A catch up list.
* My trip to Jordan was remarkable. Petra is definitely a thing you need to see if you’re anywhere in the Middle East. Vast. Mountain city. With lots of Bedouins hanging out and trying to sell you stuff. I’m working on an essay about it. I don’t even know where to start blogging about it, so here is a photo of me on a horse. There are a few more pix on my tumblr blog. I post a decent number of photos there – and it’s easier to post pix and reblog – which means I’m turning into a lazy blogger, I guess.
• Travel in the Middle East is pretty restricted right now, so I’m not anticipating any more trips until June – Paris and July – USA and Canada.
• I’ve been reading a lot, thanks to the amazing friends who have sent me books to fill my shelves. I read at the beach, I read in my comfy chair, and I even have started listening to audio books in the car. Latest book I’ve totally fallen in love with: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It . . . just . . . moved me in a way most books don’t get anywhere near my heart. Other authors I’m currently obsessed with: Neil Gaiman and Bill Bryson.
• Speaking of Neil Gaiman: the man is all over the internet and I adore that he answers all sorts of questions from his fans. His tumblr blog is lovely and friendly and accessible, as is all of the Twitter flirting between him and his remarkable wife, Amanda Palmer. From what I can tell, he really likes his fans. He is always gentle with even the most random questions, and when I read him, I just want to give him a hug. The thing I love most, though, is when he hands out book recommendations. He’s one of the contributors to this cool blog: What Is Culture, Coach? wherein a person who feels like they’ve missed out on reading and listening and watching all the things that “everyone” has read and watched and listened to asks for suggestions on how to Get Culture. So basically, what I’m trying to say, is that whenever Neil says “You should read this book.” to anyone on the internet, I get my hands on the book. My reading stack is bigger than ever, and I’m really glad I’ve finally gotten over my post-MFA dear god keep those books away from me I think I’m going to die slump.
• Getting acclimated to Abu Dhabi has been using up a lot of my bandwidth. I’ve finally gotten past the feels like vacation stage of being an expat, and I’m smack dab in the middle of holy crap, I actually live here now. This is my home. Now what? stage. To cope, I spend far too much time on Facebook and Twitter and tumblr. I’m rattled to the core. Did I really do this? Am I really living in the desert? Is my home in Minneapolis being inhabited by someone who is not me? Whose idea was this? When will I get used to it? I haven’t been blogging because I don’t want to whine or cause anyone to worry. But since we’re all here, I’ll just let you know – sometimes this is still really scary — the REAL of this. Those times, I don’t feel so brave. So that’s a thing.
• I read the newspaper every day and I’m trying to learn more about contemporary world history and global politics. Newsflash: Educated people not from the USA tend to know a lot more about the whole world and how things fit together than educated, white, middle-class, American me. Let’s just say it can be very embarrassing when someone you’re talking to knows a lot more about your country than you know about his or hers. I hate feeling ignorant, even when said someone is nice about it.
• I am halfway through my PADI open water dive certification and I got to swim in the Indian Ocean last weekend. It was pretty awesome. SCUBA is really physically demanding, and I’m now working on getting into better shape so I can swim comfortably and not wear myself out when I’m in the water. Also: dive gear is REALLY HEAVY. Plus: Oceans are cool. And big. Swimming in them reminds me that I’m really really insignificant: a nanosecond in the life of the sea. Helps keep all the feelings in perspective. There’s an essay in the works there, too. It feels good to be amazed by things and want to write about them. I haven’t been amazed for a while.
• A date would be nice.