So I don't know how to write this post without sounding like a complete snob, so I'll just begin by admitting freely that I can be a snobby judgemental poop from time to time and my comfy little circle of friends in Toronto included people who were considerate, non-confrontational, drama-free, working professionals, leading normal lives in a normal city.
Being plucked from my little world of sunshine, unicorns and all things easy (though I didn't know it at the time because I was a fool. a damn fool.) and dropped off in the middle of the arabian desert has sort of left me in a position where I no longer have the luxury of interacting with only the people that are basically clonal variations of myself. I know that sounds terrible but I was very happy hanging out with the calm version of me, the fit and active version of me, the five years younger version of me, the superstar version of me, the academic version of me, the male version of me, and so on and so forth. In Riyadh, if you are looking for that reflection of yourself in your friends, you will be Gilligan but without the other castaways, because this is the land of the unconventional and no two expats are alike.
In Riyadh, you might find a lot of people on their second or third marriages or on their fourth or fifth careers; in a row of houses on a compound, you might find military contractors, businessmen, nurses, and teachers from all around the world. Education levels will vary from high school all the way to PhD's, political views from extremely right to communist, religions from atheist to wants-to-convert-you. You'll have people who are happily single, people who are unhappily single, the happily married and monogomous, the unhappily married and mostly monogomous, the happily married and mutually not monogomous, and everything in between. You will be thrust into an environment where you will make friends with people you would not normally be friends with, owing to your uppity pre-Riyadh views on people you like and people you do not like. Basically what I am saying is that if you were like me and living in a happy bubble before you moved to a compound, the more you find out about your fellow compound dwellers, the more you will find yourself saying, "that's CRAZY!" And not in a positive wild and fun way, but like in a sociopathic issue-laden morally-questionable way.
Then you hit steady state and go "what's normal anyway?" ha ha. Ok I am not saying throw all your standards out the window and welcome crazy into your daily life, but I am saying that maybe re-evaluating your preconceived notions on what types of people to include in your social network is a necessary thing to do here. As long as you find people who are mature and loyal, it's okay if you don't have everything else in common, and who knows it could expand your horizons or some sh*t like that.
And for the set that are resistant to expanding their horizons in defense of their identities...well I am right there with you too. That is what blogging is for.
5 weeks ago