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Saturday, May 14, 2011

I came. I weighed. I conquered.

I bought lemons today. Oh yeah. I rocked this whole Austria thing big time. For months I have been terrified of the produce section – but today no longer.

This past week I shared with someone from the office how intimidated I was by the produce department. The weighing in and tagging prior to the cashier hadn’t worked out so well for me in the past and lead to some pretty embarrassing moments. He took his time and explained the process. Produce on the scale. Type in number that is displayed on the items sign. Sticker comes out. Place on bag with produce.

Got it.

But first I needed cash and I had none so off I went to the bank machine to use my Austrian bank card for the first time.

Not good. The English language button was nowhere to be found and my attempt to logically select the right buttons was failing miserably. The machine kept spitting my card back. No money. This was a bit of a problem. I needed food and a pair of shoes was calling my name. So I did what any other person in my predicament would do. I went to my favorite bakery and ordered a cappuccino to go and pondered my options.

That’s when I heard “hey American girl!”

Seems walking around with a coffee is not a very Austrian thing to do. Nonetheless, that cappuccino proved to be the perfect Segway for a little bank machine tutorial. Money now in hand I decided it was time to head to the busy Interspar and stock up my weeks groceries.

First stop produce section. I circle the area. I decide to only try one thing just in case I did it wrong – one oops is much less embarrassing than 10. So I decide on lemons. Just three little lemons. I bag them and begin searching for the machine. Instantly I panic. There is a line up at the weigh scales. I nearly bail, but instead go back to the lemon sign and double check the number. “You can do this,” I silently assure myself.

My turn arrives. Place on scale. Check. Push button. Hmm…where is the tag? Nonchalantly I start examining all sides of the machine. I start looking for an enter button, something, anything that I could have overlooked. Nothing. Just before I am about to walk away I notice the sticker. I place it on the bag and head to the till. Reading the label I think whatever it happens to say does not look much like the word “lemon.” Should have taught us lemon in German class I think.

In the end, my lemons were accepted at the till. It was a euphoric moment for me. I paid for them with the money I took from the bank machine.

Today there is an extra bounce in step as well as a renewed sense of pride. And I will likely share this anyone and everyone who is misguided enough to ask me how my day went. And why not? I conquered the heck out of it!

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