One thing I have noticed about living abroad is that small negative experiences affect you far more than they would at home. The first night I was here in Saint Petersburg, one such experience happened. I went to the grocery store next to my apartment to stock my pantry. Everything went well and my Russian was far more functional than I expected it to be. However, when I went to check out, the experience got much worse. In Russia, plastic bags are not free and you have to buy bags to use when buying groceries. This is the same in France and Spain, so I did not expect to have any problems. I picked up the bags I wanted and placed them with my groceries, exchanged niceties with the woman scanning my groceries, and waited. When she got to the bags, she said something in rapid-fire Russian that I did not quite understand. I understood enough to know that there was some sort of problem with the bags, so I got more and placed them on the counter. This did not solve the problem, and she raised her voice angrily and said something about the bags I yet again did not understand. I asked her to repeat herself a bit more slowly and she made a snide comment about stupid foreigners not understanding Russian. Luckily, at this point, one of the store’s security guards had noticed the cashier’s anger and come over to help. I asked her what the problem was and she explained, in slow Russian that I could understand, that I was not allowed to purchase the large plastic bags, as the cashier did not think I had enough groceries to warrant buying 2 large ones. Instead, she explained, I should buy 4 small bags. I was baffled that the cashier would have gotten that upset over something so small, and by the apologetic manner of the security guard, she was also confused by the clerk’s anger. After this experience, it took me a week to go back to that grocery store. Every time since has gone perfectly well, but that first negative interaction really affected me.