Existential Flee

With less than a couple weeks to go before heading to Colorado for school, I decided to flee. I flirted with the idea of taking one last trip before needing to renew my passport. I flirted relentlessly, going so far as to complete a booking and let the computer screen time out. I looked up different travel combinations to get to and from London. I did this for a couple days, testing the travel reward points on my credit card account.

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I first booked a train ticket from Manchester to London. Ahead of time, these tickets are a small fraction of the standard rate. After booking a non refundable train ticket, I thought I can’t let that 20 GBP go to waste, and went ahead and confirmed my airfare as well.

It’s not a habit. It’s cool. I feel alive. If you don’t have it, you’re on the other side. I’m not an addict. Maybe, that’s a lie.

That little escape has put me back home with just two days to go before I will move to Colorado. I’m anxious about starting school. I’m excited, but I’m nervous. I’d rather be in England pretending I have nothing to do but travel carelessly about.

Sometimes I think sitting on trains.

I spent my last night in London at the same hostel my sister and I stayed in a year ago. I can’t believe all that’s happened in that time. I took a train to Manchester the next day. I wondered if it is even possible to regress. Does a personality evolve in a unidirectional fashion? Does it move fluidly between characterizations like a dance? Or back and forth or like seasons?

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In two days, I will be moving. I wonder if I’ll be the same, unidirectional development. Or, I wonder which period of my life will l be the same as. Will I have the urge to flee. Will I have the intensity to settle. Will I still stare out the windows, watching trees go by between stations. Because honestly, I went to the UK and my mind was blank for a week.

You say you got nothing, so come out and get some.

2014: You Can’t Handle Me

It’s been a rigtale tradition to compile a year end summary highlighting significant events in my life. I started 2014 with no real goals, and a lot of angst. I finished the year with clear goals and peace of mind. So here’s the highly anticipated year end report! Enjoy. 

1. In a fit of rage, I kicked and shattered a mirror in the staff house elevator in Doha. I had a meeting with HR about it. It was embarrassing. Soon after, they installed cameras in the elevators of my building.  

2.I got kicked off a rig, and subsequently banned from Qatar Petroleum offshore jobs. [A tremendous blessing.]

3. I boarded over 25 plane flights.

4. I had my passport stamped in 8 different countries.

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5. I visited Robben Island.

6. I got my PADI open water, advanced open water and enriched air diver certifications. 

7. I’ve been SCUBA diving in 3 different countries. 

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8. I spent more than a full calendar year without returning home. 

9. I got a speeding ticket in France, which my father intercepted in the mail. My father intercepts all my post.

10. I had a psychologist. She helped me.

11. I started playing soccer again.

12. I tore a muscle. For the first time. I felt so old. 

13. I went over a full year without hugging or even seeing my parents. It changed me. 

14. I really struggled at work. I also really thrived at work. Sometimes, I didn’t know the difference. 

15. I made new friends. 

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16. I approved and signed someone’s promotion.

17. I spotted three grey hairs on my head. I felt so old. 

18. I moved rooms to have roommates. We do roommate things. 

19. I swam on both sides of the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, the Arabian Gulf, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Great Australian Bight

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20. I saw the southern hemisphere for the first and second times.

21. I went to sleep many nights thinking to myself, “My mom is the only person who really understands me.”

22. I held a Koala. It held me back.

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23. I got athletes foot on a rig. I cried from disgust at myself.

24. I won a highly competitive industry challenge with my co workers and teammates. (see maerskoilandqpchallenge.com)

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25. I didn’t sweat the small stuff. I didn’t loose sleep.

26. I let go of not letting go.

27. I ended the year by seeing my parents. I now really know the meaning when “nothing changes”

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Any Given Sunday

I attempted this post a week ago whilst sitting in the airport reading a new book. June was a hectic month, characterized by 7 plane flights, 4 countries, 2 trains, 2 rental cars and ZERO rigs. 

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June 5th, I went to Cairo. A breath of fresh polluted air, Egypt has so much soul. Perhaps I’ve been living in the desert wasteland of Qatar for too long, but I found the few days there simply delightful. I saw family, I saw old buildings, I even saw some Whataberger friends. I also ate. 

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June 9th, I went to London. I met my sister there. She laughed at me when the tube door almost ended my life. We rode the London Eye and saw a musical. We had good fish and chips and we had bad fish and chips. There was karaoke and street markets. There was duck pie and spinach muffins. I even met up with a Whataberger co worker.

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June 14th, we rode the Chunnel to Paris. As excited as I was to be riding this trophy of civil engineering, it turns out I get dizzy on trains and spent most of the trip sucking on anti-acids and throwing up on the train. In Paris, we walked. We had hot chocolate and much cheese. I saw an old Whataberger friend. We got massages in the street. We cursed at the tourists like real Parisians. We left early.

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June 17th, we rode a train to the south of France. There, I rented a Fiat 500, which my sister had to push out of the parking lot because I didn’t know how to reverse. We stayed on a little peninsula east of Nice. St. Jean Cap Ferrat! There was a perfume factory, tortoise sanctuary, canyoning, beaches and some diving. We ate Risotto and pizza. We laughed and we took photos. We picnicked on the beach. We walked around with cheese and baguettes. 

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June 21st, I spent 4 hours in Doha before returning to the airport at 1am to fly to Dubai. Here, I had a week long training course for work. I made new Whataberger friends and enjoyed my freedom driving around in a rental car. I visited SoccerDad (from the early, early blog days) in Abu Dhabi. I also remembered I have an expat cousin in Abu Dhabi. I spent the weekend with her, eating too much and talking about anything. 

On June 28th, I sat in the Dubai airport. The next day, I went to the US embassy to add more visa pages to my passport.

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