When our Friday brunch turned into a 12+ hour day, we ended up back at our villa, singing along to songs from the early aughts (doesn’t everyone do this?). As one song led to another, we ended up on Saves the Day’s Freakish, a song I vividly remembered the lyrics to. As though it were yesterday (and not 2002 when this was on heavy rotation), I instantly recalled the exact moment this song represented in my life. New to town, Hubs and I driving around Los Angeles…when Trader Joe’s was expensive, when we lived in Northridge, when we didn’t have a clue, that we had no idea in a few short years we would move overseas… We were just two engaged kids trying to figure out who they were post college.
Where do songs go when they are lost to us? How do we get them back? What was your song?
While living in two very developing countries, the sound of construction has been nearly omnipresent. Naturally, our choice to live on one of the busiest roads in the region (Sheikh Zayed) and next to an active building site (which seems to be churning nearly around the clock) could be managed better, but the reality is that nearly any place one moves in this region they will face nearly constant sound pollution. Currently, Tower 23b of the Pearl (ne 14) is trying my patience on an hourly basis.
We have a very generous terrace (only useful 4-6 months of the year because of the heat) but even with it’s fantastic view, it’s difficult to relax when you have to shout over the noise to be heard.
Furthermore, while I’m not working on the site and cannot fully appreciate what the staff are going through, the prompt start at 7AM and day ending at 8 or 9PM, usually later (!), is crazy frustrating.
As I’m already more sensitive to sound than most (thanks 4S / misophonia), the constant banging, hammering, etc. is enough to do my head in.
I look forward to living in a place where car horns, guys shouting, and general construction noises are at least broken for more than 10 hours at a time.
Find the original picture here. Holy shit I actually credited something.
I miss mail.
It’s been over five years since I last had a mailbox. With no postal delivery system in either the Emirates or Qatar, almost all ex-pat mail is delivered via your employer. I realize there’s a lot of junk mail, political type stuff and magazines from which I will never order, but there’s something strangely soothing about coming home at the end of the day and checking the mail box even if it’s probably putting a strain on the environment. Furthermore, the US postal service might not even exist by the time I get back and that fact is even more depressing.
I come by my love of mail quite honestly – my paternal grandmother was a wonderful pen friend. No matter where I was in the world, she would always write me – birthday cards, holiday cards, letters about the family. I was always happy to return the favor. From about the age of 20, wherever I traveled to, I always sent her a post card. She passed away earlier this year and, after visiting the amazing postal office in Macau, I was a bit sad not to send her something. Trying to share my love of mail with the next generation, I send postcards to nieces and nephews – hoping to not only let them know what a great many places there are to visit in the world, but also to encourage them to write me back (hasn’t happened yet – but I’m hopeful one day it will).
Today’s missing item is a selection of radio stations. In Qatar, there is one dedicated English radio channel. It is terrible. How terrible? I’m not sure what is more irritating, the lack of any sort of regular playlist or the college level DJs whose banter and conversation is so bad it’s funny. The frustrating fact is that crappy radio is not limited to the GCC – in fact, I regularly dial back into Dubai 92 (a station I listened to while living in the Emirates). Yes, we live in an age where you can listen to music or podcasts or books on your smartphone, but once in awhile it’s nice to connect to a personality who can tell you what’s going on in the world or where the traffic is. I understand that Qatar is a very (very, very, very) small market – but does that justify an embarrassingly bad radio station?
Oh look – a non-writing related post. Didn’t I say that I was going to do that eventually?
In my 6th year as an ex-pat, it occurs to me that I miss a great many things about home (‘home’ in this case being either Atlanta or Los Angeles in the good ole’ US of A). For the most part, the advantages of living abroad far outweigh the negatives. Still, now and then I do get a bit melancholy for certain things from home.
Today, the thing I miss most is…coupons!
For the years leading up to our move, I was approaching the highest levels of couponery. I regularly saved $50 – $100 (and one time even more than 100% of the total bill) for our food shopping. I saved $10 or more for cat food (thanks, sister in vet school!). I saved on alcohol, restaurants and travel. I clipped and cut and had a whole system of filing. Call me silly, but it was a free hobby to save money – not many things in our lives have this ability. Furthermore, as I was not (and still do not) earn as much as my husband, cutting coupons was a small way I could add to our overall household finances that I took pride in.
Moving to the Middle East, even the concept of saving money is a bit of an abstract one. While the Entertainer coupon book has brought some good times, items like Groupon, newspaper inserts, straight up bartering, etc. are rare or when found, usually not worth it. Additionally, as we’ve moved up the tax brackets, it’s not as necessary now as it was in our twenties. However, although it’s probably going to be a couple of years, I really look forward to getting my coupon again.