04 August 2011

Grocery Tears

Right now, I'm procrastinating.

I'm procrastinating a trip to the grocery store.

Lemme tell ya why. I'll start at the beginning...

We bounce around the world quite a bit, right? You know this. We've lived in Africa for five (yes FIVE!) years now. We've gone back and forth between Africa and the U.S. about once a year, and we've seen a lot of things in between. Culture shock is generally a thing of the past for me. I have experienced lots of cultures lots of times and generally adjust fairly easily.

When we first moved overseas lots of people asked us "Did you experience culture shock?" and we've thoughtfully pause and then say "Uh... yeah." Cause the first six months overseas challenged us to the core. Everything was new. And what I mean by everything is EV-ER-Y-THING! Driving, eating, shopping, cooking, talking, walking, weather, people, housing, schooling, bathing, cleaning... EV-ER-Y-THING. Like being a baby again. Only we were grown adults, which makes it a lot harder and more humbling to rely on others to teach us everything so that we could learn to live there.

But learn to live there we did. I'd like to give a big shout out to those who helped us along the way.

Only I don't really feel like shouting cause I have a quiet morning and I have a cup of coffee on my right and classical music wafting in my ears. So can it just be a pretend shout?

Great, thanks. It still comes from my heart.

AAAAnyway...

Once we survived our first year and came back to the States many people asked us "Do you experience reverse culture shock?" (That means did I have trouble adjusting BACK to my American culture after living overseas for a large chunk of time.) And generally I think I'd say "Nope, not really." Then I'd explain that God created me to be a think-aheader, and therefore my brain is already in the future before my body is. SO essentially I kind of adjust to changes before they come and they don't hit me hard when they actually happen.

This trait comes in quite handy. Thanks God, you sure did know what you were doing when you made me, didn't ya?

However, this trait didn't help me out when we initially moved because frankly, we had NO IDEA what we were getting ourselves into. How can one pre-adjust to the completely unknown?

All this to say that by now I can generally bounce back and forth across the world without many issues.

Except one thing. And maybe more that I can't think of right now. But today we'll focus on that one that I DO think about.

The grocery store.

The grocery store makes me want to cry. In fact I've been on the verge of tears twice now because at times I find it utterly stressful and confusing.

One evening I need four items. ONLY FOUR. Mike stayed in the car driving the kids around the parking lot while I 'ran in' to grab the things. As I stepped out of the car, H got a bloody nose. Greeeeeeaaaat. Now I really needed to hurry in case the leftover napkin supply ran out and we needed to head home quick.

SOOOOO I proceeded to rush around in a wandering sort of don't-know-where-I'm-going fashion all over the store trying to locate the items on my small list. I struggled. Wrong aisle. Not there. Turn around. Maybe there? Which one? Too many? So expensive! Go back. Next thing? Where at? Not here. Over there? No there. Empty. Which one? Don't know. Not there. Where?!

Then I stood in the middle of the aisle surrounded by cheeses of all kinds, flavored coffee creamers, a zillion kinds of eggs and milk from all sorts of chickens and cows who were or were not given antibiotics or hormones or free range or whatever, tears in my eyes, frantically looking for any person/innocent bystander/mega-store shopping regular who could help me locate the item I needed.

No one.

No one.

No one came to me in my time of need.

My family was still driving circles around the parking lot.

My boy's nose was bleeding.

I still hadn't located my items.

I was approximately a half mile from the entrance of the store.

I didn't have my shoppers card.

I couldn't find what I wanted.

I was holding back the tears that pooled in my eyes.

End of story.

No happy ending.

Just that the grocery store in a hurry stresses me to the max.

The end.

3 comments:

  1. Don't worry! The grocery store stresses me out every time! Your not alone :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I know exactly what you are talking about. You just put it into words which can be a difficult thing to do!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. The grocery store stresses me out and I don't have reverse culture shock to blame it on. :)

    ReplyDelete

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