Lost American meets amateur homemaker

I was in a funk last week…but only on Tuesday. 😉

The moving dust has begun to settle upon our no-longer-needed-suitcases and as exciting as this journey is, some of the realities can be absolutely, certifiably terrifying!!

To top it off, the days continue to get shorter here. The sun has been in hiding (said no one in Colorado ever) and it’s going to stay cooold for months. (Ummm, hi, humidity: Numbers in weather forecasts are colder than they appear.)

Then, navigating many new grocery markets and food options while still being green to the German language? Well, these were all catalysts to my bah humbugging.

I’m prepared for these off days, and I know there will be more. But I find comfort in knowing that no matter how UNcomfy things may be, this tension is exactly what I need. Without off days, we wouldn’t know how to recognize the truly incredible ones, right?

So, this funk. This was not only the kind of foreign grub funk that comes with moving to an entirely different country, but also the realization that I have MASSIVE room to grow in the cooking + homemaking department.

For this girl, it’s a double whammy out there in German grocery world. Newly implanted American expat meets amateur homemaker? GASP!

Grocery aisles are a painful place to be right now. (Certain home chores are painful, too. The first time I had to do laundry, I just…I just stared…at the foreign words…that even Google Translate couldn’t figure out. Then, I stared even longer when. it. wouldn’t. start. washing. Lo and behold, thanks to calling our landlord for the umpteenth time to come detect what the heck was going on…the water hose was turned off. )

All weaknesses aside…

If there’s one thing I’m a professional at, it’s not being afraid to approach just about anyone and hit them with a question…or five. I’m not afraid to ask for help, advice or (I know my husband and all male creatures can appreciate this next one when Siri’s not delivering…) directions.

I put out some recipe feelers via Facebook Messenger to some of the incredible women I’ve met here, and one particular link from Nicole (a hilarious local mom with her own translation business – who I met whilst chatting around in the Girl Gone International FB group) stood out. It’s the delicious Bavarian Lentil Soup you see pictured above.

‘Twas was love at first click from the moment I landed into The Wanderlust Kitchen, an entertaining food blog chock-full of internationally inspired recipes that aren’t too intimidating. (Anetta and Nicole, you are my sheroes!)

Even though I was starting to feel quite familiar with our neighborhood EDEKA (a total godsend to all my grocery shopping prayers), I knew it would take FOR-EV-ER to find things like leeks and brown lentils in Germany…let alone 4 oz. of bacon. Yeah. You can’t just walk up and ask for a pound of turkey out here. It’s all very different.

SO, what does a “professional asker” do on a day that she needs a partner in crime at the grocery store? She asks not one, but two (Thank you, Nicole + Heather!!) great ladies to accompany her on two different trips to the store. (Yes, this is what life has turned into, but as another great woman advised, I need to be kind to myself and celebrate experiences such as NAVIGATING THE GROCERY STORE.) Celebrating, I have. I may or may not have bought a bottle of champagne the day I found EDEKA. It’s been difficult.

Let me cut to the chase, y’all.

It’s all fun and games and part of the moving experience navigating these places solo, but it’s also super fun to have others helping you along the way. (Nicole and I were laughing so hard in the check-out line that some guy leaned over and said, “THIS IS NO PLACE FOR LAUGHING!” followed by his own burst of laughter…)

Thanks to these great ladies, I was equipped with the exact ingredients and confidence I needed to make a dinner that put oven-baked chicken, Uncle Ben’s rice and stove-steamed veggies in time out. (That’s what my other half and I have been turning to.)

All I wanted was to cook a meal that matched the same seductive smells that come from the flat below us, and when my hubby busted through the door saying he LOVED coming home to that smell, my job was done. And the soup was incredible, too. Win-win. Bada bing, bada boom.

Then, because I couldn’t get enough, I threw some old-fashioned, oven-baked, candied pecans into the oven for an expat potluck the next day.

IMG_1872

No, you can’t scratch ‘n’ sniff, but you can use your mouth-watering imagination. And for all you fellow rookies out there, this recipe is so dang easy and oh-so-loved.

WHAT ARE THE LESSONS HERE? 

1. Bavarian Lentil Soup is EFFING DELICIOUS.

2. Anetta is amazing.

3. Women are incredible, helpful, nurturing creatures, no matter which country they reside in.

4. Asking for help is half the battle in life. Don’t hesitate. Ever. Going out on a limb is so scary, but it so pays off.

I can’t WAIT to continue navigating the corners of this thing called a kitchen, the ingredients in those German grocery markets and all that comes with all things hosting! Eeeee!

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