christoph went back to work after the long weekend. It was very kind of this year, that the 3rd October, a national holiday in Germany was this Monday. So Christoph and I had a bit more time for each other. But, as I said, today was my first day all on my own. The sun woke me up and I was a bit confused why it was moving in the wrong direction. It is still weird to move in this well equipped apartment. You need a scissor? Here it is! Need to do your laundry? Use the well functioning and easy-peasy self explaining washing machine. Want to check weather forecast quickly? Use the weather app on the IPad on the table. (The IPad serves several needs in this household now. It's cool, but it still makes me feel like I crashed into an alien society and not “just” into European reality.) Looking for a tea pot? Do you want the one for green or the one for black tea? But what is that! No Milk?! No way! How am I supposed to start a day without a proper tea with milk?

So I prepared myself for my first outing to the shop. My bike is kinda buggered and my attempt to fix it made it just worse, so I gave in for now. I think it is a better idea anyway to move slowly through the streets. So I grabbed one of the million ecofriendly cloth shopping bags in our kitchen and went on a familiar jet so new walk. After one year there are houses now where no houses have been before. Apples and Pears hang heavily on old crippled fruit trees, Asters are in full bloom, dead sure sign, it is autumn in Germany. Well it feels like summer still and so I can still wear my comfortable SA clothes.

I pass by shop windows and understand every single word. I guess one gets just used to the fact that you miss out a lot of information when moving in a country with a foreign language. But now I am surrounded by so many people who seem to be much better in German than I am. And they seem to love their language those Germans. They love puns and play with their own language in such intelligent ways that I am actually a bit stunned.

“Stunned” is also the word to describe me in the supermarket. I had to choose from 15 different kinds of tomatoes and the shattering sized display fridge filled with all different kinds of milk products reminds me, that German culture is actually a milk loving one. It takes me forever to choose the “right” milk and cheese (I guess 'cause I couldn't find the cheddar and the Fair Cape milk). I finally choose a “fair” milk that looks absolutely new and almost political to me and a fresh milk in a glass (!) bottle. Right! A reusable glass bottle! That's smart, eh? And hey, the Germans seem to have a new favourite sign on their groceries: “Ohne Gentechnik” (Without Genetic engineering) That sign is everywhere.

Milk: fair and without genetical engineering

An elderly woman passes by. She first checks out my appearance in my Avo-green alternative trousers and then what I have in my basket. She makes no attempt to hide her curiosity but seems too shy to also talk to me as I look in her blue eyes.

A quick glance at the wine display tells me very clear: This is not Spar or Pick 'n' Pay. Can't find my Live-a-Little-Wine. But really shocking is the tiny choice of chips. Seems like the Germans don't know what they miss out. No sweet chili Doritos, no salted Popcorn, no Biltong-flavoured chips, no Nik Naks. Eeesh.....
Well, when in Rome...

My Aunty Beates welcome present: All new products of Milka Chocolade

My body still struggles a bit with the new environment. Sounds may be strange but I have problems to breath properly every now and then. It is like my chest was tied. Have to force myself from time to time to take a deep breath and tell my box that everything is ok, just breath. Cultural shock? Panic attack? I don't know but it feels definitely a bit strange to move through this “new” world again. At least my body remembered perfectly how to shoot an arrow after one full year without practice. It's just the muscles that need a bit attention now.   

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