Grocery Adventures

by Jane Moneypenny

I went grocery shopping for the first time in Austin yesterday. This may seem like a small event, but navigating a new grocery store is always a bigger task than you think. Also, it’s a personal victory when I get to a place without GPS or written instructions (making it a grand total of 3 places on the list).

The chain here is H.E.B. and I wasn’t sure what to expect other than they were everywhere. The moment I go there, I knew it would be a confusing time due to the fact I couldn’t even find the “enter” doors. Unlike most stores/groceries (this particular location anyway), the exit and enter weren’t next to each other. Baffled and unable to find shopping carts, I stood there watching until I found someone to follow in. Success!

In the first few minutes, I was overwhelmed. The layout was a huge maze with shiny lights and displays. Numerous times, I would stop my cart short, slamming my ankles into the shopping cart. It looked like Whole Foods to me and nothing like the dimly lit, cheap bag-your-own-grocery chain I’m used to in St. Louis or easy rows of Win Dixie/Walmart in New Orleans. They really do everything bigger in Texas.

As for general life, nothing’s changed. I’ve started looking at apartments, but I’m completely unaware of what areas are good or bad or considered too expensive. Reviews online are never good for apartments and the good ones are way beyond my price range. Work is continually rough due to these ridiculous transitions, so I sit at my lonely island desk, twirling and surfing the web. I’ve made headway with co-workers that have introduced themselves because of their connections to St. Louis or New Orleans or sports. I’ve taken the plunge and talked to a few familiar names given to me by my former co-worker in St. Louis and asked their opinions on where I should live. Other than that, it’s been nonstop meetings about the changes, getting lost in the office and wondering what the actual hours of this place is. Hopefully once the dust settles, things will be more clear and life will continue. Let’s all hope I still have a job after that.

I’m determined to push forward, no matter how scared, lonely and homesick I am.