I've had a few people say that recently, my blog has read less about life in the strange wonderland of Abu Dhabi and more like just the daily happenings in my life. After reviewing the past few weeks entries, it seems to be the truth. To be fair, I've been living here about seven months and a lot of the "wackiness" has become ordinary. Sure, I'll notice the crazy way that people park their cars and chuckle to myself, but you can only take so many pictures of that. A lot of the things that make living here unusual are part of the ordinary. Things that irritate are still things I might encounter in other situations but the difference might be in the scale of how it happens or in the solution. One example of this is in my disappearing mug.
I enjoy having this mug and while it seems like a small thing, having a familiar mug with stupid little saying goes a long way to making me feel better when I come in in the morning. It also goes a long way to pissing me off when it's missing because someone has taken it.
I didn't really have a problem with this when I first started because I would carpool with someone who would arrive really early. This meant that I was usually one of the first people to get to work. It also hadn't occurred to me that there were such a thing as communal mugs. I thought everyone had their own mug out of the dozens in the break room. I guess a few people had their own ideas about that.
Some days when I got to work later, my mug would be gone. After a few times of this happening, I wrote my name on it in permanent marker. It still went missing so I kept it by my desk. It would be gone the next day, sometimes in the break room and sometimes on someone else's desk. As it turned out one of the helpers goes from desk to desk each night collecting and washing the mugs then puts them back in the break room. I figured that I could turn it upside down and that would get the message across. It did, but that meant that I had to wash my own mug. That in itself wasn't that bad but seemed strange when there's a guy working at the school to wash them and I sometimes was washing my mug at the same time he was washing the others. (and he gets them sparkling!)
I finally realized that I could write my name and desk number on the mug and asked him to bring it to my desk after he'd washed it. Then I gave him a few dirhams tip. That didn't seem out of line since for a week stretch he'd been washing and delivering my mug to the wrong desk. While I admit that this whole drama is fairly mundane and petty, I don't know if I'd be able to come to the same solution in the States. Now I have my favorite mug sparkling clean and waiting for me when I get to work in the morning.