I am 23 years old and I already lived alone in two different countries (and I hope this number will grow in the future) Germany and Finland. Both countries are completely different from my home country: Spain. When I mean different I mean completely different. Especially Finland. Angry Birds’ home country is crazy and awesome at the same time. One of the things I loved to do while I was abroad was going to the supermarket. Why? Because each time was like an adventure. In the beginning, most of the times you really don’t know what you are buying. You have an idea but it could be something completely different.
If you are thinking of going abroad or you already were abroad I am sure you will have/had this experiences:
When you have no idea if it is a supermarket.
The first time I entry in one supermarket in Finland was one called Tokmani. My face was priceless. Where is the food? Why are all this tools, clothes, slot machines, bike stuff, toys…etc. The surprise thing for me was that this supermarket was a small one. The typical supermarket you have in your neighbourhood; it was not a big commercial centre. You could buy almost all you need to survive there. It was incredible. Half of the supermarket was for food and the rest for… ALL you can imagine.
When you “get lost” in the supermarket searching for a product.
You arrived to the supermarket after some hours trying to find it. Good, you are there. You think the most difficult part is already done… but no. Embrace yourself. You entry in the supermarket, you start taking some products and then you have no idea where are you or where is the next product. You can’t find the lovely tomato sauce you want, you need, to prepare the typical student pasta: CHEAP. (You can find awesome student recipes here. You’re welcome). You would like to ask someone but you know, your language skills are poor… Sorry dude, you are going to need 20 minutes to find it but it will be worth it.
When you are not sure what you are buying.
I like to describe my experiences in supermarkets abroad with one sentence “let’s see if it is salt”. I don’t know why but in almost all the supermarkets I was I had no internet signal in my phone. Maybe they build the supermarkets like this on purpose thinking “ha ha ha it is a trap!” This is guy when you have two similar packages with a white substance inside you just have to choose one. You have 50% of probability to make the right choice. Good luck my friend.
When you find a product from your country.
Each time I found something from Spain it was like being at home again. Well, not really but I always said to myself “fuck yeah, we are selling Spanish mussels in Finland. We are a fucking awesome”. Of course, you took it thinking “I am going to buy it, I am helping my country”. You think this until the cashier tells you how much it is and you think “fuck it, I really don’t care a lot for this shit”
When you have no idea how much you have to pay.
Okay, you took all the things you wanted and you are ready to go home. But… not really. First you have to pay and it is not as easy as it sounds. At this point you realised that you have no idea about the language so neither about the numbers… When the cashier tells you how much you have to pay you are going to be something like this:
You have two options:
- First one, try to see the number in the cash register. Depending of the position of the machine you could look retarded but it is okay, you don’t know anyone in this country so no worries.
- Second one, just give the cashier a lot of money and trust him/her. Because they took more money than the price but it is the commission for being retarded.
When you discover a new whole world of brands that you didn’t know.
I have some big experiences with this. In Finland were with the beer brand Karjala and with the frozen pizza called “Grandiosa”. Karjala was awful and Grandiosa was… normal. In Germany, I discovered a new world of beer brands. I think I drank more beer than water. But also you have bad things… Where are the brands that you thought they were all around the world? Where is Lays? Where is the best Spanish oil? In the beginning you will buy shitty brands but after food disasters you will learn which brand is awesome and which one is shit.
When you buy this weird thing you always see in the supermarket but you don’t have the balls to buy it.
We all have one. For me in Finland was one weird cheese omelette that you have to eat it fried and with marmalade. It was awful. But I did it. Why? Because you only live once and this cheese omelette is not better than you. Actually in Finland almost all the food in the university was a challenge. Be brave, you can do it too.
When you go to the expensive supermarket.
It is like a new world. As a student or intern while I was abroad I have no money. But sometimes you have to motivate yourself going to the expensive supermarket just to see how rich people live and to motivate yourself to become someone with a normal salary.
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