Happy One Week Anniversary to us! Alot of ground has been covered so far. Setting up house is exhausting business and it makes quite the dent in the wallet. We spend our free time shopping.
I’ve always been a savvy shopper, but even I am weary of it. After a week straight of foraging in the wilds of Valencian shops, I want a day off. But we don’t have some of the essentials we need. I realized this yesterday when the guy who hooked up our internet asked for a glass of water and I had to give him a litre bottle because we have no glasses from which to drink. Jeff and I had just been claiming whole bottles for ourselves and drinking directly from them. Time to get a bit more civilized.
The printer we had delivered yesterday had a shattered glass copying surface so Jeff carried it back to the store (1.5 km) and we returned it yesterday. It was a sweaty business.
‘I need tennis shoes. These dress shoes aren’t cutting it.’ he complained on the march to the Worten.
He had sacrificed space in our luggage for me and now he was paying for it. So when we were at the mall returning the copier and ordering another one, we stopped into some of the athletic stores and browsed. He picked out some he liked and we asked the shop assistant for his size.
Jeff is tall, even by US standards. And in Spain, he’s freakishly tall. People stare. And when he asked for a size 48 shoe their eyes widened.
‘No no no. In Spain we are short. No 48. Maybe 46.5 but not even 47’
We heard it over and over. Jeff became demoralized.
‘Maybe we can find a clown store so I can buy shoes.’
‘Or you can order them online. Or we can go to Norway for a weekend – where your people are from – and buy you some clothes there.’ You might think I’m kidding but I am not.
Today we woke up and headed out early to pick up a few more things. Garbage can for the kitchen, printer paper for when our copier shows up later today, and a host of other things.
There are places all over the city that are filled to the gills with stuff imported from China – like the Dollar Store in the US. And in general it’s stuff we need. And they’re all run by Chinese immigrants to Spain, who speak Spanish better than I ever will. In my simple mind, I refer to the one near our house as the ‘Chinese store.’ I don’t actually know what’s it’s called but Jeff knows what I mean when I refer it. We headed there.
We filled our cart until we knew we were at the limit of what we could carry home and proceeded to the check out. The guy there is getting to know us and he actually smiled this time. He rang us up and because we were spending 67 euros, he came around the counter and handed Jeff a can of olives, and then me a litre of lactose free milk. I’m not quite sure what he was trying to tell me with that.
We didn’t really want these things and tried to give them back to him, but he kept saying something louder and louder like we were simple minded (OK maybe he’s right), and waving ‘no, no, no’. Apparently, we are good customers now and we get ‘gifts with purchase.’ Not unlike the GWP you get at the cosmetic counter at Nordstrom from Lancome or MAC. Except no extra lip stick or face cream to try out. Here we get olives stuffed with anchovies and lactose free milk.
Finally, we graciously accepted it and took our toilet brushes, light bulbs and the like home. And now I will have light to read by and a place to put our garbage. I’ll be ready if the copy delivery man needs a glass of water after he asks for my passport, again. Perhaps I’ll tip him with a lovey can of olives or some lactose-free milk. Since we’re locals now!