Almost all big apartment buildings here in Astana have a little convenience store in them. My exact building does not, but our sister building does, which is roughly one minute from my door to their door. Tonight, with the look and smell of rain in the air, I didn't want to head to the big grocery store for the few items I needed to hold me over, so I took advantage of our mini-mart, like I usually do. They have a great selection and are very nice to me, now that they know me. The best part of shopping there?....they will help me with my shopping! At first, it annoyed the piss out of me that they followed me around. It seems like they do not trust you and think you are going to steal the store. I've come to realize, they just want to make sure you are taken care of.
For example, when I go and stand in front of the wine, a certain woman always comes and helps me pick out something new to try that she recommends. So far, she's suggested great wines! Tonight, I was looking around an area I usually do not (baby products), and the man came over quickly to assist. I eventually saw the baby wipes I was looking for, but was also on the hunt for a lint roller. Of course, I have NO idea how to say that in Russian, so I pointed to my hair, said cat in Russian, and motioned rolling down my arm and shirt. He got it and looked, but that is the one thing they didn't have. No biggie. Another day with cat hair on me isn't the end of the world. I got everything else I needed though. I even bought lunch from their deli for tomorrow. The man even told me which ones had meat and which ones didn't, so I was well informed. :) As I was paying, he started packing the bag, which was draped across my shoulder! Hahaha. I thought I'd never get used to the pushiness of them at this little store, but now, it feels normal. I'm not sure what I'll do when I go shopping and nobody gives me any attention!!