Feeling Right at Home

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Now, I am nearly a native when I go to the grocery store in our town. We have a couple of grocery stores, Lid'l and Aldi. Recently, I went to the Aldi, which of course has stores in America as well, but the German ones are a little classier. Their selection is always entertaining. You can obviously purchase groceries, but weekly the selection will change. You can always buy yogurt, for example, but the type you loved last week won’t be there this week and you need to be flexible. Also, many of the items they sell are not food. Walking down the candy and drink aisle, you might see a couple bicycles for sale. There is a glass case of electronics in the meat section. A rack runs down the center of the store with (possibly) anything you could want including cheap shoes, jeans, lamps, toys, tents and much more. Eggs and milk are on a shelf, not refrigerated, and yet deliciously fresh.

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Once you are ready to check out, you might cringe to look at the long line of people at the register. However, these guys are efficient. The secret is to put your cart at the end of the lane and when the cashier starts ringing up your items, you have to put them back into the cart as quickly as possible to avoid the glares of your fellow shoppers. Try that without bruising the apples and breaking the eggs! Then, without having to understand much German, you pay and leave. That part is still self-explanatory. There are not plastic bags, so you always bring your own basket or reusable bag whenever you shop.

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Besides these few little grocery store tips, the culture of living in Germany doesn't differ much from home. Everything, including the grocery store, is closed on Sundays, which was only shocking the first week when I ran out of food. You can hand out-going mail directly to the post man wherever you may see him, and he will take it to deliver. You can ride bikes on the sidewalk. Other than that, it really feels like being home. The culture makes sense and some of the different aspects are arguably more efficient.

The photos included are the eggs from the store, so fresh they have feathers in the carton, the barn Hof Bornsen and the forest around Bornsen.

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