I used to be afraid

My natural state is one of efficiency.  I like to do things “on the way”, “kill two birds with one stone”, put in a little effort now to save myself a great effort later.  When I had kids, I had to learn to put that tendency aside — kids don’t always work that way.  Sometimes I have to make two trips to the same shop to prevent turning a single trip into a massive meltdown, or walk right past a shop where I have to run an errand in order to get everyone home in time for lunch.  That’s just life as a parent.  Sometimes we sacrifice efficiency for everyone’s greater good.

But there’s another way in which I’ve abandoned efficiency since I’ve moved abroad, and it’s less noble.  It’s because I was afraid.

I used to go into a shop and always plan out exactly what I needed to say before it was my turn.  If I found the person behind the counter was hard to communicate with, or impatient, I might leave without everything I needed.  I might go to another shop around the corner, come back another time, or simply do without what I needed.  If I had a coupon that I wanted to use, I would plan to ONLY but the thing the coupon was for so as not to complicate my transaction.  I would add up the total and have exact change waiting so I didn’t have to understand what the cashier said.  I was in a constant state of strategizing what I REALLY needed in order to make things overly simple.  I was afraid of trying to do too much, and of getting things wrong.  It made my life harder than it needed to be.

But at some point, I got over that.  I don’t know when or how it changed.  But I went into a shop today, and I didn’t plan out what I was going to say beforehand.  When the cashier asked for my order, I unashamedly asked for a moment to decide.  I added something to my order after she had rung it up, and then remembered a coupon I wanted to use for just part of my purchase.  In short, I had a totally normal transaction which didn’t require stress, strategy or pre-planning.

This wasn’t the first time — I’m sure I’ve been in this mode for a while now.  But it was the first time I was really aware of how nonchalant I’ve become.  I can go into a bakery or a deli or a grocery store and act just exactly like the slightly distracted, moderately disorganized mom that I am.  And, apparently, I can now do it in German.

One thought on “I used to be afraid

  1. It’s the one time in my life that I’ve liked math, being abroad (for the most part) math was math. I think what you and your wonderful family have done in the last few years is really really impressive. I remember what it was like when I moved across the country, and then it was the same language, it’s still different, and it still takes guts. Go you!

Leave a Reply