Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Out on my own

Today is the day that I decided to get out and head to IKEA in Regensberg. We made it back home unscathed but that trip sure took a lot of out me. First of all, IKEA is HUGE. I know we have them in the states but they are only in a few large cities and I have never been to one. The store is 2 levels and completely overwhelming. And if that wasn't enough, it is all in a foreign language that I had to try to decipher. There are numerous "showroom" type areas, everything in that area has a tag on it telling you where you can find the rest of these items (don't take the display items!) and the quantity of items in IKEA is ridiculous. You don't realize how familiar everything is when you are in the states. When I go to CostCo back home, I can cruise through the aisles, glancing left and right to find what I am looking for or to see what grabs my attention. With am unfamiliar language, unfamiliar store signs and unfamiliar products, wow, it drained my brain. I tried to stick to what I was looking for - curtains, waste basket and storage containers. Thankfully Luke was really well behaved - he got into the cart easily with the promise that he could press the elevator buttons and I had a baggie full of animal crackers and M&Ms for him to munch on. He was totally flabbergasted everytime an announcement came on, probably announcing some special going on in the store, but it was loud and in German and he was amazed every time. After we finished the 5 mile treck through the store we found the checkout lanes only to have 2 open and about 20 people waiting to check out. And this was the beginning of the meltdown. Luke is getting antsy, figity and then downright difficult. He wants to get out, he wants a hug, he wants to hold everything, he wants the elevator. I want everyone to hurry up so I can check out and leave! I unload my items on the belt and the cashier quickly rings it up and I look at the screen for the total. I hand her my credit card and she says something very fast and in German but I have an idea of what she is telling me. I am guessing no credit cards, so I say Ah, sprechen sie englisch? And she says, "a little, no mastercard, just IKEA." Well humph, I don't have an IKEA credit card and I don't have enough Euros to pay so she points to my wallet and points to an ATM machine and says "can go get money." I am completely overwhelmed and not sure what I am supposed to do - will be cancel my transaction and ring up the next customer to keep the line going? Will she (and the millions of people behind me) be annoyed and start grumbling? I point to the machine and say I'll be right back and I apologize (in english) and quickly walk over to the machine, with Luke in the cart, saying "push the buttons, push the buttons!" I get my Euros as quickly as possible and pay her. And even though there were 8 people in line behind me (not the millions I claimed), they were all really nice and patient, which really kept my anxiety level down. She placed my change on the little shelf (I don't know why they don't hand it to you) and I hear Luke emptying the contents of the coin pocket of my wallet onto the floor. The lady beind me went and picked them up and smiled and handed them to me. I said "danke", wishing I could say something more, and I smiled and we headed on out. Altogether it wasn't too bad of an experience. I ignored my fear of going out by myself in a country where I do not understand the language, and although there were a few bumps along the way, everything turned out pretty well - I got what I came for (for the most part), I got it paid for and people were very patient with me. But man IKEA is crazy, with or without a toddler in tow.
Brian is coming home today from 3 days in Rothenburg for training. (FYI - I am dying to go to Rothenburg - it is supposedly one of the shopping meccas around Bavaria with the Kathe Wolfharts Christmas Store and Teddyland. Next time Brian heads up there Luke and I will too.) Tomorrow the movers come to drop off all our stuff! YAY!! I can't wait to make our house a home.
If you want to have a little fun - visit IKEA's German web site and see what you can decipher and translate.

1 comment:

Alisha Lofgren said...

Liz, You did good! I miss IKea! I always came out spending way more than I wanted to! That's what you have to do, go out and explore, you just blend right in. Luke looks like a little German boy! Haaa!