Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving y'all!

Today, as any decent American would know was Thanksgiving. For most it means driving miles to see your family and friends for the weekend, gorging yourself on tryptophan and cranberries, giving thanks to the Indians for being awesome enough to willingly give up their land, and waking up to leftovers that make bomb sandwiches. But to those abroad, like me, it only means Thursday. Instead of turkey, I ate fish. Instead of potatoes, I had pasta. Instead of eating at the dinner table with my family, I sat at the coffee table with my Romania roommate Anna. I was okay with all of this too. First of all, I am not that into Thanksgiving as is. I like my family, I like my friends, I am okay with some of the food, but I would rather have sushi or thai. Second, my family has had non-conventional Thanksgivings MANY times. Either my dad's away, or Shasha's away, or I'm away. We have not had a "normal" Thanksgiving for at least 4 years now. Third, I really don't like the idea/feeling of overeating. I'm sorry, it hurts, and it is not a good hurt like first love or a bikini wax; it is an uncomfortable, bloated, cramping pain that can only be subsided by sleep or pulling the trigger, neither of which are good for you.

So here I am, in the Middle East, on a Thursday, thousands of miles away from home, reading about my friends' complaints of holiday traffic and their plans to see their family, with a belly pleasantly full from dill fish and pasta, with Native Americans and pilgrims in a dim corner of my mind, and actually, I am thankful (ahaa).

Here, in no specific order, is a comprehensive list of things I am thankful for:

Technology! With out it, I would not be able to talk to my parents or email my friends or even update this retarded blog!

This opportunity to be here in the Middle East! It's cool that I can just trollop around with little kids, travel, and get paid!

My family! For the love, support, and awesomeness!

My friends from home! Ashley Judd's mom and uglier sister once said, I mean sang, love will build a bridge, between your heart and mine. Yeah that's how I feel.

My friends from school! They were my 4 years and I miss (some of) them (most) everyday.

Crumbothy Danger! Although I wish he was here with me sleeping in my bed, waking me up at night with his snoring and adjustments, I am thankful that he is hanging out with my parents and taking care of them.

Baby Christian! Even though right now he is worthless and a baby, I am thankful for his radness, his health, and for making my sister a mom.

America! Still the best place on earf.

God! He is good!

To those who didn't make the list, sorry; for those who did, be thankful.

Hope all of you had a good Thanksgiving. And remember, don't call it Turkey Day, because it's lame, and you sound retarded.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Terrorists can't stop this!

The good news is I booked a trip to India for Dec. 3 - Dec. 12 to see some amazing stuff about a month ago, the bad news is I'm still going.

Today there was a major terrorist attack in Mumbai, and despite what the US and parents advise, I am not not going.
1) I bought non-refundable/changeable tickets from Air Arabia.
2) I was put through hell and back to get mine and my 2 friends' stupid visas. The Indian Embassy is only open 9-12, Sun-Thursdays (when I work), so I had to grovel for time off so I could leave my house at 7 am by taxi to drive to Abu Dhabi to get to the Indian Embassy at 9 when it opened, only to be told that our visa requests were denied. Then I had to throw a fake girly temper tantrum so they would feel forced to make the white bitch stop crying by giving her her way. Then I had to wait 2 hours in order to give my stupid visa applications again in person, and not by DHL like we initially were told was possible, to a retarded/patientless consolate man AND I had to pay extra because I am America, while my British friend traveling with me, got a 75 dirham discount! Please.

So of course I am going. If not for the sheer point of it all!

Plus I love the movie The Fall. You should see it. It is life changing. Well I mean the little girl is adorable and has the most charming Romanian accent (just like my roommate)! The cinematograpy is awesome. And Lee Pace is bangin'! Other than that, the plot is just decent, well for me it was great, but I could see how some would not consider it life changing.

Things I'm going to see on my trip to India:

The Taj Majal in Agra.
We are flying into Delhi at night, staying overnight, then leaving for Agra after lunch in Delhi.
Rothanmbore National Park Safari.
Most likely we will not see tigers, but here's to hoping!

Jodhpur, The Blue City.
See The Fall and you will think it is fake. I'll be honest, I thought it was a movie set until I found out we were going there.

The Pink City.

The Lake Palace.
It's a palace on a lake. Why the crapy wouldn't we go to see it! Also, it is known as the "most romantic" place in all of India. Hey boys.

The Jaipur Observatory.
It's not a real observatory, which is lame, but it is a series of staircases that act as giant sundials, which is awesome!The Amber Fortress.

The Gateway to India, Mumbai.
Although there was just a massive attack on namely British and American tourists in Mumbai, we are hoping to still make it to this giant, smelly, dangerous city. Seriously though, NYC was super safe right after Sept. 11, and so was London after their bombings on the Underground. Security should be on its A game when we are there in 2 weeks. And if it isn't, we will leave.

Things I'm going to avoid in India:

Dirty Terrorists.

Dirty Water.

Dirty Diarrhea.

Please though family and friends. Do not worry about me. Life is such an adventure. I am not going to die. I've got way to many things to do on My List of Things to Do Before I Die list.

Not but really, I will be very careful and let everyone know I am safe, when I am safe.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Taken right outside my apartment on my way to work:

Um, Arroyo Grande called! They want their chickens back.

Other versions for this same joke include:
Who does Ruwais think it is?! Arroyo Grande?!
The Ruwais Housing Compound. More like The Arroyo Grande Village!

Also I'm positive that there's a bad joke there about a chicken crossing the road or something, but I can't be bothered right now to think of it, plus my kids used up all my funny at school.

Allah must be telling me somthing.

At the market the other day, I stumbled over this gem. Look at that potato! Apparently you can find love in the UAE!

You can censor the TV, you can even censor the internet, but you can't censor the produce!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

a little bit of this and a little bit of that

It’s official, I live in the Middle East. I finally made it here after I got to spend my entire planned trip in Germany. I didn’t even have to leave early, which is kinda what I thought what was going to happen.

Germany was fun. I was really glad that I got to experience it, or whatever. But really, it isn’t that cool, sorry Germans. It’s like, cool you have beer and weiners, but any respectable bar can offer me the same thing, hey yoh. We went to an oktoberfest though, not the big one in Munich or whatever, but a satellite one in Manheim. It was fun, I guess. I mean, it is honestly a glorified Mid State Fair. It may not have as many vert shirts or monster truck racing, but it is definitely tied in the mullet department. It does have more booze, which is always nice, but there are a shitton of people, and way too many rides and kids. This is a booze fest, not a play ground people. Leave the stroller at home, yes, I’m talking to you baby Christian. Don't get me wrong though, I love rides as much as the next thrill seeking American, but how many gravitron thingys can you have in a small open area? I'll tell you what the Germans think: 3. At least they had cotton candy. Only 1 Euro y'all for some spun sugar! Look at me, I couldn't be any happier, and my eyes couldn't be any squintier. This pic is me at Volksfest, which means peoples festival in Geman or something. Ew.

But, all in all, the trip was pretty. Germany, like I said, is very colorful. More importantly, Christian is bad ass. He makes funny faces, rips ass with the likes of Crimeballs, speaks a language only I and the keenest of linguistic majors can understand, and comfortably fits into any mid-size purse. I can’t wait to see him in December for Xmas. Hopefully by then we will be able to gossip more and he will be pooping solid dungs rather than piles of shit.

So yeah, the Middle East, United Arab Emirates, Ruwais… What can I say? I’m relieved to be here, doing something quasi important with my life. I mean, I am working towards an endgame, and shaping baby minds. Ruwais is NOTHING like I expected. In some ways it is better. I imagined a dirty oil refinery town, but instead I got a boozeless Isla Vista. Seriously though, it is a housing compound where everyone that lives there has a purpose, like they work for ADNOC (Abu Dhabi National Oil Company… ?) or they work for people that work for ADNOC, like in the service industry, or like me working as a teacher. And when I say compound, I mean it. It is weirdly like a low security prison/army base. All the apartments are the same, generally big, mine is huge, and has an extra bedroom (for anyone looking to visit!! ;) ), and everything is within walking distance. There are 3 tiny grocery stores here, where if you can’t find something there, say tomatoes, they say “you come back tomorrow” and I do, and they’re there.

It is hot here, though it is cooling down. Generally, I do not ever need more than a cardigan in the morning and night, though I wear one at school to be modest, and if you walk anywhere during the day you will sweat. I mean YOU will sweat, I will glisten. Everyday is sunny, sometimes there is a sandstorm, which just looks incredibly hazy, like thick-can’t-see-through hazy. I want some rain though. It is freaking almost Thanksgiving, more importantly Christmas, and it is 85-90 degrees everyday. But what are you going to do. These camel farmers don’t even know what Christmas is. Sorry, that was racist, I take it back.

The food is not one way or another. Some stuff is really hard to come by, like things you are used to in the states, and the stores are never consistant in what they carry. One day you will want a diet Pepsi, and all they have is 7up, another day, you will want a 7up, and all they will have is Fanta. Even things you would think would be in a grocery store all the time, like bananas are sometimes/a lot of the time sold out. There are a few fast food places, all called something different, like Ruwais Gardens or Al Jizzin (I shit you not), but they all have the same menu. Fortunately, they have bangin’ lemonade, so I am quite thankful. Also, every place, including grocery stores delivers, and at most hours of the day and night, minus when the sun is the hottest.

If you have a service that you want done, you can find someone here to do it. Need your car washed 3 times a week, done. Need a pack of smokes delivered to you at 11:45 at night, done. Need your laundry washed, pressed, folded, and delivered, done. Need a bottle of wine and a handle of vodka, ha, go to Abu Dhabi and buy it yourself in a secretive, non-Muslim only boozatorium.

The religion is law here, which means you are going to see a lot of women if full black abayas. That’s not that weird. Some are actually really pretty. It also means that you are going to be judged if you show your knees though. And some restaurants won’t let you in if you are wearing shorts. But treatment so far has been good for me. Also, there is a call to prayer 5 times a day starting at 5:30ish a.m. Over a loud speaker at every mosque you can here this haunting Arabic song telling every Muslim that it is time to pray. Each prayer is based on the sun, so it changes slightly from day to day. I actually quite like it. It is pretty. The mosques are pretty too.

Anyway, I will elaborate later on the Middle East, but I am tired and have work at 8 tomorrow. PS I am on Abu Dhabi time, I don’t know its real name, but it I am exactly 12 hours difference from Pacific Standard time, so it’s super easy to convert. Just switch PM to AM or AM to PM and voila.

Okay, as my dad/Tigger would say, TTFN, ta ta for now. Here is a short video of a little call to prayer. I was so stupid back then. Roll it!

my first house