Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

My friendly neighborhood grocery store

Yesterday when I did the grocery shopping at the neighborhood store, I was reminded of how an entire community is witnessing Sterling's growing up years (months, so far). I almost always have him with me when I go to that store. At first, he was in the wrap, tucked against me and usually asleep. Then he was forward-facing in the Bjorn, grasping for his own hold on the shopping cart handle. Yesterday, for the first time, he sat in the cart's little child seat, padded by a blanket to hold him up, since he can't quite manage it himself.

It didn't occur to me that so many of the store employees would notice Sterling's graduation to the cart child seat, but wow, he was greeted with smiles in every department. The produce guys couldn't get enough of him and gave him plenty of grins and coos and hand-holds. I wonder if they are happy to finally see this child out of his mother's arms, where his chubby cheeks are more accessible for pinches (yes, they still do that here).

The best part is, these witnesses of Sterling's babyhood are so accommodating. Shopping with a baby strapped to you (or perched precariously in the child seat) is really difficult, especially since shopping carts in this country have four pivoting wheels instead of two, like I remember in America (right?). It takes all of your core strength to push and turn that thing, which is hard when a lot of your core strength is busy supporting the weight of the baby strapped to you. At this neighborhood store, however, the employees rush to assist me. They unload the produce from my cart, weigh it for me, and put it back in. They move obstacles out of my way or clear an aisle for me. When it comes time to check out, they come unload my cart for me and then bag the items for me. More than anything, more than proximity or good prices or the manageable size of this particular store, it is the employee service that makes me want to commit to shopping there and only there.

And I appreciate their smiles for Sterling, too!

First conference presentation

Global Day 2014 @ AUS