Today (Sunday) was my first-ever day of work in Iraq.
Sunday is my Monday. My Monday is now over! Your Monday starts tomorrow. Thursday is my Friday. Friday is my Sunday and Saturday is Saturday for us all.
Culture shock is weird.
Work: Work is new and overwhelming but I know (I know!) that it will not be new for long.
Play: Tomorrow we are going to race go-carts. There is also bowling here and an amusement park within the city. There are gondola rides and a Ferris wheel. I am lucky with my new colleagues so far. They are welcoming and inclusive.
At our house, we have electricity constantly, through either city power or generator. There are big grocery stores. There are liquor stores. I was lucky to be invited to the home of a driver colleague. It was lovely with rooms decorated by color: Purple and pink, red, green. His two little girls were watching Nickelodeon on TV (Hey Arnold! dubbed into Arabic).
When I was in high school I spent a year in Italy. Looking at a world map would sometimes make me dizzy – I would realize I was on the other side of the earth from where I was born. When I first moved to Senegal it was the same. But then there was The Gambia, Uganda, Congo – the dizziness stopped – living overseas was normal.
Now it is back.
It’s not a bad thing. It’s just that I'm across a whole 'nother sea. It's just that – for all the similarities – I know (I know!) it is a very different place that I am right now than I have ever been before.