Returning to Your Home Country for a Visit after Living Overseas in the Middle East Means…

  • you are constantly saying ‘thank you’ and ‘please’ in the wrong language
  • you order, then turn to your friend and ask, “Do you think the waiter understood my order?” and the waiter says, “Yes, I did.”
  • you order an ‘Americano’ and the barista looks at you like you are crazy and asks, “Why do you want that? Why don’t you just have a regular coffee?” and you say, “Oh, do you have regular coffee” and then it’s a whole ten minute conversation so eventually your friends and relatives don’t allow you to order anything. You have to tell them your order and they interact with waitstaff on your behalf.
  • you try to eat everything, including macaroni and cheese, with your hands
  • you freak when people try to feed you dinner at 7pm (not midnight, like a normal person)
  • you completely freak when you learn that the people you are with expect you to walk THREE WHOLE BLOCKS
  • you are surprised when people call or want to do something during nap-time; then you are surprised again when you call people at 11:30pm and they are sleeping
  • you are surprised that hot water comes out of the hot water tap
  • you sit in your room telling yourself “IT’S OK TO WEAR A TANK TOP AND  MINI-SKIRT IN THIS COUNTRY” as your inner voice whispers, “Let’s just put on an ankle length skirt and a tunic top”
  • you are stunned that people just drop the names of their sisters, brothers and friends into conversation instead of saying “a friend” or “someone I know”
  • you cry when you walk into a store and the clerk says, “Hi! Can I help you?”
  • you keep making inappropriate comments about people’s houses like: “Wow, your kitchen doesn’t have ants, how did you manage that?” and “you have liquor in display?!?! you need to hide those bottles!” and “that rug is polyester! you seriously need to go to the rug souk and get a silk one!”
  • you can’t find the Kleenex, light switches, water bubbler or the bathroom hose
  • you can’t get over how people show up when they say they are going to show up – but then they leave quickly because they have so many other things to do