Saturday, October 10, 2009

It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life...

...and I'm feeeeeeling good.


Okay, so acclimating is one thing. Thanks to the slow death of Arabian summer, I've pretty much nailed that one. Acculturation, on the other hand...well, it's another thing entirely. Let's put that in the "Things to work on" category.

How about swearing? Shall I talk about swearing? I never used to swear. Chalk it up to the influence of Satan, because before I went to Korea, I never said so much as hell, and now I freely drop F-bombs. Or I did before I got to RAK. Then I stopped swearing for about a month, and finally picked it up again when I got to Singapore - where I figured there were enough foreigners that they could get over it. I've tried to keep it on the down low since returning, but what can I say? Friday found me on a road trip across and down to Fujairah, in a car with three Brits and an Aussie, and I may have remembered all the different colors that words can come in, and used them out. Swearing just has an expressive quality that you just don't get from regular talking. And it was not a big deal...until we sat down at a little restaurant in Fujairah, and when the server brought me my order - hommos and bread, and a LOT more of it than I was expecting - I said, and I quote, "Holy shit!" Then I realized to whom I was talking and clapped my hands over my mouth. The non-westerner in question did not get pissy with me - my expression of horror may have smoothed over my transgression - but I've had it happen in the past. Oops.

Then last night, as I was walking to the salon to chop my hair off - which I've been thinking about for a long time, I was going to wait until I got to Paris but I got bored and stupid on the same night so I went to the mom&pop - madam&maid??? - salon down the street, but that's a story I will tell in a minute. Anyways, as I was going to St. Ives, I met a bunch of snot-nosed boys playing in the street on their bikes (bikes doesn't quite rhyme with Ives, but it's close enough). I like kids, right? I mean, I'm a teacher, I guess it could go both ways, but I do like children. Well, one of them rode up towards me and blew me a kiss. Yeah, yeah, whatever kid. In 15 years I will be creeped out by the fact that you are STILL doing this, but whatever. I kept walking. Then another boy rode up and made a big SMMMMACK! and said, "I love you." Okay, sure. I walked past the main group of boys, and these first two boys rode up behind me and one said something which included the words, excuse my French, "Fuckyou." And that's when I stopped and gave them the evil eye. I tried to remain calm, because the other route gets you nowhere fast, and said, "Excuse me?" As the first boy began to backpedal, the other one shot off another "fuckyou, " and I told him, "That is very bad manners." Mind you, these guys didn't know much English besides the aforementioned phrase. Boy One said, "No, no, like my mother, like my sister," and I said, "Would you say these words to your sister?" at which point they decided to leave me alone.

Until I left the salon with 14 inches less hair. I was feeling pretty vulnerable anyway, what with having lopped off most of what I consider to be my best physical attribute into what is definitely a skinny girl's haircut (and I am not yet a - sort of - skinny girl again), only to walk past these same boys, still loitering in the street, and to have them - in addition to a new chorus of "fuckyou"s (despite Boy One's protests) - squawk over my haircut and tell me that it's not good.
Acculturation point number two: hair.
Now I've had short hair before and it's even been roughly this short before. But that was in America, where girls are free to get pixie cuts. Here long hair is beautiful, and short hair...well, let's just say that my students were upset with me. Bless their hearts. Some of them were sweet enough to not say anything. Others were honest enough to tell me they didn't like it. Ben, who is Swiss and goes to church with me told me he liked it - but his mother and elder sister both have hair shorter than mine. I guess I don't have any more in depth a commentary than that - I just found the mix of reactions interesting, and telling.

Other interesting things about the weekend - driving down to Fujairah. In a car with four other people. Good times. Here's to the fishbowl.

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