Where to start?

Welp, I suppose you might want to know that I’ve been living as an expat off-and-on for the last 22 years. One of these days I’ll get off the fence.

Me in Aden. (Yemen.) My scarf kept falling off that day.

Also, you might be interested that I’ve been teaching English for most of that time.

Here’s a pic of me with my class in Afghanistan.

Don’t they look great? I had a lot of fun with those guys.

Here is the rest of the class. Everyone worked in a rural development program, so they were all either managers or agriculturists. 

The ladies were fun too. From left to right are Layla, Anahita, and Maram.

A strange thing happened with these ladies. Maram invited me to her apartment for lunch once. After she fed the men, we females went into a back storeroom. Anahita started playing a drum and some of us danced. I did, a little.

In the middle of all this, an elderly woman stopped me, and opening my jaw, stared down my throat.

Or so I thought.

Layla then said that the woman was checking my teeth. “To see how old you are.”

“Like a horse?” I said.

That got everyone laughing—Layla to tears which she kept wiping off her cheeks. “Oh my god,” she said. “This is like the parties we used to have!”

I’m amazed at how they’ve managed to survive. What strong people. Much later, when I happened to meet some Afghan teachers in Malaysia, and I started to cry about how terrible their situation was, they were the ones to comfort me.

Actually, I’m not an expat at the moment.

I’m okay with it. I think.

What happened was that in my fourth year of teaching in Riyadh, Prince Mohammed bin Salman (pictured below) took McKinsey’s advice and cut salaries of all government employees by 20 per cent.

The photo you see all over Riyadh.

This is the yacht he bought for $550 million, after cutting our salaries.

The Serene has a movie theater on it, illegal in Saudi America.

Anyway, the salary cut was the end of it for me.

Instead I now live here.

My cabin on the Mojave. Photo-shopped.

Well, that’s the ‘before’ shot. Really, it’s quite nice now. (See my post, whenever I get around to it, about how to leave America without leaving, which I think going off-grid is. Kind of.)

But I am working on becoming an expat again. I can’t tell you about it yet, it would be too embarrassing if my big plan doesn’t work out. But whether it does—or doesn’t—I’ll let you know.

So stay tuned.


AKA, ‘Robama’

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