Keeping me humble

Writing this blog has made me cocky.

“Oh, look at me, Annie the Expat. I’ve been here 5 years. I know how to do everything. Aren’t I so on top of things? I know exactly where to find the alternative brand of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers and how much to tip in various situations. Aren’t I clever?”

Well, let me tell you, I still get thrown for a loop sometimes. This time, it was an 4 hour hunt through the mall looking for ribbon, of all things, that set me off into a frustration-cycle. It had to be a specific kind of ribbon. One that I would have easily found in any craft store in my home country, in an aisle that is entirely devoted to ribbon. But that is not an option here.  There are places that sell ribbon all over, but the selection is small and samey, and none of those places had the specific kind of ribbon I needed. I found an option that might work, but it wasn’t ideal. So, I went to check in one last store. That didn’t pan out, so I went back to pick up the less-than-ideal option, only to find that that store had closed early for the day due to a tropical storm we were experiencing.

(By the way, stores that are only staffed by a few people will often not open at all, or close early if there is a large storm. You should plan accordingly when trying to shop during a storm. Your home may be high and dry, but there are likely going to be people in your area dealing with flooding, so don’t get too worked up about closings when there are storms. Their staff is dealing with much more important issues that my need for a ribbon alternative.)

CLEARLY, the only option left for me to find the proper style of ribbon was going to be to give up a day to travel to Divisoria in the city and scour through booth after booth looking for it. I didn’t have a free day, and I need this ribbon for a project that needs to be done asap.

I was very grumpy about this.

I was very grumpy about this.

A local friend, who could sense my seething grumpiness from a quarter mile away, sent me a message asking if she could help. I told her what was going on, and she told me precisely where to go to get the type of ribbon I needed for the project. It’s not in Divisoria. It’s in a mall in our town that I’ve only been to once before, so I don’t know it that well.

Once again, I was reminded of several things:

1. You can find the things you need here. You just have to know where to look.
2. It really, really, really is a good thing to reach out and make friends with the local folks around you. Don’t limit your social circle to other expats. You will miss out on both the lovely friendships you could have formed and a marvelous resource to help smooth out your rough patches.
3. Little things really can be incredibly frustrating, and I need to maintain compassion for my fellow expats who are in the thick of adjusting and feeling this frustration on a fairly regular basis.
4, I still have plenty to learn about this new home of mine, and need to maintain some humility in the face of my ignorance.


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