Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Day 9 (Thursday)

Thursday was spent settling in to our new place.  The Professor headed off to the university to get his keys and start his collaborating.  The kids worked on school in the morning.

I spent the morning trying to figure out how to throw things away.  Am I supposed to recycle?  How do they sort garbage here?  Do I have to wash things?  Is it compulsory or optional?  I think I've figured it out.  Glass is recycled at bins a few blocks away, but only if it isn't broken.  Paper and cardboard go in the two bins with blue lids by our front door.  All other recycling that is rinsed goes in the bin with a yellow lid.  Everything else is garbage.  It goes in the bins with the gray lids near the front door.  Whew.  Now I could put our garbage in the correct places under the sink.

Then we walked to the grocery store.  The Professor had told me to bring a coin for the cart and bags for the food, so I was ready.  The shopping carts are chained together.  Inserting a coin releases a cart.  Chaining it back releases the coin.  And suddenly carts don't congregate in the parking lot.

Grocery shopping in a language I know little of is a fun adventure for myself.  It is overwhelming for eight people.  It is exhausting (emotionally, physically, and mentally) with six children.  We found food for the next day or so.  I found laundry detergent that I think doesn't have perfumes in it.  (I think that took the longest.)  Choosing from a lot of brands and sizes on a shelf in English is tricky for me.  In German it's a joke.  I have no idea which brands are higher quality.  I have no idea what the difference between most things are.  In English I understand "Organic" and "Sale" and "Clearance" and "Delicious" and "Fresh" and "Extra Spicy" and "Natural".  I have some idea what subtle differences the words on packaging signal.  In German, I'm guessing or clueless.  (Which yogurts have more sugar?  What are the differences between all the things that look like yogurt?  I'm not even sure if some of them are yogurt.  Which drinks are 100% juice and which aren't even juice?)

We made our choices, paid for our purchases, and packed our bags.  The cashier kindly gave us four little toys with suction cups to keep kids happy.  Then we returned Miss S to the stroller and walked home.  After putting away our things I hurried back to the bakery we passed on our walk to get a few rolls for our lunch.

I also started laundry.  This involves translating every word on the washing machine to try to figure out what it does.  (What is the steam setting for?  What is the bio setting for?  Is it ecologically friendly or for ecologically friendly clothes or does it use super hot water to kill germs in the clothes?)

I tried to make chicken nuggets for lunch.  This involved finding the manual for the microwave/oven, reading it, translating the instructions on the box of food, and making up my own directions when I realized that they are meant to be fried.  We also realized that we accidentally got a box with cheese mixed in to the meat.  Oops.  The chicken nuggets were good, but different that I expected.  They were more like chunks of chicken, but they tasted good.

At this point, it was time to switch the laundry.  So I pulled out the dictionary and translated the dryer.  (Again, without context, what exactly is each setting trying to describe?)  I figured everything out, except how to turn on the dryer.  The washing machine had an on button, but the dryer only had a start button.  After checking the circuit breaker, all the switches and buttons I could find, I gave up and waited for the Professor.  I was hoping his Italian experience might know some quick trick.
We had a quiet afternoon until the Professor got home (after he picked up bread and OJ at a store with a bit bigger selection.)  He didn't know how to make the dryer work.  So, after dinner, I spread our socks and underwear all over the apartment to dry.  I also put in a load of jeans, so they would have all night to dry.  I emailed the apartment owner.  I texted the local contact.  The text wouldn't send.  I have no idea why.  But, thankfully, the owner replied before I went to bed.  To turn the dryer on, I had to turn a knob to a certain setting and then back to what I wanted.  Presto!  We had a working dryer.

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