Well, here I am. Can't say that it's as I remember it, because I'VE NEVER BEEN HERE BEFORE. My apartment is embarrassingly huge and marbley. Honestly, embarrassingly so. Not to get overly detailed, but a bidet in three of your three and a half bathrooms seems a bit unnecessary in a country with water rationing. I'm too addled with jetlag to register much, but I'm definitely registering a sense of spatial overwhelm. If I just close a few doors and never open them again for the next two years, I think this will bring the apartment down to a more psychologically manageable, socially just size. I've posted a reminder note on the back of the front door to help stave off any sense of entitlement: "Real people don't live like this."
It's so quiet here at night; i.e., just the time that I'm waking up. Thanks to an unknowingly generous neighbor (!يا شكراً حبيبي), I'm able to access the internet and have been streaming NPR to fill the void. I don't mind the quiet, but I'm fearful of the solitude. I don't want space to think just yet. Not yet.
At the embassy, each check-in form is accompanied by the question, "Are you [drop down in tone and lean forward] alone?"
"Yes," I respond dutifully. "I am [drop down in tone and lean forward] alone." It's tempting to go into a Scarlett O'Hara-like swoon here: "Oh, but that wouldn't be the case if only Ashley hadn't been promised to his cousin!"* No spouse, no kids, no pet, no car. I need this on a t-shirt.
*Cousbandry is big in the Middle East; I think this could earn me some real sympathy points.