Friday, January 15, 2010

Grocery Shopping in the winter

On a very cold Monday morning, I started to realize that when we first arrived in Zurich, I wrote a few posts about what our ex-pat life was like, then transitioned into the trips we were taking.  While the trips are still fun, our daily life is still proving to challenge me during most outings.  And when I've been able to talk to friends back home, the question is generally, 'So what is your life like?'  Our life, like any other stay-at-home mom of a toddler, is very busy. Here's a run down of our morning trip to the grocery store with no car, and it's 17 degrees outside with possibility of snow:

I opted to take the stroller to the store today, and told Ella she could ride in the cart when we got to the store. The drama thus unfolds as we're trying to get out the door.
Major tantrum before putting on a hat, gloves, coat, jacket, etc. She wants to to do it all herself (as any two year old would) Great, we probably won't leave for another two hours. (with that said, she's usually great about putting on all her winter gear, so I take the tantrums in stride)
I'm able to convince her that she can help me put on all our layers if we can get the stroller to the top of the stairs first. Tantrum while putting on gloves, have to go back to our house to 'cool down'
5 min later - we make it to the stroller and out the door.

Brr, it's freaking cold

Ella takes her gloves off

While heading down the hill, on the sidewalk, we encounter a typical swiss parking job. Here, people park on the sidewalks. I'm learning that parking spots are really useless. If you want to park close to your street, why not just pull up on the sidewalk and park there. Today, a rental van was parked in front of us, and the guys using the van were on the sidewalk with all the car doors open, just dawdling through their task. They glance over, see that I have a kid in a stroller and am waiting patiently to pass through their obstruction, and then they go back to work. Leaving me to go into the street full of traffic to get around the van. I immediately recognized that I'm way too polite, and I should have taken the Swiss mentality to walk right up to them, nearly run into them and demand they move out of my way.

Next time.

We make it to the store, park the stroller, get Ella ready to get in the cart, take off her layers. Shoot, I only have two fifty cent rappen, no 1 franc pieces to pay for my cart. (yes, take note you have to put a coin in the cart in order to use it. It's returned to you when you return the cart.) Go through the line, ask a grumpy cashier to help me make change, get a cart.

Park Ella near the produce, I get produce, she thinks the baked good near her belong in our cart. Thanks E.

Today, we make it through the store without getting hit or run over by a local driving through the store with their shopping bag on wheels. I call that a successful trip. We also got through the line without old ladies cutting in front of us. Again, another success for us. Maybe I am getting more pushy after all.

Ok, now for the packing of our groceries. All the heavy stuff into the backpack. Light stuff into the bottom of the stroller.
Get Ella back in her winter gear. No tantrum this time - yes, another point for me!
Ella's in the stroller, backpack on, up the hill.
(Side note: Ella weighs more than 30 pounds, plus the weight of the stroller, and extra groceries in the bottom. Backpack weighs at least 35 pounds. Yes, today I think I'm tough for getting all of this back up the hill)

Hooray, we're at the top. Now I politely wait for my turn to cross the street (as to not offend any more Swiss because they ALWAYS wait for their walk signal to cross. No jaywalking here.) I get everything up the driveway, down the ramp, up two stairs into our apt. Now, in the entryway, Ella comes out, takes off all winter gear, goes down the stairs to our house. I, while wearing the backpack, pick up the stroller, and muscle everything down to our apt. Whew. Groceries are done.


  1. I want to comment, "what an adventure" but probably shouldn't considering it's not an's a morning in the life! Thanks for the slice :)

  2. Wow. And I thought my Migros Moments were bad. I can't imagine dealing with it all with the addition of a 2-year-old. You deserve a medal!

  3. Thanks Chantal! I thought it was bad when we moved here a few months ago, now it doesn't phase me at all! Funny how quickly you can adapt to expat life