House at Pooh Corner

House at Pooh Corner
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Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Goodbyes - the hidden Expat Tax

Did you know?

Expats, certainly ones living here, are soulless, money-grabbing, selfish capitalists who only wish to accumulate more of the filthy lucre. At any cost.

We booze and swill hundreds of ££ or $$$'s down our ever-open, ever-stretched gullets like so many young magpies.

Gorging. Gorging. Gorging.

Having invaded, and driven out the smaller weaker of our kind, from their palm-tree shaped nests (swimming pool included), we roar with evil laughter whilst rolling naked in our money-pits (we all have them), twirling our evil moustaches.


All of us.

I don't think so.

Can I just say, before we move on, that I am not convinced that I drink/get drunk here, any more than I did in either of the other countries I have lived in.

In fact, I think there is a good chance I do it less.

Now, this is NOT because I am oppressed, by virtue of my weaker inferior sex nor in fact ... as everybody outside the MiddleEast seems to think* ... because I am not allowed to.
*Ditto driving.  Ditto eating pork.

Here, let me explain.

I like to call it:

The GeMTHH (GetMeTheHellHome) Quotient 

It looks like this:

Essentially, we need to establish if A is greater than the value of G

A = Amount of Alcohol-induced Fun likely OR Alcohol-Required to Induce Fun
G = Getting Home Afterwards Aggravation / Urgency

Thus, in Dubai, I often drive.

In HongKong, you step outside (unless it is raining), *BOOM* there's a cab & before you know it, you are getting yourself the Hell home.

It is less easy, in my experience, here in Dubai. Unless, I guess you are doing your Mr Creosote obscene amount of consumption in a hotel.

I just like to get home, when I want to go home.

I don't wish to order a taxi at a specified time BEFORE I've even begun to have all the Fun .......... nor do I wish to, when I have decided to call 'time' on the Fun to wait for what could be anything from
"10 minutes away" to
"30 minutes coming" to after all that,
"not coming now. No taxis."
(assuming they even answer the phone at that point).

I digress.  Yet again.

I have a habit of doing that.

See? I did it again.

Taxis and drunkedness is not what I want to talk about here.


That is what I want to talk about.

Good byes are the hidden Expat Tax. And it weighs heavy on us all.

There are the most commonly thought of Goodbyes -
* the agonisingly sad driving away from home, airport-bound.

* the stomach-churning Let's All Be Brave & Practical Until the Very Last Second and Pretend This Isn't Really Happening.

OR the hideous farewells actually AT the airport.  The Stomach-Churn will follow you here.  You cannot escape the Stomach Churn.

Both scenarios.  Horrific.  The guilt.  The good ol' fashioned waaaaaa-hahhaahahaaaaaaaaa sadness.  The suppression of the I Wanna Drop Everything and Run All The Way Home reflex.

There is another kind of Expat Goodbye too.  Which also hurts.  And doesn't require you to go anywhere.

The one where people leave YOU.

No no no.  WE leave!  WE do the leaving! Goddammit. ..................................WE do NOT get left!

This Goodbye happens when other Expats leave, to either stop being Expats or, to go be Expats somewhere else.

Making strong connections with other people can be really hard anyway, but, when you are an Expat can be really extra-hard.
Our world is very transient.

When you live away from family & friends, people that have known you through the bad haircuts, teenage dramas or relationship euphoria and hiccups, when you DO make what feels like a real connection, it can be quite intense.

I've touched on this Friend thing before - in The Rugby Post & also, in The Happiness Vampires

Friends, the good 'uns, become an immediate practical source of support when you do not have your family immediately at hand.

Sometimes that support comes in the very simple form of just a Proper Belly Laugh.

Maybe handing you a cold one, that makes you contemplate a certain algebraic equation.  Remember what we were talking about earlier?

Or letting you roll in their Money-Pit.

Goodbyes suck. All of them.
Whether you are the Leaver or the Leave-ee.

1 comment:

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