January 30, 2013

I'm sure my future self is a sap too

Yesterday I got an email from Futureme.org (which is the greatest website ever and if you don't have an email waiting for you in the future, get on it ASAP.) The English in it was absolutely terrible and sometimes I had trouble following my own syntax, which was amusing. Who knew that I was a terrible writer? And yet when I got the end of the email, I still managed to make myself cry.

I'm such an emotional softie, you have no idea.

It's from a year ago, (which is quite a coincidence because I just read someone's blog entry about a 5 year diary that has you write each entry below last year's entry from the same date, and I was so jealous that I didn't have it and all its nostalgic glory.) A year ago was the time right after getting my current job. I was awash with trepidation and fears and uncertainty. So much uncertainty. I'm still just as uncertain, but I can totally remember that the trepidation of yore was way more paranoid. I sort of felt bad for my previous self, but at the same time as if nothing in my life now was really great either. But then I got distracted by the end, which was this super sappy note about how my friends and boyfriend were there for me, despite all the other terrible shit going on.

Cue the tears.

I'm going to try to out do the email by writing one for my future self that is even more sentimental. Wish me luck!

January 26, 2013

Go see Jane

Yesterday we got a new roommate. There are now five of us living in this crumbling apartment. We barely had enough fridge space when there were four of us, so I have no idea how that's going to work out. I also have to share a bathroom now, which is something I was hoping to never have to do again.

The worst bit is that I wasn't even told that it was going to happen, I figured it out on my own and then surprise, there she was!

One day I will live by myself. And it will be absolutely wonderful. One day...

January 21, 2013

Sometimes I forget

The other day I asked the students what made oxygen and the overwhelming response was, "God."

Sometimes I forget how pious children can be here. But it's cute to hear that answer said so completely without shame. And to see all of the other students nodding along because obviously that was the correct answer.

January 11, 2013

Because sharing is caring

Today I am going to share some internet with you!

This article in the New York Times magazine about a movie that Lindsay Lohan and James Deen star in. Having worked on movies and knowing people in the industry, it was interesting. I've always found it insanely obnoxious that the talent (that's literally what they're referred to on sets) gets treated as if they're gods. The general hierarchy of production sets is obnoxious, actually. There was one movie I was an extra in, and even we got treated like gold compared to how my friend, who was a production assistant, got treated. She spent all day tripping all over herself to hand the director the right whatever or get the talent that one ridiculously specific thing they wanted. We sat on our asses eating free food and then had to occasionally get up and stand in backgrounds. (This was a slightly higher budget film than usual ones my friends worked on in those days, roughly around where The Canyon budget was.)

I'm sad the movie will be terrible. James Deen is my favorite porn star and I just want to give him a hug and tell him that everything's going to be ok. I often contemplate his number of friends. He and I could be such lovely friends. With such lovely benefits.

This chart of heights of movie stars. I always knew that movie stars were short, but it was fun to see it in a chart. And then to put myself on the chart and see that I could still date Johnny Depp. Phew. Also, I have a theory that shorter people are more attractive in the face than taller people, but I can never quite find enough evidence to definitively make the correlation. (I have a lot of strange theories that would confirm your opinion that I am crazy.)

This video of the Egyptian parody of Gangnam Style. I don't understand a word of it, but I just like to watch Arabs dancing. And the part with the girl with the phone held to her ear by her hijab is so Arab. My students are obsessed with fucking Gangnam Style too. Basically I feel that the video will give you some nice pictures of Arab life. One day perhaps I will post a bunch of Youtube clips shown to me by my ex-Arab-boyfriend so that you can get more glimpses of Arabian culture.

This article about why we hate hipsters on food stamps and why that's a good thing(?) I don't know if the author was actually trying to stay that it's a good thing, to be honest. I don't know what the author was trying to say at all, really. And I definitely don't agree with everything in it, but it was good food for thought. I constantly mourn my decision to go to graduate school and hate anything about myself that is vaguely "hipster." But my life when I lived in NYC was insanely hipster and sometimes I just like to beat myself up about it by reading articles like this.

January 06, 2013

One of the most difficult languages to learn

Today was the first day back to work after three blissful weeks of break. It was odd. The teaching bit is like riding a bike, but the language barrier was like a slap in the face. I forgot how little English my students can actually speak. I forgot the constant chattering of Arabic in the staff room. I forgot that my students will constantly have side conversations in Arabic to explain anything I say in English. I forgot how impossible it is to know which Arabic conversations to allow and which are just for fun. I forgot that knowing a few Arabic words doesn't help me at all.

I wish I could say that it encourages me to learn more Arabic, but I'll never learn enough to be useful. I took a class in it when I first came here, but I didn't learn much and it was formal Arabic. (I.e. mostly useless on the streets.) I have multiple books that I could study from to at least review some formal Arabic, but I never manage to find the time. And I know countless people who speak Arabic, but I feel awkward whenever we have "teach me Arabic" conversations. It wasn't awkward when I demanded it of my ex-boyfriend, but he mostly taught me swears...

I'll never be fluent in the language, I've accepted it. If this was a Spanish speaking country, I might be able to reach fluency, (I took Spanish for roughly 8 years in school,) but a brand new language just isn't going to happen.

January 02, 2013

2012 in review

January: Began the year in India, riding tuk tuks and trying in vain to not get groped. Returned to the UAE to deal with my whole unemployment issue. Found a new job at a new school with surprising ease.

February: Moved into shitty apartment with new Russian co-workers, who dissuaded me from ever letting my boyfriend step foot in the place. Hated them with a passion.

March: Played tourist when my brother came for a visit. Tried to figure out what modern Arab culture was.

April: Went to Thailand with boyfriend.  My best friend (and the reason I came to the UAE) went through drama with her job and decided to go back to America.

May: Got extremely frustrated at my job daily. Felt lonely without best friend. Broke up with boyfriend. Confused about everything in life.

June: Went to Dubai with girl friends to celebrate birthday. Failed to be properly broken up with boyfriend until there was enough drama that I cut him off completely. Waited out the end of the school year.

July: Avoided ex-boyfriend and try to keep myself entertained as friends began to leave for their summer holidays. Finally headed back to the United States for a blissful vacation. New York, Maine, and Illinois, but more important than the places was seeing all my friends and family.

August: Finished vacation in the States and returned to Abu Dhabi. Attempted to be friends with ex-boyfriend, but everyone knew that was a bad idea. Lived at friend's apartment because mine had no A/C for far longer than appropriate in this climate.

September: Started new school year. Watched new people flood my friends's school and flounder about. Learned that I would not be paid money that I felt entitled too. Hated financial hole of a life that I live. Ignored issues by going to brunches.

October: More brunches. And some new friendships began to form. And I avoided other friendships. Realized that I actually know a lot of people in this place by now. First desert safari trip. Hurt my foot while playing soccer at island party.

November: Went on a boat cruise and desert camping. Tried not to commemorate anniversary of first date with ex-boyfriend. Attempted to date new boys, but they all bored me. Played tourist when mother came to visit.

December: Kept secrets from friends. Spent far too many days at the same bar with the same people. Played tourist when a friend came to visit. Spent holidays with old and new friends. Rang in the new year with no resolutions or plans for 2013. Because let's be real, my life is totally not up to me.

January 01, 2013

I've been busy, ok!

I haven't posted in awhile, apologies. I had a friend visiting me from the states, so I was busy entertaining her. We mostly hung out around the city. And went out. We went to the same bar so many nights that the waitstaff recognized us and greeted us like old friends. One of the waitresses knew our shot preference and I'm pretty sure she convinced men to buy us drinks one more than one occasion. We went to Dubai too of course, which I loathed, which made my friend loathe it too, haha. I like it when people prefer Abu Dhabi. (One day I will fully explain the difference between Dubai and Abu Dhabi and you too will prefer Abu Dhabi.)

Picture stolen from my friend, (c) her
We also went to the falcon hospital. See picture. That was a new experience for me. I don't particularly like birds (or anything that can fly at me,) but my friend wanted to go and so we went! It was pretty touristy. But it was also clearly a hospital. We passed a room marked ICU at one point, which boggled my mind. The picture is the room where they keep the birds who need to be examined or are waiting for their owners to come get them. The falcons are used for hunting, but the hunting goes down in Pakistan mostly, so they have to be ok-ed before they can travel. They also have their own passports, which is hilarious.

We watched them cut the nails and beaks of the birds too. The bird was sitting there on his perch and this bird doctor came up from behind and clutched him around the wings so he couldn't move, although he definitely tried to. Then this other bird doctor put this thing over the falcon's head. It had anesthesia, which made the bird go limp like he'd died. Then they clipped his nails and then resharpened them. Then they did the same to his beak. Then they took off his anesthesia mask and took him back to his perch. When he fully woke up, he sort of tried to fly off, but they're all tied to the perch, so that didn't work. And the bird doctor just caught him and put on the mask-hood that covers the eyes so the falcons stay calm.

Birds are strange little mini dinosaurs. And they still scare me. But I am glad I went.