Oh goodness. Rough day at the grocery store.
I generally enjoy grocery shopping. I have my thoughts to myself, I daydream of the meals and projects I will create that week, and I feel like I accomplished something useful.
Except, of course, when I have no idea how to say anything and don't know how to find the stuff I need.
All the while I am getting stared at by the multitude of Koreans also grocery shopping, who happen to know exactly how to go about shopping in this lovely but confusing country. They observe me while I clumsily navigate the store, trying to find things, not knowing where anything is since Korea has a different way of categorizing everything (WHY is the baking soda a good 4 aisles away from the flour?).
I was able to find everything except what I actually needed to get. Darn. I was hoping to get some simple craft/DIY supplies, but here people generally like to buy things brand new and ready to go, so the craft/hardware aisle consisted of 4 colors of paint, sandpaper, and an electric drill.
Hm. There goes my next 5 blog posts and things to keep me busy this week.
I had heard a small rumor that the grocery store delivers groceries if you want for a small fee. Awesome, right? Supposedly, all you have to do is buy them, box them up, and take them to the counter. I found the delivery counter, but didn't see anyone use the service, so I was a bit worried. I saw this too late however, and had bought a lot of things, thinking that I could have it all delivered and not have to carry it back. I boxed up my stuff, took it to the counter, and the woman looked at me like a deer in the headlights. We've found that some folks tend to get really thrown off when a foreigner approaches them, and kinda freeze. It's okay! I come in peace! I told her my address, and she said "Sorry, no English!"
Okay, that's fine, since I'm telling you in Korean...
I try again, and then showed her my address, however it was written in English characters, so she said "Sorry, no English" again, and that was that.
Totally not her fault that she didn't understand, but now I have SO many things to carry back. So I did. Somehow the walk gets 10x longer when you're carrying a load. I must have been quite the sight, loaded up like a pack mule, taking the walk of shame back to our apartment building. On the way, I vowed for the 3rd time this month to abstain from grocery stores for the rest of my life, and to order everything online from my couch, Nutella in one hand, a cup of tea in the other.
I got home, and laugh-cried for a couple minutes while Nate hugged me and put the groceries away. Then I made pancakes, drank some tea, lit a nice-smelling candle, and listened to Christmas music (don't tell anyone!).
That made things a lot better.
He and I laughed about the fact that he actually likes people staring at him (youngest child syndrome, I think), and I HATE being stared at. While I know it's part of living here, and can usually shrug it off with out a second thought, it's frustrating when I already know I stand out, and I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. I feel like everyone is a spectator to my blunders, missteps, and confusion. GO AWAY HUMANS. Let me be confused in peace!
Also, I think this is the part where the honeymoon of living overseas is over. Oh well. It just means we're that much closer to being well-adjusted here. This phase is a pain, but necessary I suppose. We still love and appreciate so many things about living in this lovely little country, and feel blessed with the opportunity, but as with any new situation, there are things that take time to adjust to.
Of course, I know in a month or so grocery shopping here will feel more natural, and I'll be more familiar with how things are done. I still have no idea if the store actually delivers, but I think I'll ask one of our Korean co-workers and see what they say (probably should have done that in the first place).
I realize that many of you will be reading this in a time zone that is about 13 hours behind us, so I feel it is my duty as someone who is finishing up today to tell you to avoid the grocery store today at all costs! It's a doozy, folks!
What about you? Have there been any travel experience or new situations that left you dazed and confused? Tell me about it in the comments below!