Anywhere you go, anywhere you live, you usually will find yourself at some point falling into a routine. Whether you want to or not, you find favorite hangouts and discover restaurants that you can't live without. You find places you like, and at some point that becomes good enough. In the beginning, you may venture out and try to find out about as much of your new surroundings as you can. After a while, you get complacent. Not to say this is a bad thing, knowing what you like and where you like to go is normal. Every once in a while, though, it's nice to get out there and see what you might be missing out on.
Well, I am determined not to fall into a routine over here. Having a job is one thing, but not trying new things constantly just doesn't work for me. Living in another country with a completely different language makes this a bit easier. Today, for example, I went to a new store (for me). I'm not sure what is wrong with me but I am completely fascinated with grocery stores. Everything is just so different. So yes, I went to a grocery store (ok maybe I need to take my own advice and start venturing a wee bit further. Heh). I had some errands to run and on the way home I remembered I've been wanting to check out this place called Real. I've heard it is the German WalMart. I have no idea why I haven't gone there yet, probably because I was doing what I set out not to do and have just been going to the commissary on base. Don't hate me, it's just so much easier when you can read everything! And we tend to shop on Sundays when all the German stores are closed. Luckily, there is one about 5 minutes from my house. So I headed on over and was ecstatic when I walked through the doors. It really is like a German WalMart!...except I am sure the quality of food is much much better here. Walking through the aisles and trying to figure out what food items are is always fun, unless of course you're in a hurry. Then it is probably a pain in the ass. And there are always items that you would never see in the states (think schnitzel pre-packaged in every form possible). I've been looking for red curry paste and was so so happy that they had it there. I LOVE curry. I think I have an unhealthy addiction to curry. I could go for some curry right now...yummm....anyway...
Another thing that's interesting at the grocery stores here is that herbs aren't sold pre-packaged. They're sold in the pot, as in you buy the entire plant. I needed basil a few weeks ago and so I bought a pot of basil. How much was it you ask?...99 Euro cent (so like a dollar). Unfortunately, I don't know how to keep plants alive so I only got one use out of it. Better luck next time! (any tips on keeping basil alive and green is welcomed and encouraged...hint hint..)
Also, if you're not familiar with European Grocery shopping, there is almost always one item you want to keep handy, and this is a bag. They don't bag your groceries here, so you have to bring your own or find a way to carry it all to your car. Another difference here is that you pay a deposit to get a cart. I think this is a very intelligent idea. This way you don't end up seeing carts on sidewalks and in random places. Put your 50euro cents in and you get the cart. When you return it, you get the money back. Simple!
There are so many little things here that are different from the states. It is always an adventure!
Photo Courtesy of: http://krikor.info/?p=415