there are plenty of lessons to be learned while living abroad. here are a few cade and i are learning...
lesson 1. mcdonalds is stealing from europe.
i don't really like mcdonalds and that doesn't make me any less american. in logan, when i have the choice between pita pit or mcdonalds, wendy's or mcdonalds, arby's or mcdonalds, even beto's or mcdonalds....i will always choose the former, whatever that may be. but i think others can relate to me when i say that there are few sights more beautiful in a foreign country than those infamous golden arches. in utah, it may be low on my list- but in a city of unfamiliar food options where every meal leaves cade and i feeling ripped off and still hungry, i tear up at the sight of this blessed fast food mecca.
even in familiarity, however, there are lessons to be learned. for some reason, the european mcdonalds' must think their ketchup is better than the american kind because they make you pay for every packet you ask for. no matter how many pleas from cade or dirty looks from me are given, we still have to fork out for ketchup!
secondly, why....why...why are refills only in america?!? i wouldn't mind paying 1,70 eruos (2.50$) for a small drink if i knew that i could put a little more in later, but when i have sucked the cup clean before i have even sat down...i start to wonder what kind of joke they're playing.
conclusion: an essential part of the mcdonalds' training book is missing in europe.
there is, however, a small country filled with hope. a few weekends ago, we went to luxembourg on a day trip and were sucked into a mcdonalds despite our learned lessons. to our surprise, we found a self serve drink refill station and the ketchup packets poured down like rain. cade was so overjoyed, he needed a picture to hold onto that moment. one of the smallest countries in the world got it right...good on them.
lesson 2: there is cobblestone everywhere; dress accordingly.
cobblestone sidewalks and old streets add a romantic flare to any european city. i love feeling the age of a city by looking down and realizing the time and energy put into the ground. europe wouldn't be europe without it.
my lesson to be learned here is simple: coblestone eats heels. although i only brought a few, select pairs of shoes on this journey, i did manage to pack in a few pairs of heels for church and dressy days at work. the only part i didn't plan on was walking on a sea of river rocks wherever i go. this picture was taken as we started an evening walk after a great sunday dinner at a ward member's house. wanting to avoid breaking my ankle or the heel of my shoe off, i had to borrow a pair of his flip flops. sarah, who learned this lesson months ago, had another pair packed in her bag.
lesson three: grocery stores give me anxiety.
it isn't that i don't know how to cook. despite the years of my mother's warnings, i learned that lesson the first week of marriage. ok- so not really... but by googling 'easy recipes' and with a nearby walmart, i think i can pull of making an ok dinner.
now... the story is a little different here. i walk into the grocery store and start to panic. our first week, i asked cade what he wanted for dinner for the next little while... his choices were pasta, pasta or pasta. he just smiled back and announced that pasta sounds great. my meal options are getting a little better- but as you can see below, branching out is a dangerous road filled with miscellaneous pork products and crusty beans (yes, this all come out of one can).
needless to say- we sure do love the bakeries here.
lesson four: when you spend 24 hours straight with one another, any argument can't last long.
cade and i really are together all day everyday. when we call home, i am surprised to hear so many questions asked about how 'that' is going. the answer is: fine! we love it. we are always 100% updated on one another's lives which leaves us much more time to talk about politics, religion, movies, memories, etc over dinner rather than updating one another on our day. we are learning so much about each other and i love how we are learning to trust, love and share. it really is so great. i love cade's guts.
we still have some moments. cade took this picture of me when i was mad at him for buying these really ugly shoes. he needed some athletic shoes for basketball and running and such and the ones he brought just up and quit on him the first week we got here. so, we went to the mall and he found 'the perfect shoes.' i hate them and he loves them but what can you do. you can't be mad because that just makes life miserable.... unbearable. so we just let life happen.
on my mission, i remember thinking that being with a companion 24 hours a day was sometimes a bit much. i looked forward to alone time. now- i fear going back to school where i will inevitably have to walk to school, go to work, eat and breathe without cade right next to me. it gives me the creepies.
there are more days to be lived and more lessons to be learned. wish us luck!