The Comedy of Expat Life

posted by saltybug.com 19/11/2016 2 Comments

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What a day…god sometimes it’s like a fucking comedy sitcom isn’t it. You step back and look at it and think is this actually MY life.

I laughed out loud. That was a message from my friend back home after I had told her about my hectic day working, taking care of sick kids and saving a hamster escapee from the dog.

I thought ‘yeah, you know, sometimes real life is funnier than a comedy sitcom’…

I have a new chiropractor, he works on a back injury I have. An American guy, he is really quite nice and friendly. Perhaps too friendly. It turns out he is a staunch republican. On the day of the election, he was cracking my back lecturing me on how if Hilary was voted in she would destroy the world…I lay there trying to think of a good excuse to run out of the door and the thought occurred to me that at least he wasn’t talking to me again about how he isn’t getting much sex with his much younger bride now they have a baby…that was really awkward that one. Now I’m wondering that perhaps I need a new treatment plan and when I mentioned this to a friend over coffee she screwed up her nose and said ‘yeah, boundaries aren’t really a thing over here…’

I found myself having a stand off with a police officer sort of person in the week too. I think he was one of those pretend ones, you know, who think they matter but they just try and sort the traffic by standing in the middle of the road. I was on my way to swimming lessons with the children and he didn’t like my pass that allows me to drive on the day we are coded (a very dodgy traffic management system that in my opinion, does not work). He didn’t think my pass was legit and he might be right about that but let’s not get into it here. So I sat in the car alone with the children wondering how this was going to play out. After a stand off that ended with me saying ‘what do you want me to do about it? I was told I could use this pass’ there was a moment of silence, then his face suddenly changed from fierce to happy and he said ‘we are friends aren’t we?’ with a big toothy smile on his face. Now, the Trolls soundtrack was playing in the car and Justin Timberlake was singing ‘I got that sunshine in my pocket, I got that good soul in my feet…’ I was not quite sure what to make of this but I really do believe in the happy magic of Trolls so I smiled back and said ‘yes of course’ as I sped off as fast as I could without getting done for speeding.

I came down stairs one day to find my maid washing our white walls with the floor mop, she was trying out a new cleaning idea she had. I realised then and there that it was time to admit to myself that having this domestic arrangement was not working out. This was one of many many many many things that were signals that I need to find another way of having domestic support over here. So, I relieved her of her duties. I was very kind explaining that it wasn’t her. I didn’t mention the mop on the wall incident as that was just the tipping point. I totally chickened out and went for total avoidance so I blatantly lied to her (I am not proud of that) saying we were about to leave the country…I didn’t want to hurt her feelings because she is very sweet. Then I gave her some magazines, candy from Halloween, a massive payout to keep her comfortable until more work came up and I let her clean out her room taking everything including the towels and linen I purchased, and the toilet paper. She asked if she could have our dog…I said no to that, I thought that was kind of taking it too far. And now she is stalking me… Text messages declaring her love and how she wants to cook pancit for us again. I told her I’d prefer she spend her time looking for another job and she told me that ‘god is good’ so it will be okay. And you know, I am sure it will be. Just to be certain though, I have notified property management and the children’s school…moral of the story, sometimes you need to be cruel to be kind. Just be honest, cut the cord with a sharp knife and it will heal a lot quicker. Or so they say…

I was having a dinner party, just something small and easy. It was very last minute, that morning in fact I confirmed it was happening. I had only that morning to shop as well so I got busy. It was going to be easy, just roast chicken and salad – how hard could that be? I went to the first supermarket. No chicken, no salad stuff. I went to the delicatessen next door as they always have fresh super expensive salad stuff. Nope. Not today. Oh a few green leaves, so I grabbed a bag of those. I went to the second supermarket. Loads of chicken – phew, some salad stuff but not really unless you like to eat the old, manky, moldy kind with buzzy things having a feast on them.  Then I ran out of time. Dinner however was great because it isn’t so much about the food sometimes, it is really just the company and making new friends, which is what that night was about, so we had a great time talking loudly over roast chicken with a few green leaves, about one slice of tomato each and some old cucumber sliced up.

When I first arrived I would spend three days doing grocery shopping because I was determined to do things they way I always had. Wrong. Have a plan, go to the shops, see what is fresh, get creative and change your perspective. The focus in expat life stops being in equal parts the food and company. The company comes first, the feasting ends up being whatever you can manage on the day, and that is totally okay…unless there are buzzy things, I do have to draw the line somewhere.

Our buildings are getting tarted up for Christmas so contractors are here using a cleaning scaffold to get around the highrise walls. I heard a noise and saw a shadow and jumped in fright which reminded me they were actually there. Thankfully the blinds were pulled down. What I did not expect the next day was for FB to ask me to look at something gross the ants were eating….someone had cleared their throat, or their nose, perhaps both, on our windows… 

I was on a twitter chat this week talking about adventure travel. Someone replied that the biggest adventure was moving to another country and I wrote back that I agreed. I said I had become addicted to it. You know what it is that is so addictive to me? It is that around the perimeter of the normal expected day to day stuff, there is always going to be something new, something different, something that will make you question if you just saw that with your eyes, or heard that with your ears or actually had that conversation… ‘could you please ask the contractors not to snot on my windows’. Honestly, some days really are like a comedy sitcom and as maddening as it can be, it is really quite hilarious.

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Marie 08/12/2016 at 10:27 pm

“Tarted up for Christmas”…cannot tell you how this made me laugh!

saltybug.com 08/12/2016 at 10:40 pm

Ha! I think that is an Australian term. It’s a good one you can use in many ways so feel free to try it out.


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