There is a store here in Germany called Globus. It’s equivalent to a U.S. Wal Mart, only much nicer.
It’s huge. It’s intimidating. Everything is written in German (of course) so most of the time I’m not totally sure of what I am buying. It was the very first German grocery store I went to and the whole experience was terrifying. (Seriously. No joke.)
BUT, I will say they have a fabulous salad bar. When my MIL said she wanted to go to Globus to get some authentic German Christmas decorations and ornaments – I immediately thought- salad bar! Let’s go!
At Globus, I filled a plastic container with all kinds of colorful, fresh veggies – tri-colored bell peppers, jade green lettuce, mushrooms, tomatoes, carrots, sprouts and tuna fish.
Then, I made my way to the other side of the salad bar where there was antipasto- stuffed olives, stuffed tomatoes, stuffed peppers, stuffed grape leaves, artichoke hearts and various kinds of cheeses lying in a pool of olive oil and spices.
With some tongs, I plucked a few of each of these mouth-watering goodies and plopped them on top of my salad.
Then I weighed my container on the scale located at the end of the salad bar, printed out the sticker that said how much I owed and proceeded to the check out line.
As I got to the front of the kasse (checkout), I put all of my items on the black belt. When the middle-aged lady behind the counter picked up my container of salad, she frowned, looking at me.
In German, she said, “This is not all salad. Some of this is antipasto. They are supposed to be separate.” She shook her head. “They are different prices.” She kept shaking her head as she rang up the rest of my items.
And, of course, my daughter, who was standing right next to me, kept asking me questions like, “What’s going on? What happened? What is she saying?”
Suddenly, I lost my appetite for my beautiful salad.
I didn’t know those two things were different prices! I didn’t know they needed to be separated into different containers.
And, yet again, I felt like a stupid American in a foreign country who doesn’t know the rules and just got put in her place by a serious-looking German woman.
(On a positive side note- I did understand everything she was saying in German so at least my German is getting better!)
After I checked out and met my husband in the play area where he was hanging out with our 2 boys, I told him what happened.
He just shook his head and smirked.
“And she didn’t give me any stickers for the kids.” They typically give a packet of stickers out to the kids. I put my hands on my hips. “Why didn’t she give us any stickers?”
He kind of half-smiled and said, “Well, you did kind of piss her off…”
Now, this is just a little thing that happened. No big deal, right?
But, the thing is, when little things like this start piling up (which they have been doing since we moved here 3 months ago), it starts to get VERY frustrating. It starts to wear on you.
Will I ever figure this stuff out? Will I ever be able to go to a German grocery store and just have a “normal” shopping experience?
The good news is, I am not the only one who has had experiences like this. In fact, I’ve talked to many, many fellow military spouses and here is what they have said:
- Globus IS super terrifying
- it takes 6 months to a year to get adjusted to everything here
- they ALL have stories like this
Here are some things that I know:
- it will get easier
- it’s not always going to be like this
- I am strong enough to handle this
On top of the salad bar incident, there was the beer debacle.
I’ll have myself a German beer every now and then. After all – they are delicious!
Globus has a getrankemarkt (basically a drink market) where there are rows and rows of different beers – dark, light, hoppy, bitter, sweet – and wine – red, white, rose, blush, sweet, dry – and champagne.
Having recovered from being put in my place by the lady at the checkout counter, I wanted to check and see if they had any pumpkin beer before we left (because that is my ABSOLUTE favorite).
I wandered the aisles, carrying my infamous salad container in my hand. I didn’t see any pumpkin beer.
I proceeded to leave…and got stopped by the lady at the checkout area of the getrankemarkt (there was only one way out).
She said, in German, “Do you need to pay for that?”
I shook my head. “No,” I replied. “I already paid for it.” (This, I said in broken German because I wasn’t totally sure how to say it.)
She raised her eyebrows. “Do you have the receipt?”
“Nein. Meine mann hat die rezept.” (No. My husband has it.)
And yet again, I got the “head shake” for the second time that day.
She let me go, however, and you can be sure I high-tailed it out of there!
Here’s the thing – I can give up OR I can keep trying.
I can hide in my house, only go shopping on the American base and pretend like we are not in a foreign country…OR…I can embrace this.
I can learn the lessons. And not repeat the same mistakes.
And, I am happy to say, that I did go to Globus again after this incident and I DID put the salad in a separate container from the anti-pasto and I did NOT have any issues!
My message, to you today than, is this: Live your life. Make mistakes. Laugh at yourself. Learn. And move on.
Lastly, I wanted to share some GREAT recipes for winter salads with you!
Roasted Yam and Kale Salad
Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad
I hope you enjoy!!!!
And don’t forget – share this post on your social media sites and with all of your friends!