Saturday, 30 June 2012

What type of bread do Irish people like?

I recently mentioned to someone that one really must filter through all the boring, weird and crazy people to find friends amongst the expats.

The woman was outraged. 'What do you mean!? I have never met anyone crazy or boring?!'

 What makes someone boring or crazy, she wanted to know, in case she was one of the above, and never realized. Well, maybe she was. Because, one thing i am slowly realizing here, is that the world of expats is absolutely full of boring and/or weird people, from all sorts of countries. And, between you and me, it is quite a sad thing for me to admit and accept. I used to think people in suburbia of London were pretty dull. And they were. It took me years to find some normal people there. Years! So, I was secretly hoping that, somewhere like this, in an exotic and wild place, i would find a lot of interesting, fascinating people, original and creative. Why, they are people who left their ordinary lives, with their lawns, commuter trains and office cubicles to live somewhere different. To experience something cool, you know? I was thinking there would be certain glamour about expats here. But, in reality, there is a very small percentage of expats I met who are, indeed, interesting and different. The rest are, sadly, what we call in Russian otbrosi or the refuse of the society.

'Oh, I despair' I said to husband the other night, after having read a bunch of absolutely ridiculous comments on a local expat forum. Why are there so many stupid women here? What the hell is the matter with them all??

 Well, husband laughed. Think about it. There probably are smart men in this world who marry stupid women-it must happen more often, to be realistic, than the other way around. Smart women would not marry stupid men, right? And let's face it. A lot of expats are here because they could not make it back home- for various reasons, but it would be safe to assume that a few of them are quite stupid. And therefore, their wives must be stupid, too.

Ok, i thought. Sadly, that makes sense. In a world of expats, you probably would not get the best of the best from each country.

I am curious whether it is an expat thing all over the world, or do certain countries attract better samples of expatriates? Since Qatar is my first proper expat destination, i am yet to find out.

 I was trying to think back to the years in Baku where i had a lot of expat friends and colleagues. Were they more exciting, or was it me who was different back then? Was it me who had lower expectations; who viewed expats in general as a superior breed back then? Is it me who is more experienced and more demanding of people these days?

 An Irish friend of mine and i went to a coffee in a nice hotel the other day. We sat on pretty sofas sipping our skinny lattes when a very tall and very odd-looking woman appeared next to us, staring at my friend and her little girl. We stopped talking and smiled politely. Sorry, the woman explained. 'My son thought your baby was someone we now'. That would have been an okay explanation, except that the boy was really not that interested.

'She followed me here from the bathroom!' my friend whispered.

As we got up to leave, the woman, who by then had explained to us that she was German, and lived in Doha for many years, proceeded to follow my friend around the coffee shop. She reached over her shoulder to grab a jar of honey we were looking at. She wanted to know where my friend was from.

Do you like honey? Do Irish people like honey? 

'I have experience with Scottish people...', she continued as my friend paused to choose a loaf of fancy bread. Do Irish people prefer brown bread? Because, Scottish people, i think, they prefer soft white bread...'

'Excuse me', i almost asked. 'Maybe you could tell us... What bread do weird people prefer?'

So yes. This is what the glamorous expat world is like, in reality. But hey, I have not given up yet. I am sure there are some truly cool people here. Somewhere.

Hmm...I wonder what type of bread they prefer?



20 comments:

  1. "Were they more exciting, or was it me who was different back then? Was it me who had lower expectations; who viewed expats in general as a superior breed back then? Is it me who is more experienced and more demanding of people these days?"

    This is most realistic paragraph I read in this post.

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    1. Well, I was being honest. However, i think it probably is a bit of both. I am still friends with expats i had met in baku, many many years on. And they are still, to me, interesting people. But, many years later, whenever i visited baku, i was shocked at the level of expats there these days. Maybe it started attracting a different kind of crowd. And of course, i have changed, too.

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    2. We change, we evolve, some stay where they are maybe. But I think judging others by first impression is not right. Weird first impressions can result in a very good friendships after all.

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  2. God you really have low level of tolerance. Good thing that it makes a funny blogpost. :)

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  3. Keep looking, you'll surely find someone normal enough.
    PS: Why aren't you starting your posts with a drawing of your own anymore.

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    1. Gabriela, you have read my mind, woman! I was just thinking last night, i need to start adding my sketches again. The problem is i still have not connected my scanner, believe it or not! And without it, i cant import the sketches to the blog! Very lazy, i know!!! :)

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    2. ;)
      All the best from Nairobi!

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  4. Totally! Last week I told a friend that I am in despair! Recents events have brought the mundane out in people. That said, I'd probably full in the weird and crazy category. At least my good friends do. But they haven't yet begun to randomly follow me while asking about Irish bread.

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    1. Yep. I know what you mean! As for a bit crazy, well i must be pretty mad myself. But there is creepy crazy and just a funny crazy, i hope! :)

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  5. That German woman must have been either too lonely, or a psycho. Or maybe she was into all things Irish :) I actually thought that expats from third world countries, providing they work in a white collar profession in a more developed country, are cream of the cream of their respective countries. Maybe I am wrong. PS. The most famous Irish bread is soda bread, isn't it?

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    1. Marianna yes, my friend said some Germans in particular (???) are into everythng Irish! Sounds crazy to me, but who knows? Might be true.
      Expats from the third world countries is a very different matter. You are thinking people from back home who had to be better educated, etc to manage to get out of the country and manage to get a job abroad, in a more developed place. That required a certain type of a person. Here you get the opposite.

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    2. I think this means you are more likely to find interesting people among the professional expats from third world countries who live in Doha. I understand it might be easier for you to relate to the Europeans but looks like they are not, for the most part, such an enticing crowd over there.

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    3. Germans do indeed idolize Ireland. The German condition is in many ways a pitiable one. Though, come to think of it, it's one with which I can personally empathize:

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2004/sep/07/germany.society

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  6. I have lived in Luxembourg for a couple of years, and the expat community is great there. I met many interesting and cool women from all over the world. But, overall, it takes time to find and develop friendship. Keep networking and hopefully, you'll find some great characters there soon:-)

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    1. I am sure! They exist. It does take time, and i am not doing too badly! Found some very nice people already.

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  7. Well, I have a lot of experience in being an expat in lots of places and knowing expats from lots of places, and what you say is very true, sadly: Lots of boring people among the expats, and some crazy ones. Of course it's a bit of a subjective judgment, but I know what you mean. I love the wacky, original types, and fortunately I have been able to find some here and there.

    The woman you met was certainly not my type ;) but I wonder if she wanted to get a better look at the child because maybe she knew of a kidnapping case? Far fetched perhaps, but I have an active imagination.

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    1. Hmm...nuh. She was just plain weird. :) she was more likely thinking of a kidnapping case from the kidnapping point of view, if you know what i mean!

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  8. But did you ever think of this situation from different angle? Matter of fact, looking at yourself wearing their shoes? Maybe they are too, looking for a smart woman, to chat with about the "hard life" being an expat, but didnt quite find that woman in you? If one says a joke in the room and no one laughs ,doesn't mean they are stupid and didn't get it, most probably it was a stupid joke instead.

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