Saturday, March 12, 2011

Another Day, Another Perspective

My last post was a fairly cathartic one, and the process of writing it and then reading the very sweet and supportive comments by some amazing readers was much needed. I mentioned a few posts ago that I'm experiencing a period of culture shock, which is predictably making me a bit more sensitive to the, shall we say, unique challenges and realities of life in Saudi Arabia. But I want to be clear that I am truly grateful for the opportunity to live in Saudi Arabia and really do love my job, my career, my lifestyle. I'm proud to serve my country and to be witness to such an amazing time in history in the region and the world. I just reserve the right to complain every now and then :-). The other FS and expat readers out there understand, I'm sure.

Having recovered from the relative trauma that is shopping here (and the trauma of putting together a bookcase/linen closet with doors from IKEA), I've had a very pleasant few days. Today was a really great day, professionally and personally. And to top it off, we stopped at Juice World on the way home. Fresh juice - more than 100 varieties - what's not to love! Saudis absolutely love their fresh juices, and I love them too. I'm particularly a big fan of fresh strawberry and pomegranate juice. So I bought a liter of each tonight. And am very excited to drink them!

And a blog post today absolutely has to mention the devastating earthquake in Japan. I didn't blog about the recent Christchurch earthquake, even though it consumed a great deal of my thoughts then and even now. I read with horror and relief the amazing blog posts by an FS couple who lived through the quake. See here and here for their stories. Having spent a phenomenal month in New Zealand (including a blissful week in Christchurch) a few years ago, I am so sad at the devastation and loss of life in that quake. And now Japan's ordeal is just beginning, with more than 1000 confirmed dead. And I see how horrible these recent earthquakes have been in, arguably, two of the better-prepared countries for such natural disasters. And I think back to the Haiti Earthquake. I worked the Haiti Task Force at the time, which was professionally and personally extremely rewarding, challenging, and eye-opening. It was the perfect storm of a natural disaster, and Haiti will be recovering for many decades to come. And it's hard to really think too hard about things like this because the unpredictability and immediacy and what-ifs are too difficult to comprehend without making yourself crazy. Maybe I'm not making sense, but I'm just throwing out stream-of-consciousness here. Throw in the fact that I've never consciously experienced a real earthquake, and it's all the makings of fear and wonder. (I've slept through a couple of very moderate quakes and almost certainly didn't notice the very low-level quakes that constantly happen in New Zealand...)

It's the issue of natural disasters plus the recognition that it truly is the places you wouldn't expect that get evacuated for unpredictable reasons. Who knew on Flag Day that my colleagues in Moscow and Cairo and Tripoli would be the first to be evacuated among our A-100 class?! We all could have (and did) predicted the top contenders, and those posts weren't among them. So even though things here are calm (the supposed Day of Rage was, in the words of a local paper, 'a damp squib') (and except where they aren't), I'm planning my "go bag" and consolidating my important papers and making lists of what goes and stays and planning for the cats and trying not to be in a position where I'm entirely caught unprepared. Because even though they always tell us to do these things, I think for many it takes a reality check to actually do them. And I've got my reality check, in spades.

So with all these heavy thoughts in my mind and a very busy couple of weeks ahead of me, it's time to curl up on the couch with my cats, my new quilt (won in a raffle at a quilting bee!!), and my fresh juice. And just veg.

(Ah, how nice that would have been. Instead, I spent two hours on the phone with tech support trying to figure out why they once again canceled my network connection on my internet. Happens at least once a month, for reasons nobody can figure out. The best part is that since my mobile phone is with a different carrier, the calls cut off after 10 minutes, so I have to call back and talk to a new person. Who cannot access what the last person did. I have gotten really good at synthesizing the problem and all my account numbers into about 30 seconds. So my very zen moment is gone. At least I have juice.)

1 comment:

Sara said...

I'm sorry you lost your moment of zen! I hope your juice is good!