I can safely say I’ve settled into life here. I’ve made my flat into a home. Messy, cozy, and smelling awesome. Every weekend is filled with new sights and adventures. These escapades are much needed with our workweek. YOU MUST have strength, patience, endurance, and tough skin to be here. You also have to be sociable because you will need to lean on others when things get overwhelming, and it will. No one can prepare you to come here and no one can make you stay once your mind is made up to leave. Coming here with little to no expectations has been my saving grace.
What has the Exquisite Expat been doing for the month of October? I completed my first international race which was pretty cool. They give shirts and medals here for even a 5K! You can’t beat that because in the states you have to run 85 freakin miles to even get a towel and a shirt! Running, walking, jogging in the sun is harrowing but a great workout. It started at 7:30am and it was 95 degrees at the start of the race. Nevertheless, I prevailed with my coveted medal and t shirt. My next race is the Contagion Race in Dubai. It’s your basic zombie race. Super excited for that!
October was also a month of travel. The Eid holiday saw a lot of the expats in other parts of the world. My friend and I decided to make our destination Sri Lanka.
I rode an elephant! I was so scared to, but thanks to the new friends I’ve made they wouldn’t let me punk out. Sitting on an elephant and riding one are two very different things, but we had a very gentle 21 year old elephant, Pooja. We also saw elephants on the side of the street like how one might see a deer peeking from the woods into the street. Wondrous!
This was posted in on the balcony door of the hotel, and it told no lies because we were visited by a clan the next morning.
We also went into the mountains to see multiple tea plantations and a tea factory. They very much were plantations. Only women pick the tea leaves and I really felt some kind of way about that. These are older women who are picking in the rain and without shoes while being supervised by a man with just standing there. The feminist in me rose a bit when I saw that, but seeing how happy the people were at living a simple life made me smile. They aren’t working for iPads or shoes or the next must have item. They farm on that mountain and work for self. Made me feel silly for wanting some of the things I have in the past. The tea fields taught me to be still and live.
Those are hills and hills of tea leaves in the background. The currency was so colorful and pretty. I plan to collect money from every country for keepsakes. I was ballin’ in Sri Lanka but money goes fast.
We visited the Temple of the Tooth. This temple is said to hold the tooth of Buddha. We went at 6 am and were welcomed by the worshippers rushing to get inside. Seeing people so fervent in their worship was humbling and made me feel like I was intruding on their experience. They brought offerings of lotus flowers, steamed rice, and money. It was very humbling. And even though I felt like I was in the way….I took pics.
We also found time to visit a garden and ended up witnessing (and crashing) a Sri Lankan wedding. The garden, groom, and bride were stunning.
The ending to a perfect vacation led me to a dip in the Indian Ocean. It was absolutely breathtaking out there. Sri Lanka is a friendly place and I will definitely be there again.
I recently joined the kickball team, Desert Kickers (#13 Dopaliscious). As a group outing we took a trip to Oman. Who wouldn’t take the opportunity to cross the border to another country? Getting there was a expedition in of itself. We got lost in the desert with no service and stuck on the rocks leading to the springs, but what’s life with out a little spice? Oman is known for its beauty and water springs in the middle of the desert. I don’t have many pictures because it was more about the experience for me. I couldn’t take pictures and enjoy what I was seeing so I just chose to see it and live it. Once there, we were able to cliff dive into one of the springs. There weren’t any life guards or anything. Just us and random people from Italy, France, Dubai, and a few locals. I don’t know how deep it was but you didn’t touch the bottom when you jumped in. I can’t swim and I’m terrified of heights, but I jumped off that cliff and into that pretty blue/green water. When will I have another opportunity to do so? It took me about 45 minutes to gather the courage. You have to just jump because the longer I waited the more I debated about not doing it. The team had cameras ready to capture this moment, but they wasted battery waiting on me lol. I ended up jumping when everyone had their back turned. It was exhilarating and I’m glad I chose to do it.
I have no clue what I will do or where I will go next and I like living like this. My job has it’s ups and hellafied downs but if affords me the ability to explore this world (cheaply). It’s so much bigger than the United States (I do miss home, but the dirhams ease the yearning ). It’s bigger than the limited vision we place on ourselves about places we haven’t visited or societies we haven’t lived in. I plan on taking my experiences and enriching others somehow. Things that mattered don’t have the same importance in my life. I met a man today from Pakistan, Ashmate. Ashmate always assists me in sending money home. When he saw my name, he pronounced it perfectly and told me that in his language my name means “living.” I silently thanked God for my sign of assurance (even when I didn’t ask for one) and I told Ashmate, “maktub.”
Until the next adventure,