Monday, June 16, 2008

one stop shopping

I don't think I can overemphasize how different grocery stores are in the US and Europe. I really thought that coming back to American grocery stores would feel normal, but I guess I got so used to the grocery stores in Switzerland that the American ones have become a foreign experience for me.

Several revelations I have had at Safeway so far:

1) Grocery shopping is much different when you go with a car. Instead of having to choose the smallest, lightest, most essential items that you can carry home, you just toss everything you can see into the cart, then haul it out to the car. Then you get home and wonder why you bought half of it.

2) Grocery bags are free in the States, but not guilt-free. The problem is two-fold: first, you buy a carload of groceries, instead of a personload. Second, you then get free plastic bags for a carload of groceries, which makes you feel that much guiltier than when you buy paper bags for a personload of groceries. My reusable grocery bags will be coming soon, but until then, I'm consoling myself with the thought that I'll reuse the plastic bags to pick up after my dog.

3) Who needs ATMs when the cashier at the grocery store lets you charge more on your card so that you can get cash back?

4) Who needs cashiers, however, when you can go through the self-service checkout?

5) Who needs post offices when you can buy your stamps at the grocery store?

On the other hand, having everything in one place can be very overwhelming, to the point of being counter-productive. It doesn't really occur to me to ask for stamps or cash when checking out, because I'm still reeling from trying to pick out one cartload of groceries from the 20-odd massive aisles. Most of the time, I end up buying about three random things, then losing courage and leaving the store, only remembering too late that I had intended to buy specific items on a grocery list.

Monday, June 9, 2008

the weather is wetter in zurich

I am a bit disconcerted, because it hasn't rained since I moved here almost three weeks ago, and the weather forecast for Mountain View for the rest of the week is all the same - sunny, high in the 80s (around 30, for those who think in metric), low in the 50s (around 13 in Celsius). When I first got here, it was cooler than I expected (for some reason, I thought that California would be very warm, but it gets pretty nippy at night - never go without a fleece, even in the summertime, because once the sun goes down, it gets cold). But cold or hot, there still hasn't been any rain. I commented on the lack of rain to a coworker, and she said, "Oh, it'll rain in September, probably."

Um, it's June right now. How can it not really rain for three months? Zurich is similar to New York (and much of the East Coast, for that matter), in that the weather changes from day to day, or even from hour to hour. It wasn't unusual to have a hot sunny day and a cold rainy day, back to back. In fact, the weather in Zurich is so fickle that it will often be both rainy and sunny at once. I've grown so used to weather that has a multiple personality disorder that I can't fathom the idea of having the same weather every day for weeks in a row.


As nice as it sounds to have warm, sunny weather all the time, I've also been warned that when it rains, it can decide to rain for weeks at a time, as well. Ick.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

take two

Note to self: Notes to self apparently are useless. I got scared by another sneaky garbage disposal light switch, this time when I was viewing an apartment with my agent and the owner present. I nearly jumped out of my skin and then had to explain that I had forgotten about garbage disposals.

Also, I may have been a little bit stinky, because Fiver puked on my leg while we were driving around, and while it wasn't visible, it smelled like puke.

Anyone know of a landlord looking for a stinky tenant who is scared of garbage disposals?

Monday, June 2, 2008

i shouldn't be surprised, but i am

Note to self: Just because you lived in apartments and dorms where light switches did nothing but turn lights on and off for the past thirteen years doesn't mean that they can't do other things. Like turn on a garbage disposal. Which then scares the bejesus out of you because (1) you haven't heard a garbage disposal in thirteen years, (2) you forgot garbage disposals even existed, and (3) it was late at night and it was dark in the kitchen, and you just wanted to turn the light on to get a snack, but instead, GRBKFKMGXMK!!!!

Beware the garbage disposal.

Also, beware the cookie thieves! I went to the grocery store yesterday (yes, on a Sunday - this is the second Sunday in a row that I've gone and bought something at a store that wasn't located in a train station, and I'm still immensely pleased) and as I walked down the cookie aisle, lo and behold, I saw that the Cookie Gods, during my four year hiatus from the States, had seen fit to bless us lowly cookie eaters with Cool Mint Creme Double Stuf Oreos.


I bought a package, not for me, but to send to friends back in Switzerland - I am trying to eat relatively healthily, to compensate for the fact that I'm getting free food at work, and the fact that I don't exercise. I got the cookies back to my apartment and found out that in my absence, the Cookie Gods had also invented resealable packaging, and that someone had opened the package, eaten about 1/4 of the Oreos, and resealed it.


Maybe the Cookie Gods had foreseen my intention to send the cookies to Switzerland, and didn't want it to happen, and so they made sure that I bought a package that I wouldn't send. Sorry, Switzerland, you're just not ready for the awesomeness of Cool Mint Creme Double Stuf Oreos with resealable packaging.

I intended to either throw the cookies away (for fear that they may have been tainted) or take them back to Safeway (to exchange for a virgin package), but I ended up eating some of them. So far, no poison, so I'll hope for the best for the rest of the package.