We are coming up on the 2-year anniversary of being in Austria. In some ways, that seems and sounds like a long time; we feel very at home here and have learned so much in terms of the language and culture. We have found friends and a community of both German and English speakers. We are in the midst of serving and done with our official language study phase. Our life in the States before this feels like a long way away.
And yet, we are still babies, learning how to crawl. As I watch Ellie figure out her body and how to move around, I see a lot of similarities with our journey. Each opportunity to learn how to live and serve here builds on the previous one, much like a baby strengthens her muscles and learns how to put movements together. Before we know it, we will be full-out walking!
Sometimes, it feels like I am walking already...but then I have an experience that reminds me that I'm still learning and I'm still reaching new milestones. This week's success: the meat counter.
When we first moved here, everyone would tell us hilarious and embarrassing stories about trying to order meat at the supermarket. Not only are you attempting to use your new language skills to order food, but you are also figuring out how much to order in kilograms instead of pounds. This makes for some entertaining accidental mix-ups. (Similar to the time I tried to order 100 Kilos of dried cranberries at the market. That's 200 pounds, people.)
In an attempt to avoid making some of these same mistakes, I have been avoiding the meat counter. Today's supermarkets have plenty of pre-packaged meat options, so it hasn't been difficult for me to just look at a package and decide if it's the right kind and amount of meat that I need. But this week, I took a sample of a new lunch meat at the counter and really wanted to order some. Thankfully, the man asked me how many slices I wanted. Now, slices are something I understand! I ordered 15 slices and felt accomplished. That gave me the confidence 2 days later to order ground beef from the counter. I wasn't sure how much I needed, so I asked her, "Can I see how much 250 g is?" And that was a good way for me to judge if the amount was right for my chili recipe.
Even after two years, I am still experiencing small little victories like this. They remind me how far we've come but also how far we still have to go. We are always learning and with God's grace, we hope to keep a learner's attitude the whole way through.
[Side Note: sorry for the slow down in our blog posting lately! Life has been chugging along and keeping us busy. We will try to post more often in the weeks to come!]
Photo credit: Seemann from morguefile.com