I am sure that my fellow expats have expressed their sincere, heartfelt feelings about being expated and dealing with such issues like..
Loneliness, aloneness, alienation, longing and not belonging..
Me? I needn’t deal with such issues since I have very fertile relatives scattered across the 7 blissful Emirates. Here is a brief excerpt from one of those visits that I look forward to as much as I dread. A one-hour hike to a distant Emirate during weekends and this is what takes place:
Fatherly Figure: What did you study?
Me: Blah blah
Fatherly Figure: Do you work with computers?
Me: Yeah sometimes I find myself..
Fatherly Figure (cuts you off): Ok my DVD player is not working, can you take a look at it?
Sami (aka the voice inside my head): Hell, no! What you want to make up for the money you paid for this lunch? Screw you!
A short inspection later yields that the assumed DVD player isn’t working because it clearly mentions that it is actually a VCD player on the top. During lunch. People stuffing their faces with all kinds of steaming dishes, one of which is the obligatory, national food of Mansaf. A burp or fart is let loose every once in a while followed by an embarrassed chuckle.
Motherly Figure: Eat! Eat! Fatherly Figure tell him to eat!
Fatherly Figure: I won’t tell him to eat woman, he’s a man he knows how much he wants to eat
You faintly smile; you are getting the notion that such things as your personal pride and self-esteem do not exist on this table
[2 bowls of rice and 3 chickens and a cup of Pepsi later ..]
Motherly Figure: Did you try the lamb?
Me: Thank you, ma’am, I’ve had enough..
Motherly Figure throws 2 spoonfuls of rice in your plate
Motherly Figure: Daughter made it herself!
Enter Daughter who has recently dropped off college. Her parents are a little concerned about those after-midnight calls to her unseen-yet, bestest friend Tamara Her hips are swaying wildly like a Pussycat Doll as she walks in.. Me(to Sami): Is it normal to walk like that?
Sami: Hell, no! It’s the mating call, my friend..
Motherly Figure: Daughter is a very good cook. She can hold her breath for 10 minutes and can stand on her head too.
Me: Hmmm, interesting..
Motherly Figure: What? You don’t believe me? Huda stand on your head!
Me: No, no I believe you really..there is no need..
Huda proceeds to do as she is instructed. At least it’s not only your pride that doesn’t exist here.
Me: Wow that is impressive! For a second, you visualize your head-standing children waiting for you after you come from work.
Head-Standing Children: Abab, Abab!
Me: It’s BABA you motherfucking idiots! Sami: I wonder how we can employ that head-standing thing in a bedroom.
Me: Shut up!
Me (wondering): Mmmmmmm!
You shake that lucid image off. A little too literally.
Motherly Figure: Are you ok? Is the food too salty? Do you want water?
Me: No, no, I’m fine..
Grabs bottle of Coke and pours a new fizzing glass. God, I hate weekends. Well, at least the food is good.