Thursday, September 13, 2012

Milk and Mechanics

This week I faced new challenges! I did things I had never done before! I realized this week that no matter how long I live here, I will never get past the challenge of doing something for the first time, because there is always something new to do! My first challenge will sound like, well, not a challenge, but it pulled out a feeling in me that I hadn’t felt in a while.

For some reason I had gotten the urge to buy fresh milk (unpasteurized) and boil it myself at home. I had this idea that it would be healthier and better tasting. Conveniently, there is a place that sells fresh milk about a 5 minute walk from our house. So, last Sunday we decided to be spontaneous and go buy some fresh milk (I know, my life is incredibly exciting). We went there, my husband handled the whole transaction, then we came home and he showed me how to boil it and skim the fat off the top, etc. I was having WAY too much fun for what we were actually doing. I was actually giggling. My husband enjoyed it, too, because when he was a kid there was no pasteurized milk, so his mom always used to boil their milk and he and his sister fought over the skimmed cream off the top. So, we had great fun and drank our milk all through the week. Then, a couple of days ago, I said, “Wouldn’t it be nice to buy some more milk?” We happened to be coming up on the milk store (I don’t know if there’s an expression for this in English. Lactisserie? Dairist? Anyone?), so my husband stopped the car and gave me some change from our change pile in the car. But…

I panicked! What should I say? I don’t know how to buy fresh milk? What do I ask for? Is it a kilo or a liter or what? You go! You do it! My husband just put the money in my hand and insisted I go. Ask for a liter. It’s just milk. Of course, he was right. Why did I panic? It was a new thing, but I’ve done thousands of little new things here since I came here four years ago. Buying milk certainly doesn’t even make the top ten of difficult things I’ve done. I even speak the language now. Anyway, I walked in and bought the milk, and everything was fine. I still don’t know why I panicked.

Then, yesterday I had another little episode. Our car seemed to be really close to overheating a few days ago, which is strange because the weather is actually pretty cool these days, so we thought a mechanic should check it out just in case. I insisted I could take it because our mechanic is literally down the street from my workplace. In the past, my father-in-law has taken the car in because he didn’t trust the mechanic yet, and he didn’t want me to get ripped off. But now we know the mechanic is honest, so I said it would be ridiculous for my father-in-law to come all the way down when I was so close. My husband sent me a map and told me what to say (my car vocab is still developing). However, when the time came, I panicked. What if I don’t know what to say? What if I don’t understand him? What if I can’t find it? In the end, I found the place (I only had to make one U-turn), I told him the problem, he checked everything out, and of course I understood everything. Again, why did I panic? Maybe I’ve gotten too comfortable in my routine where I know what to expect all the time. I have to admit, I did feel a sense of accomplishment after both transactions. I’ve decided that new adventures are good for me. Maybe I can even welcome the next one. Has anyone else panicked over something small?

BTW – There’s no problem with the car J


  1. When my boss sent me first to the hardware store, then to the copy shop in Spain, I panicked. It turned out to be much easier than I thought to say "Uno, por favor" and then "Ocho, por favor."

    I actually struck up conversation with the copyist and we became pretty familiar with each other while I was there.

  2. Copyists are a generally pleasant lot, I have found. Isn't it funny how scary these normal tasks can seem in a foreign language? I've found it's almost always easier than you think it will be!