one of the most ridiculous parts of a completely foreign country is the element of surprise.
each time i step outside the gates of my apartment building i have to mentally prepare myself for all of the crazy things that will inevitably happen, which i can’t explain or understand.
for example, seeing a dude whip out his ding-a-ling the middle of a busy street and take a casual leak. or watching someone overtly take my picture in a public place because to them, i look sorta like that bald guy from ‘powder’.
and while yes, there are hundreds of highly annoying and cringe-inducing surprises that i could share with you – in the words of dr. frankenfurter – it’s not all bad.
last night i was out again with the americans, the feisty little beasts that they are, for sangria and tapas. a few of them, miss jp especially (she’s the ring leader), wanted to take me to the giant western-style mall here for a taste of home.
after exploring the mall and adjacent grocery store, where miss jp was beyond excited about the advent of blackforest ham, we got quite seriously inebriated on sangria and whined about india for 2 hours. i’ve had a particularly shit couple of days, so i was happy to unload my frusterations and enjoy a mid-week buzz.
i think what has been so surprising about the americans is that they have been genuinely welcoming. maybe it’s the perpetual bitch inside of me (we’re trying to keep her quiet these days), but i expected the embassy workers to be clique-ish and exclusionary.
and, most wonderfully, they’ve turned out to be the exact opposite.
i finally realized this last saturday when miss jp informed me: “honey, if anything happens here – like an earthquake or something – you just call us. we’ll take care of you.” lol, i just laughed and thought to myself: “well if that ain’t friendship…”
the americans are just the tip of the iceberg of good surprises.
a couple of weeks ago i bought my caretaker’s kid, habib, a giant toy car at the market. i figured that it would be a nice gesture, and you know, it might butter them up for the few times i will stumble in at 3 am.
(sidenote: yes, i still don’t know baby “habib’s” real name. and actually i’m lucky i know that he’s a he at all, seeing as they dress him exclusively in pink frilly outfits. while i get that this is a different culture and they probably don’t see gender in the way we do, his outfits always trigger this awful sensation in me that i’ve been calling a she a he for 2 months. thank god the babies don’t wear pants here so i can reconfirm now and again.)
so when i handed the bright red car to tapas’s wife she took it, smiled ever-so-slightly and turned away. i was pretty shocked because, while i didn’t expect a parade and a chick jumping out of a cake, i sort of thought she’d express some glimmer of gratefulness. well, she didn’t.
to make matters worse, i didn’t see that damn toy car for weeks. honestly, i figured they had sold it. although i guess i could understand if they had i was still a tad miffed. well last friday, having completely forgotten about the car, i entered my complex and tapas came running up to me exclaiming: “it’s your car! look!”
lo and behold, there was the red car with habib toddling around beside it.
it made me feel so good to unexpectedly see that stupid car. i had totally written off my gesture at this point and resigned myself not to bother trying again. but see, this is where suprises are awesome and assumptions are a bitch.
finally, and perhaps most bestly (real word, shut it), is unexpectedly realizing what one night of drinking and dancing can accomplish.
the last full weekend i had off i went out with 2 co-workers and their friends/husbands. the one chick works in the operations department here and effectively is the go-to person for anything that’s of any importance to me work-wise.
frankly, things hadn’t been going so well with her and her department. although i’m sure it was unintentional and i’m being oversensitive, they weren’t being too responsive to my requests and emails. everything was a struggle.
but sweet lord, enjoy a few g + ts and some awkward dance moves with someone and then bam: you’re besties. the last few weeks she’s coming to me for advice, asking me over to her place and helping me out a lot more at work.
don’t ever tell me that alcohol can’t accomplish important things – things like world peace and the reversal of global warming. because it could, i’m sure of it.
anyway, the point is that as much as i want to hide in my apartment some days (most days, actually) to avoid the parade of peen and other such unwanted surprises, doing so would make me miss the good stuff. the best stuff, really.
and that’s that.