Lions, Tigers, and Peacocks

A few weeks ago, I came home to disaster. It’s taken all that time to come to terms with the event and open up to the public with my extreme grief. One of the primary challenges of living and working abroad with no rotation in a tiny bedroom your company calls an “apartment” is finding the time and the energy to make it your own.

Over the last year or so… I’ve gradually made this space my own. I’ve removed all the bulky, ugly and unnecessary 70′s motif furniture (2 chairs, 1 table, 1 nightstand, 1 weird thing which could either be an ottoman, or a padded miniature coffee table with a cabinet). I’ve bought candles and incense. I utilize the tub space by taking really long, luxurious baths with candles, a bath pillow, and someone else’s Netflix account (Thanks!). I took down the gloomy stock paintings which made the room feel like a funeral home. I decorated with trinkets.

 

Let’s compare the items to this post from 2 full years ago…A dinosaur given to me by Noelle during my last trip to Louisiana, a Texan themed cowboy boot my mom gave me when I was homesick in Arizona, a crystal to ward off evil, a snake to remind me of Jerome, the tigers my dad bought me when he unwillingly chaperoned my 1st grade field trip to the Ft. Worth Zoo, and a beaded lion I acquired on my recent trip to Cape Town. He is a miniature model of this guy, whom I could not fit in my backpack, but did share some of my drink with.

 

There is one last personalized feature to my room: a puzzle. In the corner, I have a desk. On the desk, I have a puzzle which I work on if I wake up too early or find myself home in the middle of the day. It is a very hard puzzle of a peacock.

Two times weekly, my room is entered by strangers who clean. Most of the time, they find the mess too difficult to clean around and they just sweep the floor or push my things into a pile and change my sheets. Occasionally, they do not change my bathroom towels. One time, they took my towels and did not leave clean ones. These are all permissible and, however annoying, totally acceptable things for a cleaning crew to do. I am never comfortable with the idea of these strangers entering my room all the time- but it comes with the territory and I accept it.

Until…. disaster struck.

 

A few weeks ago, I came home to this bullshit. The cleaning crew savagely violated my peacock puzzle. Upon further inspection, you will notice that half the bird is upside down, the edge of the puzzle has been thoughtlessly disassembled and the pieces scattered about haphazardly.  Several of these pieces I had to collect off the floor and place back on the table for the photo. I found sections of the puzzle underneath the remaining assembled portion of the bird’s body.

What kind of monster would do this to a puzzle? I can understand maybe ruffling a feather or two- but this is insanity. It goes beyond the puzzle. It’s the concept that my things can be damaged or disappear at the whim of a faceless stranger.

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The Chronicles of Post Vacation Life

After several very tough months, I have re-constructed my mindset and compartmentalized my life. I live from vacation to vacation. The space in between is just that– SPACE. This is a post chronicling some of the space.

I set my alarm an hour before I actually need to wake up just to lay in bed without moving. The day kicks off with some unfiltered “space”. The sun is bright, magnified by my window. It used to be my prison cell of a room. Now, I am an animal laying in the intensified sunlight with one hour of space before getting up to shower.

Lately, I’ve been mentoring some incoming engineers. Three, to be exact. I take them with me to jobs and bribe them with pizza to do all my work while I enjoy some space. I read the news, send some emails, research some vacations.

MentorLife

I think about Lynn, my mentor from Louisiana. If she could see me now, I imagine she’d be proud of how far I’ve come.

Lately, I’ve been enjoying my space away from work. With the flux of new people and sudden availability of old friends around Doha, I’m finding myself indulging in many after work and weekend activities while not on the rig.

This weekend, there was an International Food Festival in Doha. I went. I ate. Until I hated myself. Then we walked about 7k to get home. I felt better. I took this picture of Doha.

Doha_FoodFestival

A week prior…. I found myself in da club.

Encounter in da club:
A stranger approaches me excitedly, “I LOVE YOUR DRESS”.
I smile sheepishly “Thank you!”
Several moments later, he found me again “I really love that dress. Where did you get it?”
I sense he is interested in a similar one. Extremely sheepishly, I say “… I got it at H&M….. it was like $10”.
His face told me he was very unimpressed. “You should make something up.”
Conversation adjourned.
Elevator_RedDress

The fun is over. Back to work. Alas- Laila comes down with some sort of cold. I’m sick in the desert. Help me, Mom!

image

Laila Catches a Break

I eventually left Al Doha rig and proceeded to flee as far from it as I could. This trip took me to Cape Town, South Africa. It was fantastico! I saw things I’d never seen, thought things I’d never thought. Here’s a reel of photos of me attempting to blend in around Cape Town!

 

Safari!

 

 

Penguins!

 

View atop Table Mountain.

Seafood feast!

 

 

After 10 blissful days in the southern hemisphere, time to hit the ground running back in the desert. For now, I’m just eating these:

Basically Indian Cheetos…