Just A Quick Little Errand

Here’s the thing .. there is no such thing as a quick errand in Mirano.  This has been a very hard lesson to learn, but one that I am attempting to embrace.

Life in the US is always moving fast and while we’ve been traveling for 4-months, we’ve been in larger cities (London, Amsterdam, and Kyiv), which has made is super easy to maintain our life schedule with some minor modifications — Mirano is very different. As I shared in my last post, Mirano is a small town about 40-mins away from Venice. I really wanted to experience the Italian countryside, so rather than staying in Venice, we booked a house in Mirano. I do love the house, but I wasn’t expecting the drastic change in pace. I mean, I knew we were staying in the country, but our research told us there was a bus system, which in my mind would still allow us to get around pretty easily, so I figured we’d be fine.

Fast forward 2-weeks into our stay … so, yes, there is a bus system and there is a posted schedule, but that doesn’t mean the bus actually follows the schedule.  Sometimes the bus comes 5-mins late, sometimes the bus comes 10-mins late, sometimes the bus doesn’t come at all .. and on very few occasions the bus comes on-time — AND the weekend are even worse — which means, life runs on a very different schedule.

Last week, Nolan and I set off for our typical Sunday night trip to the grocery store. I planned ahead and purchased our bus ticket so that we could easily get too and from the store, I put our reusable grocery bags in my backpack, I had my list all prepped & ready, and Nolan was excited for our first big trip to the grocery store, and off we went.

The bus stop is about a 2-mins walk from the house, so we left about 5-mins before the bus was scheduled to arrive.  We arrived at the bus stop with no issues and waited patiently for the bus … which didn’t come at the scheduled time. No big deal, we can wait, and wait we did. The bus arrived about 12-mins late.

Next up, upon arriving at the grocery store, we hopped off the bus and headed into the store. I should have been prepared, but we quickly realized that carts were locked and required a 1 EURO to unlock.  I had no EURO coins and there was no ATM to get cash. Frustration … increasing … but still keeping my cool. I must have had a “look” on my face because a sweet old man came over to the cart corral and gave me a coin.  (Thank you kind old man!)

Once in the grocery store, we found most everything we needed, but it did take a very long time. It’s always hard to figure out a new store layout, all the labels in Italian, so I have to use my phone to translate, and learning the general shopping process takes time.  For example, you have to print your own labels for all the produce using a scale and label maker (which is only in Italian).  I also went on a black bean hunt for about 10-mins before giving up the search. In the end, the only item I didn’t end up finding were the black beans.

With a full cart, we headed to the check-out.  The only check-out lines open were self-checkout — ok, we can do this — thankfully, the computer offered an English, so we were in good shape.  I quickly scanned my groceries, paid, and carefully packed everything up in my (2) bags.

As I turned around, Nolan was standing behind the gated self-checkout area.  At this point, I should explain that the grocery store entrance and exit is gated.  To leave the actual checkout area you must scan your receipt, which you can only scan once.  Nolan had used the receipt to scan himself out, leaving me behind the gate.  (Frustration level … further increasing, but attempting to keep it together.) The self-checkout attendant came over, scanned her badge to let me out, and proceeded to politely reprimand Nolan in Italian while shaking her finger.  I just said “graci” and we quickly headed for the doors.

As we headed back to the bus stop I check my watch, I should also explain the buses only come every 20-mins and as I shared earlier, rarely are one-time, so we made a mad dash for the bus stop. Assuming the bus was a bit late, we would make it to the stop before it arrived.  As we were approaching the bus stop, the bus passes us making it to the stop exactly on-time.  GREAT, the one time I need the bus to be just 2-mins late is the one time it is perfectly on time. So we missed the bus … meaning, we were in for a long wait.

As we sat at the bus stop waiting for the next bus, I started to cry. I was so frustrated. Our simple little errand went wrong in almost every possible way.  All I wanted was to run to the store to get our food for the week, but we were going to end up wasting over 2-hours. I looked over and Nolan was playing “ninja” with a palm branch he found on the ground with little care in the world.

I thought to myself, why exactly am I so upset.  So what if our trip took longer than I wanted. Nolan and I were together, we had a lovely time, and we were accomplishing our task — while ten times slower than I wanted … the task itself was still going to be completed. Besides, isn’t this exactly what I wanted — to experience the Italian countryside?  Careful what you wish for, right??

Looking back, I can laugh at myself now, but at the time, I was positive we should just pack up and leave. You’d think by now, I would be better at adjusting to life in a new place, but it really never gets easier.

Traveling is still hard. I try to focus on the bigger adventure, not on the small challenges, but with that said, I am very much looking forward to my first trip to Target upon returning to the US. Knowing where to FIND peanut butter, being able to READ labels, having the option of ASKING an employee if I need help — such luxuries!

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