It’s almost midnight here, what a day! Our internet access has been inconsistent because we haven’t arranged for internet service yet, but you can pay a few pounds for temporary internet access through local hot spots. I’m not exactly sure how it works but I begged Richard to get me connected to the world again!
I have spent the last two days assembling furniture. My knees are sore and my back aches and my forearms are weary. But little by little our house is starting to feel comfortable. It won’t really feel complete until all our belongings from the states get here. (Probably in a couple weeks still.) As a side note, when people ask where I am from I always say “The states.” And they look at me confused. So I say “America” and they nod and say “Ohh. Okay.” But I was once told that South Americans and Canadians resent it when Americans from the USA monopolize the term “American”. But maybe that’s all hogwash. (Side note to the side note- I’m sorry if my punctuation is bad tonight, or always.)
Tonight I did two brave things. I drove for the first time! And I went to grocery shopping and bought more than ten items for the first time. It happened like this.
The supermarket I went to is less than a mile from our house, and I would normally walk but it turns out when you move into a house with nothing there is a lot to buy. Let’s face it, the Ramen-ish noodles from the Indian market could only go so far… I didn’t want to send Richard because I wanted to get what I wanted to get, and he couldn’t be trusted. (Sorry babe, love ya.) And because today was his first day of work, which meant my first day alone with the kids cooped up in this house with no toys and no t.v. all. day. long. All of that to say that I was forced to drive.
Aside from trying to get into the car on the left side (something I laughed at Richard for doing) and not knowing how to turn it on, the drive to the store went quite smoothly. I need to write an entire post about the car but I’ll save that for later.
We had discovered at a previous supermarket that you need to deposit a £1 coin to use a “trolley” (cart) but I wasn’t exactly sure how it worked and I didn’t have the right coin anyway so I went inside to inquire at customer service. (I’ve determined that to be successful here I need to be assertive and ask questions.) The kind gentleman explained how to use it and offered to come out and assist me but I said I thought I could figure it out. But apparently I couldn’t. I put my coin in and removed the lock and pulled and pulled on the trolley. I was about to go back in to find the kind gentleman, when a woman came to retrieve a trolley next to me. I asked for her help and she gave my trolley a good hard tug and of course it came right out and I felt very embarrassed.
The first half of my trip through the supermarket was so lovely. I was having such a nice time (as moms often do) perusing the aisles in peace and quiet, AND I was seeing and selecting new things at every turn. It was quite pleasant. Until my trolley got full. The carts here are much smaller than the carts in the U.S. (Nearly everything is smaller here.) All of the sudden I became extremely self-conscious about how much STUFF was in my cart and I felt very American. My hypersensitivity increased as I went down the meat/poultry aisle and nothing resembled anything I’ve ever bought before in my life.
You call THIS bacon? Wha?
By the time I made my way to the checkout line I was feeling very insecure. Without even waiting for the person in front of me in line to finish her business I started explaining myself
“I’ve just moved here and I have a large family and we have had nothing in our house and there are all these things I’ve discovered we needed and I have four kids and they love fruit and and and…”
The cashier was an older black man, missing quite a few teeth but he was so kind and gentle with me. He just chatted me through it all, gave me some tips about shopping and asked me all about my kids. (Best way to a mother’s heart!) Once everything was bagged and I was on my way, I was feeling relieved and brave again. I loaded my groceries in the very small “boot” (trunk) of the car and went to return my trolley. The coin is supposed to come back out after you lock up the trolley again but I couldn’t manage it so I left it behind for the next chap.
The drive home did not go so well. I needed to make a left turn but forgot that I was going to be turning into the left lane and didn’t give myself enough space so I missed the turn entirely. Which meant I had to go through a roundabout which had me moderately stressed out for three seconds and then I was fine until I pulled up in front of our house and called Richard and asked him to come outside and park the car.
And that is my really long post about going to the supermarket.