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to this... (to well, not much tidier 6 months later really).
I have made my P E A C E with the whole food shopping thing. Ok, maybe not entirely, but I did find Rice Krispies today, so you've caught me in an upbeat mood. The whole supermarket/food shopping thing has been one of the hardest things to get to grips with. But I'm getting there. When I first arrived I was having to have conversations with the woman behind the meat counter along the lines of "...und das ist alles 'moo'?" because I was living in fear of buying horsemeat thanks to my dad, and I didn't know what beef was called, or what the difference between 'rinderfleisch' and 'hackfleisch' and 'rinderhackfleisch' was. You go out for a 'hack' on a horse, don't you? That's the kind of word that made me pretty wary. As it turns out, really, you're going out for a 'mince' on a horse. Make of that what you will.
Now though, I'm getting to grips with most of it. I still have difficulties with the fish. I was never very good at recognising fish in the first place, so seeing it with unrecognisable names and with it's head and skin and fins and malarky on, rather than in a neat skinned, de-boned fillet, vacuum packed on a Tesco shelf has me a little lost. I am also just a little fish-phobic. I really can't bring myself to touch a fish with it's skin on, and I honestly can't see the day when I would be willing to chop ones head off. So with the help of my lovely fish counter friend in Edeka, I have learned to ask for the salmon that I need and to have it skinned.
Despite all my moaning on and on about the state of the crisps market here and how very little has changed in the past 30 years, I have discovered that I actually like paprika crisps. I had some about a month ago, and I was actually quite surprised. For a moment I thought I must actually be turning into a German, and then I realised that if I'd only had them for the past 30 years, I would hate them with a passion.
Today I went to Real for the very first time. There's one out by Rolls-Royce. I'd heard talk about there being bigger supermarkets that are more along the lines of British supermarkets where you can buy lots of non-food items as well, but to date the only place I'd been was Kaufland and it's just a pale imitation of an Asda or something. Stevie has been to Real a couple of times in his lunchbreak and to be honest I can't believe he hasn't told me about it before now. They have loads of things that we could have been doing with, not least of all the Rice Krispies, which are a viable alternative for Hamish who is sick of Weetabix and has gone off Cheerios.
The kids fell asleep in the car on the way there and I went in on my own. Always a mistake in Stevie's eyes. Apparently I was in there for "120 minutes? Did you watch a movie or something??". To me it felt like 20, and I thought I was rushing. Still it gave Stevie a 2 hour window to nurse his tired hangover.
We were out last night for dinner with some friends who are leaving Berlin after nearly 4 years here. Stevie used to know the guy back in Derby and when he ran into him quite early on in the canteen over here he thought he was just over for the day. Shows how quickly time flies without you noticing. Anyway, we've seen a fair bit of them and we have really enjoyed their company, but we've known from the start that they were hoping to get back before Christmas. And so it has come. They have the relocation team coming on Monday to pick up their stuff, and they've got our old relocation service provider, Heidi, sorting out their paperwork, and they're leaving on Thursday.
I'm really going to miss them, and I'm also just a little envious of them. Our move is still fresh in my memory, and I enjoyed it and it was all quite exciting, and I can well imagine that they are feeling quite excited about going back. Perhaps not about the fact that they've both still got to sort out the jobs that they'll go back to, but this has been a long wait for them. I hope that we meet some more people just as nice as them while we're here, and I am already looking forward to being good friends again when we return to Derby.
Roll on the next 6 months!