I have the flu. I’m at that wonderful stage where your head feels like it’s been stuffed full of cotton-wool and the world moves around more than it really should do when you stand up. I shouldn’t have gotten off the couch, but my fridge was looking rather bare and here in Germany nothing is open on a Sunday so I had to go grocery shopping today. Also, I needed to get tissues and that was non-negotiable.
Back home when I’m in this state I function on auto pilot. Go, grab what I need and go back home without really thinking about what I’m doing. Here in Germany I can’t do that. Everything requires thought, especially grocery shopping, although the products are starting to look more familiar even if I’m not quite sure what they are.
My shopping adventure started as I was leaving my apartment building and a couple was struggling with a mattress. I held the door open for them and they thanked me politely in German, ‘No problems’ I said in English. *sigh* I know the German response, but my brain just wasn’t accessing it.
I got to the supermarket, recycled my bottles, grabbed a trolley (which you need to put €1 coin in to get out of the bay) and started shopping. I remembered the German phrase to say sorry for blocking the way to the bananas whilst I was actually getting said bananas (the woman was very impatient) and I managed to get the groceries I needed. However, whilst putting my groceries on the conveyor belt at the checkout I forgot to get the jar of strawberry jam out of my trolley, it was partially hidden under my canvas bag. The lady behind me, kindly pointed this out, but I couldn’t understand a word she was saying. I apologised and said in German that I don’t speak German and thankfully the blessed woman could speak English and said, “your jam”. I then thanked her profusely, in German. Poor woman was probably very puzzled by this crazy Australian who says she doesn’t speak German who then turns around and speaks German.
Then I had an encounter with the most pedantic checkout chick (well she was about 60 so I guess check out frau would be more appropriate), I have ever come across. My grocery bill was €25.29 and I only had a €50 note but I did have 30 cents. So to prevent getting back a handful of change I handed over €50.30 and received a lecture on how my bill was for €25.29 and not €25.30 (I know my numbers). Yes, it seems with this woman that if you are going to give her change it has to be exact. I took back my 30 cents and got a lovely handful of change in return. *sigh*
Then coming home going through the weird don’t ride your bike through here barrier thing I meet a man who was coming the opposite way. We did that awkward dance of no you go, no you go, oh are you going okay I’ll stop, oh you are stopping too so who the hell is going to go first thing. He eventually stopped and said in English, “Ladies first”. I thanked him in German and then realised about 2 minutes later that he had actually spoken to me in English. My brain has no idea what language it is functioning in today.
So now I’m safely back on the couch and intend to stay here until the world stops spinning and my brain feels a little more normal. I really should not venture out into the world again until I’m fully functional, however, the store down the road makes really good currywurst and I don’t feel like cooking dinner tonight, so….