Thursday, August 21, 2014

Set the Wayback Machine to...2009

I tried to be a homebody.  I really did.  In November of 2008 I moved back to the States, to see how that would work out for me.  It didn't.  I gained back all the weight I lost after moving away in the first place and then some, and had probably $4000 on the two credit cards I had (which had been very nearly cleared when I went home).  I loved working at Barnes and Noble, but it was not good for my waistline or my pocketbook, and I felt fairly disconnected from everyone.  It's not that I don't love my family - I do - but living in Iowa to make them happy made me miserable, and it was only a matter of time before I set out again. 

I ended up back in the Middle East.  This prompted a lot of people to ask, "But didn't you hate it there?"  As a matter of fact, no, I was not a bright ball of sunshiney joy when I lived in Bahrain, but my analysis of the decision to move to Ras Al Khaimah, the northernmost of the United Arab Emirates, factored in - among other things - the fact that I was mentally prepared for the things that made my year in Bahrain so hard.  So I went, and that move was where this blog actually began five years ago.  Happily, since I was not as zealous a blogger as I am today, there were plenty of memories to choose from, and I went with the road trip to Fujairah I took with some friends that fall.
First and foremost, I want to thank Melissa for these pictures.  I forgot my camera that day, and if it weren't for the fact that she's a picture taking maniac, I wouldn't have anything to remember it with, and it was a fun day.  She'd just rented a car and was raring to go anywhere and everywhere.  One of the guys we knew suggested Fujairah, which was several hours' drive southeast of RAK.  Along the way we stopped at a beach which Socrates...

...Oh yes, this was the beginning of THAT long, awkward association...

...suggested must be popular with the Russians, based on his translations of the signs in Cyrillic.  In the background you can see "Snoopy Island," which looks slightly like Snoopy lying back on his doghouse (if you are squinting or presumably drunk, that is).  We winced at the heat on the sand, even in October, and piled back into the car quickly enough.
The point of going to Fujairah - other than just getting the hell out of RAK - was that they had an old fortress.  We weren't allowed in the fort, for some reason.  I don't remember if it was just closed to the public or if we went on the wrong day, but we had a good time climbing around it and taking pictures.
There was also a museum nearby, which we did go into.  Did we learn a lot?  Not really.  Did we have fun?  Absolutely.  If I remember right, Melissa was excited to have someone who liked taking goofy pictures, and both of us posed for more than a few!
On the ride back I claimed the front seat.  It was hilarious to see our three guy friends crushed together in the back.  Although it took some time to get settled in Ras Al Khaimah, it was not the disaster that my year in Bahrain was.  Not only was the school a higher caliber school but I had friends, and ten years overseas have taught me that this is what really makes a difference, and what you will actually miss when you do move on.

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