There’s a specific flow to the ordering of fast food, and it’s slightly different for different restaurants. I’ve lost those patterns.
Some background: I’m an American who lived in the US until I was 24; now I’ve been in Lithuania for the past 6 years. Especially when I was a student, I ate a fair bit of fast food. Road trips were opportunities to try new fast food chains and go to old favorites.
I was flying back to Lithuania last summer, and ended up at the airport really early for my flight – like 6 hours early. (Amtrak scheduling!) So, I had time to wander the terminal, look at my food options. For my first meal, I decided to go to Wendy’s.
I used to have a pattern at Wendy’s – either a #1 classic burger with fries and a small Dr. Pepper; or 2-3 Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers, a medium fry, and some water.
When I got to the ordering counter, though, enough had changed at Wendy’s and I hadn’t ordered fast food for a few years. It was extremely difficult for me to order. The cashier was mostly amused, thankfully, and was willing to ask all of the follow-up questions that were needed. “Do you want cheese on that?”, “Do you want the combo, or just the sandwich?”, “What size fries and drink do you want with that?”, etc
I ended up with mostly what I wanted, eventually.
Going through this gave me a lot of empathy for folks who come visit us in Europe. We’ve done a lot of traveling over the past six years, and it’s not a big deal (anymore!) to get directions in a strange city; or to grocery shop in a foreign language, or navigate an unfamiliar city’s public transit. For our past few guests, I’ve laughed at their hesitance or inability to work through groceries, transport, or directions in a foreign city. It seemed so simple to me. However, now that I’m losing those abilities in the US, where I grew up, I have a lot more compassion.
In conclusion, come visit! See unusual patterns and struggle with communicating! I’ll try my best to have compassion for you, outside of your normal environment.