Jul 1, 2009

Week 7: tired with a house guest

(who I love and is super sweet, but the timing is BAD)

This week is kicking my butt. :) I am very tired, although I think I'm tired because I feel pretty nauseous. Not throwing up or anything (hopefully I won't), but just very blah all the time. It's not making me want to eat. Actually - I really want to eat a chicken salad or tuna salad sandwich, but apparently I should stay away from mayo because it has raw eggs. :( Maybe I can make a chicken salad sandwich tonight with sour cream :) That works.

The other bad thing is that my HS friend is here (for about a week - she leaves tomorrow!) and while I'm glad she is here, there are 2 things:
1. Apparently, what I do is not 'work' and she thinks I can just take of time for her.
2. I am pregnant and not feeling 100% which I can't really explain because I'm not saying anything yet

I probably could tell her, but she is one of those people that would probably be all "oh, how sweet" and blah, blah, blah - there just isn't that much to talk about at 7 weeks and I don't want to go through the whole girly stuff because that's not me! Yes, I can obsess in my own way - but I don't go freak-out and girly like that. In fact, F and I have a basic no 'cutie' stuff for the baby :) Babies are cute - we just aren't really going for the pastels and stuff. Primary colors work better :)

So, I go to work and my friend goes around DC doing the tourist thing during the day. Then we come home, eat and relax. Thankfully, she does seem tired from all of the walking and tourist things so I don't have to entertain much.

It's funny though - she has been living in the Middle East/Gulf for about a year now - she is working at the ---------- ------------- School in elementary ed (I think part of the reason why she thinks my office job is easier than hers.... ha!! Her day is shorter and seriously is less stressful -- I deal with kids going through MAJOR changes in life and, as an administrative in this whole global
endeavors, makes them feel like I'm responsible for their entire time abroad, housing, flights, etc, etc. :0 It's not bad - I love my field, but I swear, students are getting stupider and stupider and more dependent on 'adults.' Which, I have to break the news for them that when they go abroad they ARE 'adults' and are VERY MUCH expected to act like it) Anyways, I don't think my job is more draining than hers, but it's very annoying as people think most of my job is traveling and fun and IT IS ACTUALLY WORK!! Like any other job. Except I do admin stuff, marketing, teaching, supervising, accounting... all rolled into one! (which makes it fun, but it's not just doing nothing! shesh)

Anyways - I was getting too... She has been living in the MidEast for about 9 months. The thing about living abroad, particularly in many parts of Africa, Asia, Latin American and the Middle East, is that you don't really live IN the culture, but live within compounds or at least only meet up with other expats. This happens VERY often in the Gulf like Saudi, UAE, Qatar where you have cities with such large (40-80%) communities of
expats and/or you live/work in compounds with only those people like where you are from. It can make for a rather odd experience because most of the time it now becomes 150 times harder for you to get into the local culture. Plus, go to someplace like the Gulf and you have to also come to grips that the Gulf is pretty 'new' and so your not going to find many old buildings and stuff because that's not how everyone really lived and most of the past 50 years has been spent building fantastic new buildings. AND, in the ME, most the culture is so that you don't really get 'into' the culture unless you know a family who is already there. It's a protective family thing. But, that makes it extra hard for visiting workers as well. Which leaves them with a culture that is working abroad, but really with other expats and, as people not having to pay much taxes and having their housing and other things covered by their employer... they have lots of cash. Which equals = eat out a alot and drink a lot. I get a bit frustrated about this, but - from the reasons above - I know why it happens and it's hard to overcome. (however, I do think if people tried to learn the local language, no matter if you don't need it!, it would help)

So, she is living in the ME and shops there and eats out and is getting a bit of the local stuff. (don't get me wrong from above :)) The funny thing is that
restaurant food is different from home cooking ME food. And, at my house, we do the home cooking :) Which means, the meals are rice based. As a born and raised American - this is not a rice eating society. We are much more pasta-based. Which means that when you start in with a ME family, you are eating a bunch of rice. Which, can leave you feeling unfulfilled at dinner. So, I can tell that my friend is at that point, but I'm not offering any help. Which, is kinda' bad, but we don't really have anything else. The meal is made with rice and I can't really put pasta in there. Plus, the meal is more veggies and a bit of chicken which is also different. She is used to the ME eating out which is lots of snacks and stuff. Plus, the hummos and stuff is side things that don't mean much to the meal. So, that is a change, but oh well. I wish I could make some of the more fun meals like dumplings and stuff, but I'm not sure if she would like that either since the flavors are different from American food.

And she keeps saying that she doesn't like spicy because she would like to taste the food and not have her
tongue burnt... F is holding his tongue and not saying anything to me, but I know he is thinking that her food HAS NO flavor and so the spices are there to help :) I tried to get that to my friend - the idea of do to other what you want done to you is tricky across cultures because some things like you like is NOT considered good in other cultures :) There are fewer universal behaviors than people think (and at the same side, more).

So, that is my daily posting - lots of fun with my friend and I still want to see her in the ME to see what they are all doing with their free time :)