Who knew breakfast could be so entertaining? I wandered into a German cafe in Nuremberg, which was at first a little difficult; I speak VERY little German and I could hear the alluring call of all the surrounding, and very familiar, American restaurants (Pizza Hut, Burger King, and Fourbucks Coffee.)
But I was determined, for once in my stay here, to have at least ONE semi-traditional German breakfast (or Frühstück in German. You learn something new everyday.) even though I saw what I wanted, even though I understood about 75% of what the menu said, I was still somewhat unprepared for what happened next.
I placed my order, all in German (I’m so proud of me.) Soon after I ordered she did the one thing that many tourists ignorant of the language absolutely fear; she asked a question… In German… As if I was going to actually (gasp) understand her. But this time, I actually DID! She asked if I wanted bacon or ham in German and I understood her! And replied back in German! Woohoo! I successfully passed myself off as a local…or so I thought. Then the German question onslaught followed.
What kind of bread do you want?
Which kind of jelly?
Do you want coffee?
Which kind of coffee?
(Did I tell you the coffee costs extra? I didn’t? Oops, my bad.)
This poor woman was saying all this stuff while physically pointing and showing me what the hell she was talking about. I was 2 years old all over again. I could tell by the odd communication that she thought I was not a tourist, but a local with a serious yet oddly adorable mental deficiency.
We finally finished the ordering ordeal and I paid for my yummy breakfast I clumsily ordered, and I walk to my table expecting my dining experience to be a somewhat quiet one. My delusions of mental peace was suddenly shattered when 2 middle-aged women started talking to me in German…very fast I might add.
Throughout the onslaught of words I did not understand I managed to pick up a word that sounded familiar: pepper. I’m thinking they need some pepper. I understood! Woohoo…until I tried to hand the pepper to the ladies. It turns out they were wondering why I wasn’t adding pepper to my ham & eggs. What else could I do except be a typical, confused American, asking “When did breakfast become so damn confusing?” The whole time the ladies and I were busting up laughing at how absolutely confused I was. I didn’t care; I was happy I could be the free entertainment. I even told them that at the end.
These little exchanges reminded me of a few important things. For starters, sometimes being a confused foreigner can be incredibly fun if you allow yourself to look silly for the sake of entertainment. Even a simple conversation that normally has absolutely no apparent importance can supply you with hilarious memories, even if you may be the only one who can see or appreciate the humor of that moment.
It also taught me to keep my eyes open in the here and now. There’s so much beauty and wisdom all around us if we simply find the time to slow down and pay attention with all of our senses to only what is happening right here, right now at this very moment. There is so much in this world that we take for granted; we pass by these visions and events of pure wonder and dismiss them without a second thought. How much more beautiful would this world really be when we decide to stop being so much in our heads, being focused from the outside in, and begin to really see and recognize the miracles that we pass by every, focusing from the inside out.
It’s amazing how the simplest of life’s experiences can show us so much, but only when we allow ourselves to listen to and see what the messages in these experiences really are. Sometimes it may be necessary to forget ourselves and lose ourselves in the moment to see what is really right in front of us. We may not be able to choose what experiences we may have, but it absolutely IS our responsibility to choose what we take from these experiences whether they be obvious blessings or blessings disguised as complete catastrophes. When we allow ourselves to STOP…and really pay attention to the world around us without the chatter going on between our ears, that is when true clarity occurs. That is when we can see the world, each other, and ourselves as the miracles they really are.
I know it’s a far stretch to take all this from a confused cafe experience, but more wondrous things started from stranger places. They also started as an idea, regardless of where the idea actually came from. Most importantly, it a start in the right direction, and a simple idea that many people, myself included, need a daily reminder of. It may be a while until this becomes mainstream belief, but until then it’s vital that we understand that it all starts as a belief within ourselves. When we focus on beauty is when we really start to see it in front of us. Let’s make sure we see it in ourselves. From there it’s only a matter of time before what appear to be miracles appear before us on a regular basis; from there we will truly begin to see, and begin to say “What a wonderful world.”