Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Americanah

americanah

 

“Ouch! Ouch, Chimanda! Stop!”

(Oh wait.)

Don’t stop.

 

It’s me who can’t stop. I read everything Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes. I only started reading her by accident, when I was facilitating the Kuwait Book Club I never intended to belong to, and found myself reading so many books by authors I had never heard of. We were reading Half Of a Yellow Sun  and all of a sudden, I WAS Nigerian. She can do that. She uses the senses, she uses the thoughts in our head. We are really not so alien, us and the Nigerians I start to think. I have Nigerian friends, from the church. We all get along. We have a good time together.

“Not so fast!” Chimamanda tells me in Americanah, her newest book, which I put off buying until I could find it in paperback. “You are very different! You think differently! And growing up in a country where there are black and white, race becomes an issue that it is not when you are black, and everyone is black, and you are growing up in Nigeria.”

Hmmm. OK. That makes sense. I mean, I thought I was Nigerian because in Half of a Yellow Sun, I was Igbo, living in an academic community in Nigeria, and hmmmm. You’re right, Chimamanda, there were no white people around. Just us Nigerians.

Chimamanda, with her sharp, all-seeing eyes, her sharp ears and her sharp tongue make me cringe as she comes to the USA and comes up against assumptions many have about Africa. Do you even know where, exactly, Nigeria is? Do you know where Ghana is? Most Americans can find Egypt on a map of Africa, and MAYBE South Africa, but the rest is  . . . mostly guesswork. Because we send clothing and food aid to African countries, we have the idea that all Africans are poor, but that is not so, and is insulting to the middle-class and upper class Africans who travel elsewhere for leisure – and education.

I don’t know how much of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book is autobiographical and how much is fiction. I know that her observations are acute, she nails expat friendships, she spotlights our blind spots and hypocricies, and she holds you in her grip because she is no less harsh with herself – if, indeed, her Ifemelu, the main character in Americanah, is reflecting Chimamanda’s own experience. The experiences, coming here, the overwhelming differences in manners and customs, even volume of voice and width of hand expression, are so immediate, so compelling, so well described that they have to have been experiences she herself had, and had the eyes to see. She must have taken notes, because she totally nails the expat experience.

Book ads and book reviews focus on Americanah as a book about being black in America, and it truly is that – as seen from the eyes of a non-American black, as she often reminds us.

She is hard on herself, returning to Nigeria, and quick to note that much of the change is in herself and her changed perspective. While I love the romantic storyline, I was disappointed by the fantasy ending, given how self-disciplined Adichie is at keeping it real in every other facet of the novel. On the other hand, I am still trying to think of an ending that would work for me, and I can’t. While her ending wraps it all up neatly, it’s the one part of the book where her sharpness dulls.

One of the things I liked best about the book was going behind the scenes, being Nigerian, going to school, having coffee, working, going to parties with other Nigerians, chatting with my girlfriends. We’ve done things with nationals of different countries before, but you know as soon as you walk in that your presence changes things. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie takes me with her and no one knows I am there, observing, learning, figuring out how things are done when it’s “just us” Nigerians.

Here’s why I am a Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie addict. She keeps it real. She has eyes that see, and ears that hear, and a gift for capturing what she sees and hears and a gift for writing it down. She has insight, into herself, into others, into character and motivations. She is sophisticated and unpretentious, she admires and she mocks, but when she mocks, it is as likely to be self-mockery as mockery of another person, class, ethnicity or nation. Reading Adichie, I understand our similarities – and our differences. I believe she would be a prickly friend to have, but I would chose her as a friend.

Awards

● Winner of the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction
● One of The New York Times’s Ten Best Books of the Year
● Winner of the The Chicago Tribune 2013 Heartland Prize for Fiction
● An NPR “Great Reads” Book, a Washington Post Notable Book, a Seattle
Times Best Book, an Entertainment Weekly Top Fiction Book, a Newsday Top 10 Book, and a Goodreads Best of the Year pick.

 

 

April 17, 2014 Posted by | Africa, Beauty, Books, Character, Civility, Community, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Fiction, Interconnected, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Nigeria, Political Issues, Social Issues, Women's Issues | , , | 4 Comments

Kuwait: ‘Police occasionally arrested alleged rapists . . . ‘

Some dry, but fascinating reading. This is an excerpt from US Report On Human Rights In Kuwait State Department Issues Annual Assessment from the Arab Times: Kuwait.  You can read the entire report by clicking on the blue hypertext which will take you to the Arab Times Website.

 

Women

Rape and Domestic Violence: Violence against women continued to be a problem. Rape carries a maximum penalty of death, which the country occasionally imposed for the crime; spousal rape is not a crime. The media reported hundreds of rape cases, but government statistics indicated that only 34 cases were reported to the police. Social stigma associated with publicly acknowledging rape likely resulted in underreporting. Many victims were noncitizen domestic workers. Police occasionally arrested alleged rapists. The courts tried and convicted three rapists during the year, but authorities did not effectively enforce laws against rape, especially in cases of noncitizen women raped by their employers.

The law does not specifically prohibit domestic violence, but courts try such cases as assault. A victim of domestic violence may file a complaint with police requesting formal charges be brought against the alleged abuser. Each of the country’s 83 police stations reportedly received complaints of domestic abuse. Victims, however, did not report most domestic abuse cases, especially outside the capital. Police officials rarely arrested perpetrators of domestic violence even when presented with documented evidence of the abuse, such as eyewitness accounts, hospital reports, and social worker testimony, and treated such reports as social instead of criminal matters. Individuals also reportedly bribed police officials to ignore assault charges in cases of domestic abuse. Although courts found husbands guilty of spousal abuse in previous years, those convicted rarely faced severe penalties. Noncitizen women married to citizens reported domestic abuse, and inaction or discrimination by police during the year.

A woman may petition for divorce based on injury from abuse, but the law does not provide a clear legal standard regarding what constitutes injury. Additionally, a woman must provide at least two male witnesses (or a male witness and two female witnesses) to attest to the injury. There were no shelters or hotlines specifically for victims of domestic violence, although a temporary shelter for domestic workers housed victims during the year. The government completed construction of a high-capacity shelter for domestic workers in 2012, but the shelter was not fully operational by year’s end.

Harmful Traditional Practices: The penal code penalizes honor crimes as misdemeanors. The law states that a man who sees his wife, daughter, mother, or sister in the “act of adultery” and immediately kills her or the man with whom she is committing adultery will face a maximum punishment of three years’ imprisonment and a fine of 225 dinar ($790), slightly less than a month’s earnings at the public-sector minimum wage. Sentencing guidelines for honor crimes do not apply to Bidoon. In February the court convicted and sentenced five foreign residents to life in prison for the June 2012 “honor killing” of a 19-year old female family member.

Sexual Harassment: No specific law addresses sexual harassment, but the law criminalizes “encroachment on honor,” which encompasses everything from touching a woman against her will to rape, and police strictly enforced this law. The government deployed female police officers specifically to combat sexual harassment in shopping malls and other public spaces. Perpetrators faced fines and jail time. Nonetheless, human rights groups characterized sexual harassment against women in the workplace as a pervasive and unreported problem.

Reproductive Rights: There were no reports of government interference in the right of couples and individuals to decide freely the number, spacing, and timing of children. Decisions regarding access to contraceptives, family size, and procedures involving reproductive and fertility treatments required the consent of both husband and wife. The information and means to make those decisions, as well as skilled attendance during prenatal care, essential obstetric care, childbirth, and postpartum care were freely available. While the government did not provide any formal family planning programs, contraceptives were available without prescription to citizens and noncitizens.

Discrimination: Women have many political rights, including the right to vote and serve in parliament and the cabinet, but they do not enjoy the same rights as men under family law, property law, or in the judicial system. Sharia (Islamic law) courts have jurisdiction over personal status and family law cases for Sunni and Shia Muslims. Sharia discriminates against women in judicial proceedings, freedom of movement (see section 1.d.), marriage, and inheritance. Secular courts allow any person to testify and consider male and female testimony equally, but in the sharia courts, the testimony of a man equals that of two women.

The law prohibits marriage between Muslim women and non-Muslim men. The law does not require a non-Muslim woman to convert to Islam to marry a Muslim man, but many non-Muslim women faced strong economic and societal pressure to convert. In the event of a divorce, the law grants the fathers custody of children of non-Muslim women who fail to convert. A non-Muslim woman who fails to convert is also ineligible for naturalization as a citizen and cannot inherit her husband’s property unless specified as a beneficiary in his will.

Inheritance is also governed by sharia, which varies according to the specific school of Islamic jurisprudence followed by different populations in the country. In the absence of a direct male heir, a Shia woman may inherit all property while a Sunni woman inherits only a portion, with the balance divided among brothers, uncles, and male cousins of the deceased.

In June the National Assembly passed an amendment that gave divorced and widowed women additional house ownership and rent allowance rights and allocations, but authorities had not implemented the law by year’s end. In July the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor granted a “housewife allowance” to nonworking women age 55 and older.

Female citizens remain unable to pass citizenship to their noncitizen husbands or their children; exceptions were made for some children of widowed or divorced female citizens. Male citizens married to female noncitizens did not face such discrimination.

The law states a woman should receive “remuneration equal to that of a man provided she does the same work,” although it prohibits women from working in “dangerous industries” and in trades “harmful” to health. According to international assessments, the average working woman earned 6,600 dinar ($23,385) annually, compared with 18,691 dinar ($66,231) for the average working man. Only 14 percent of managers, legislators, and senior officials were women. Educated women maintained the conservative nature of society restricted career opportunities, although there were limited improvements. Women comprise 72 percent of annual college graduates, according to statistics from 2011, but account for just 53 percent of the 270,000 citizens working in the public sector and 44 percent of the 60,000 citizens working in the private sector.

The law requires segregation by gender of classes at all universities and secondary schools. Public universities enforced this law more rigorously than private universities.

Two members of the 50-seat parliament elected in July were women. By early December a parliamentary committee for women’s and family affairs had not yet been established or staffed, although such a committee existed in previous parliaments. Some women attained prominent positions in business as heads of corporations. Two women served as ministers in the cabinet.

There were no female judges. For the first time, however, the Judicial Institute accepted 22 women during the year. Graduation from the institute is a prerequisite for employment as a prosecutor or judge.

April 11, 2014 Posted by | Kuwait, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Marriage, Social Issues, Women's Issues | 2 Comments

Kuwait Citizens Cite ‘Wasta’ (Undue Influence) as Problem for Crime Prevention

From todays Arab Times Kuwait:

 

‘Wasta’ Major Setback In Battle Against Crime; Some Police Not Keen To Tackle Issues

In this week’s online poll, the Arab Times probed the factors that are blunting the efforts to fight crime in Kuwait. A majority of the voters felt that Wasta is a major setback to the fight against crime. About 56% of the voters felt this way.

Speaking to the Arab Times, respondents said criminals use Wasta to escape the long arm of the law. “I know a citizen who routinely cuts red lights. He pats his back and says that he has Wasta to dodge penalties. This is a traffic offence, and may not be considered a crime. However, if this is possible in the case of traffic offences, it should be possible in major crimes too.” Another respondent shared a personal experience when one of his neighbors had a conflict with the landlord.

The neighbor decided to go to the court, and he was asked to pay the rent there. However, the person in charge of collecting the rent in the court gave lame excuses and avoiding collecting the amount in time. The landlord used this as a pretext to procure an ejection notice from the court. “It looks like some authorities in the court were in cahoots with the landlord to deny justice to my neighbor.”

About 13% of the voters felt that law keepers themselves become law breakers, and that’s why it becomes hard to fight crimes. Respondents cited the example of the recent case that made headlines when cops raped a woman in her flat, entering her flat under the pretext of looking for residence violators. “This is an example of policemen stooping to the lowest level, becoming worse than criminals.” Others brought up a report that Arab Times had published some time back about the ‘Trolley Mafia” in the airport. “The workers in the airport literally extort money from the passengers forcing the trolley service on them for a charge of 500 fils.

They do not let us take the trolley.” Respondents said it’s highly improbable for this mafia to work in this fashion without the knowledge and blessings of the concerned authorities in the airport, especially after the report coming in the newspapers several times. One of the respondents said that he had an altercation with one of the workers in the airport over the trolley. “I used an expletive in the course of the heated exchange, and the worker complained to a policeman in duty.

The cop came over to me to inquire if I had used the bad word, but as he didn’t speak our language I told him that it was only an impolite word, and not a bad word. The officer went to the extent of calling another passenger, who spoke our language, to verify if what I was saying was true. To my good luck, the passenger concurred with me.

The officer let me go, but then I complained to him about the worker who was trying to extort money from me. The officer walked away as if he couldn’t care less.” The trolley mafia is continuing to operate without any hassles, and people suspect the tacit support of the authorities.

About 16% of the voters said that the police are not very keen on solving crimes, and that is encouraging criminals. Other reasons for the increase in crime in the society, according to the poll, included unemployed youth wanting to make quick money, corrupt politicians and crime getting accepted as a part of life. However, these only won very small percentage of votes. A very tiny fraction of voters felt that criminals are getting smarter.


By: Valiya S Sajjad Arab Times Staff

April 11, 2014 Posted by | Community, Crime, Cultural, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Local Lore | 8 Comments

Only in Kuwait: The Original

Sigh. These are, sadly, true. I have seen them myself. I used to make people mad; I always carried a camera, and when I would see able bodied young men park in the handicapped spots, I would take their photos. They would get really mad. I knew I might be risking my life, so I tried to be careful, but I was also hoping they would feel shame, and stop doing it.

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Talal Al-Ghannam is a very brave Kuwaiti for printing these “Only in Kuwait . . . ” columns.

Only In Kuwait

These are the things you won’t find in other modern countries or even ones that are poorer, but only in Kuwait.

1. Only in Kuwait people APPEAL to the government to apply the law.

2. Only in Kuwait handicapped parking places are seized by ordinary people.

3. Only in Kuwait many people like to park on the pavement and on green landscapes.

4. Only in Kuwait you could get killed for a parking space.

5. Only in Kuwait you could get beaten if you did not let a maniac driving behind you to pass.

6. Only in Kuwait policemen are beaten by mobs.

7. Only in Kuwait many policemen play with their smart phones rather than monitor the roads.

8 .Only in Kuwait many police stations have only one policeman.

9. Only in Kuwait you need a fancy car on the road to be respected.

10. Only in Kuwait you need three months to get an appointment in a hospital unless you are really sick.

11. Only in Kuwait the majority of Kuwaitis travel out of town when there is a two-day holiday.

12. Only in Kuwait the majority of employees get sick suddenly when there is a holiday coming up.

13. Only in Kuwait we see people spitting or urinating in the streets.

14. Only in Kuwait we see maniacs driving on the shoulder of the road, throwing up gravel to break your car’s windshield.

15. Only in Kuwait some Kuwaitis say ‘kaifi ana Kuwaiti’, meaning I am a Kuwait, I can do whatever I want.

16. Only in Kuwait you see many Kuwaitis able to deport expatriates. I will rest my pen for now until the next article.

By Talal Al-Ghannam
local@kuwaittimes.net

March 16, 2014 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Civility, Crime, Cross Cultural, Cultural, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Pet Peeves, Values | 2 Comments

Only in Kuwait 2

This is what I love about reading Kuwait newspapers. It is a society full of contradictions, and a population not afraid to point out and comment on those contradictions. I remember the first time AdventureMan yelled at me for stopping at a stop sign; he was not being abusive, he was afraid someone would hit me from behind because NO ONE stops at the stop sign. It was LaLa Land driving:

 

Only in Kuwait – 2

GhannamThis is the second episode of the things you see happening in Kuwait even though our country is considered a “modern state”.

Maybe the honorable reader thinks I am being pessimistic, of course when I compare Kuwait with other countries in the region.

1- Only in Kuwait you could be run over when you cross the road on the pedestrian crossing. Always wait till there are no cars because they don’t care.

2- Only in Kuwait please, please don’t stare at anyone even if you admire him or her otherwise you could put yourself in trouble and end up in a fight.

3- Only in Kuwait the stop sign means GO. If you stop you could be hit from behind or encounter angry faces from maniacs who do not respect the law.

4- Only in Kuwait you see public bus drivers race and compete on the roads and they may not stop for you.

5- Only in Kuwait when many people see a sign saying ‘do not enter’, they do the opposite.

6- Only in Kuwait doctors are beaten just because they want to organize the queue.

7- Only in Kuwait you see people who had been fighting outside continue their contest inside the hospital.

8- Only in Kuwait policemen guard hospitals.

9- Only in Kuwait housemaids get kidnapped when they go out to throw the garbage.

10- Only in Kuwait teachers who don’t help students pass get their cars damaged by paint, punctures or even fire.

11- Only in Kuwait when you approach the traffic light you must be extra careful if your side of the light is green because some maniacs run the red light from the other corner.

12- Only in Kuwait our soaps are full of crying and beatings in order to prove it is real drama.

13- Only in Kuwait public bus passengers have to wait under the searing sun for their bus ride without having a decent shade or bus stop.

14- Only in Kuwait many Kuwaiti plays and soaps put down other nationalities and make fun of them, not knowing that people from those countries possess nuclear weapons and we only use what other nations invent for us.

15- Only in Kuwait we call the tea boy sharekah, meaning company, without even respecting his name. I have seen this a lot in police stations and at various state institutions.

16- Only in Kuwait drivers ride their cars close to 200 km per hour thinking this speed will take them to heaven fast.

17- Only in Kuwait we build apartment buildings without adequate parking.

18- Only in Kuwait we enjoy parking on the yellow/black zone and occupy the bus stop area.

19- Only in Kuwait a 400 sq m empty land is worth KD 300,000 while in Khafji in Saudi Arabia, it’s KD 20,000 only for a 500 sq m piece of land.

20- Only in Kuwait contractors do projects inefficiently and once these are done, they find out that something is missing and have to do it all over again

By Talal Al-Ghannam
local@kuwaittimes.net

March 15, 2014 Posted by | ExPat Life, Humor, Kuwait, Law and Order | 6 Comments

500,000 in Kuwait Banned from Travel

From the Kuwait Times:

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Mostly for people who have not paid interest on their loans? The banks have that much power, that they can put a travel ban on their customers?

March 12, 2014 Posted by | Cross Cultural, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Travel | Leave a comment

Happy Kuwait

You gotta love this :-)

And then an almost entirely male version:

March 8, 2014 Posted by | Entertainment, ExPat Life, Kuwait | 4 Comments

MERS Virus Found to be Widespread

Thank you, John Mueller, for this fascinating article from Science NOW:

Middle Eastern Virus More Widespread Than Thought

28 February 2014 12:45 pm

 

Trail of infection. Scientists have found MERS virus in camels from Sudan and Ethiopia, suggesting the virus is more widespread than previously thought.Bernard Gagnon/Wikimedia CommonsTrail of infection. Scientists have found MERS virus in camels from Sudan and Ethiopia, suggesting the virus is more widespread than previously thought.

It’s called Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, after the region where almost all the patients have been reported. But the name may turn out to be a misnomer. A new study has found the virus in camels from Sudan and Ethiopia, suggesting that Africa, too, harbors the pathogen. That means MERS may sicken more humans than previously thought—and perhaps be more likely to trigger a pandemic.

MERS has sickened 183 people and killed 80, most of them in Saudi Arabia. A couple of cases have occurred in countries outside the region, such as France and the United Kingdom, but those clusters all started with a patient who had traveled to the Middle East before falling ill.

Scientists have uncovered more and more evidence implicating camels in the spread of the disease. They found that a large percentage of camels in the Middle East have antibodies against MERS in their blood, while other animals, such as goats and sheep, do not. Researchers have also isolated MERS virus RNA from nose swabs of camels in Qatar, and earlier this week, they showed that the virus has circulated in Saudi Arabian camels for at least 2 decades.

Malik Peiris, an infectious disease researcher at the University of Hong Kong, and colleagues expanded the search to Africa. In a paper published last year, they showed that camels in Egypt carried antibodies against MERS. For the new study, they took samples from four abattoirs around Egypt; again they found antibodies against MERS in the blood of 48 out of 52 camels they tested. But the most interesting results came from taking nose swabs from 110 camels: They found MERS RNA in four animals that had been shipped in from Sudan and Ethiopia.

Peiris cautions that it is unclear whether the infected camels picked up the virus in Sudan and Ethiopia or on their final journey in Egypt. Abattoirs could help spread MERS just like live poultry markets do for influenza, he says. “You cannot point the finger exactly at where those viruses came from,” he says. “But I would be very surprised if you do not find the virus in large parts of Africa.”

If so, that changes the picture of MERS considerably. No human MERS cases have been reported from Egypt or anywhere else in Africa, but if camels are infected, they may well occur, says Marion Koopmans, an infectious disease researcher at Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. “It would be important to look systematically into that,” she writes in an e-mail. “Health authorities really need to test patients with severe pneumonia all across Africa for MERS,” Peiris says.

The researchers were able to sequence the virus of one of the camels almost completely, and it is more than 99% identical with viruses found in people. “I would be very surprised if this virus cannot infect humans,” says Christian Drosten, a virologist at the University of Bonn in Germany. But the virus also shows a few intriguing differences from known camel samples, he says. “We have to analyze this carefully in the next few days, but it looks like this sequence broadens the viral repertoire found in camels,” he says. If the viruses found in camels show more genetic variation than those isolated from humans, that is further strong evidence that camels are infecting humans and not the other way around.

Anthony Mounts, the point person for MERS at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, says that it is very likely that human MERS cases occur in Africa. “Wherever we find [infected] camels, there is a good chance we’ll find [human] cases if we look closely,” he says. And humans may be exposed to camels in Africa much more often than in the Middle East: There were about 260,000 camels in Saudi Arabia in 2012, but almost a million in Ethiopia and 4.8 million in Sudan, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. The more human cases there are, the higher the risk that the virus will one day learn how to become easily transmissible between people, which could set off a pandemic.

The researchers also looked at the blood of 179 people working at the camel abattoirs for antibodies against MERS virus, but found none. That shows that the virus is only rarely successful in infecting human beings, Peiris says. “What we need to find out now is the reason for these rare transmissions.”

March 1, 2014 Posted by | Africa, ExPat Life, Health Issues, Interconnected, Kuwait, Living Conditions, News, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan | , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy National Day Kuwait

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Happy Liberation Day and Happy National Day to all my friends in Kuwait. Party hearty :-)

Almost twenty-five years since the Invasion of Kuwait. Imagine. There are young Kuwaitis graduating from college who weren’t even alive when Iraq invaded.

February 24, 2014 Posted by | Cross Cultural, Cultural, Entertainment, Events, ExPat Life, Kuwait | , | 4 Comments

A Stalwart Falls

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“Are you catching colds?” our friend asked as the funeral ended.

“No, no, I said, funerals just find us very vulnerable, and we have to deal with losses, past, present . . . and future. We have an ongoing fight over who is going to bury whom.”

We did not know the man well who had died, but we knew him as a stalwart. He was a greeter and usher at our service, and he was only rarely ever not there. He served the church. He was always there. I had asked his wife to help me with tickets, and she had laughed and said “of course, I’ll be there because my husband will be there, and if you need me just holler.”

They weren’t there. It made me uneasy, it nagged at me. I didn’t need her, but I missed her, and as I said – they are ALWAYS there. Sometimes it’s what is missing that catches your attention. It caught mine.

When I learned her husband had died, suddenly and unexpectedly, just as the Antique Fair was starting, it came almost as a physical blow. It’s not that I knew him that well. It’s that his presence at the church was something we took for granted, he was stalwart. You could count on him. We attended out of respect, respect for him, support for his wife.

And I know that the two of them spend (spent) as much time together as AdventureMan and I do. I don’t like to think that it could happen to me, that I could be suddenly left. AdventureMan was a military man, he would often leave, all these years, and he might tell me where he was going but I never knew for sure where he was going. We had a code to use if he was lying, but although he never used the code, I know there are times he lied, all for that bitch, national security. Yes, yes, I know, strong language from Intlxpatr, but strong times call for strong language. We both knew that there were times when there was a risk he wouldn’t come back.

We didn’t have to deal with death a lot in our life abroad. Of course, in the military, everyone is young. In all the countries where we worked in the Gulf, there were upper age limits – people retired and people left; you can’t live out your years in Qatar or Kuwait, there are laws against it. You can’t even be buried there without special permission. We learned to deal with the losses of people coming into our lives and leaving, but we didn’t have to deal with the great finality of death. We’re learning.

AdventureMan insists he is going to go first. I am tough in a lot of ways, but I don’t know that I am tough enough to go through his funeral. The very thought of it makes me sick to my stomach.

He tells me not to worry. He wants a Viking funeral; he wants to be sent out in a kerosene soaked ship and for archers to set it on fire as it sails off, disintegrating in flames. Isn’t going to happen, AdventureMan, but if it did, I might give some thought to pitching myself on the ship as it departs . . . otherwise, I’m afraid I might live the rest of my life as the one of the walking wounded.

February 5, 2014 Posted by | Aging, Biography, Circle of Life and Death, Civility, Community, Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Friends & Friendship, Generational, Kuwait, Lies, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Women's Issues | , , | Leave a comment

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