Friday, April 20, 2007

Friday Miscellany

There is finally a tentative schedule for the system installation in Bahrain. Nothing is written in stone yet, but it looks like I will be leaving the last week in May and staying a month. I've been reading up on visa requirements and getting an international driver's license. The Department of State has the standard warnings for any middle eastern country, but nothing specific or current for Bahrain. I'm also trying to find out what is just across the causeway in Saudi Arabia that would be worth seeing. I'll probably try to cross the border just to say I was there. Insha' Allah. I've got my old vocabulary flash cards out and a few of my old text books and have started trying to relearn enough arabic to get by. I am also listening to the BBC news broadcasts in arabic while at work, thinking maybe that if I hear it enough some long-dormant brain cells will wake up and I will recover some of my old linguistic ability.

If this schedule holds I will be leaving the week after Laura gets back from her trip to England & France. At first I was going to be leaving while she was gone, but things so far have worked out so that I don't. Two weeks and counting before she leaves. She's getting nervous - and excited - about her trip. All of her preparations are complete, except for buying some euro's & pounds from our bank. They are looking for a place to have a high tea, but from the prices it maybe won't be so high. She doesn't like beer but promises to go to a pub for a meal and a pint just for me. I tell her she should try some scrumpie but hasn't been convinced. Neither is she up for toad in the hole, but might go for some bangers & mash or maybe some bubble & squeak. If anyone has any don't-miss destination suggestions, now is the time to suggest.

Now if she can convince her sister (who is a nurse and has an untethered imagination) that she won't die of an altitude-induced blood clot during the flight(s) or get mad cow disease from eating british beef, yada, yada, yada, they should have a good time.

I wish I could go with her.

Meanwhile, Kris' spring semester finals are on the same day that Laura leaves for England - May 5th. She only has 2 to take, and they are one immediately after the other on the same day. She then gets a week or two off and then she starts the summer semester. She's doing really well. The state of Georgia has a lottery-funded scholarship program that pays for tuition & fees for students who maintain a B average - which she has. I'm really proud of her.

Zack has settled in where he works. He is making friends there (which is difficult for him) and seems to enjoy his work. He works swing shift and that fits right into his normal wake/sleep schedule. That also means that during the week we only see him if he comes home for supper. During the weekend he's usually out doing something. Last weekend he used his tax return to by a new computer. Sometime or another, when I can get around to it, he's hinted at me maybe running a network cable to his room - but no hurry, after all he still has his laptop with a wireless card so he can still get to the internet. He won't outright ask for anything, he always comes at it sideways. Usually I hear about his wants through Kris (via Laura) way before he starts dropping hints to me. Dads are always the last to know.

9 deeply creased, dogeared comment(s):

Susanne said...

Don't worry about mad cow disease, nobody is talking about that anymore.

As a child I wanted to learn Arabic very much. Now I'm not so sure anymore. Must be interesting.

thailandchani said...

Well, you'll visit Morocco, won't you? :)

Sounds like it will be an interesting trip.




meno said...

You two are a real globe-trotting couple.
I would have a hard time being away from my family for a month. How are you feeling about that?

Thanks for the update on your kids, you don't usually talk about them much.

jen said...

why are dads the last to know? it was terrific to hear you talk about them...

and bahrain. yum. i want to know everything as it goes. what the food is like, the taxi drivers...all of it.

Bob said...

susanne - try telling my sister-in-law that!

Arabic is interesting, and a bit of a challenge too.

Chani - I would LOVE to visit Casablanca, but I don't think I can drive there & back over a weekend.

The trip should prove very interesting.

na'im, btawfeeq.

meno - it's been 19 years since last we trotted.

I don't like being apart that long and I don't look forward to it. I've had to travel for business before - 2 weeks has usually been the longest, but while in the air force I went to leadership school that lasted 4 weeks. Laura and the kids went to stay with her family that time.

While gone, I am ok during the day at work. It's the evenings and weekends that are tough. I call home every night, but it's really lonely. I read a lot or watch a lot of crap TV.

This won't be the first time we've been apart this long, though. Laura went to Missouri last year to take care of her mother. She was gone for @11 weeks. I went up 3 times to visit. That was a long, long 3 months.

I've tried to not think about this aspect of the trip too much.

Bob said...

jen - for this dad, who has a reticent son who only talks to his sister and a daughter who talks to me about music, her car, and life on campus - but to her mother about most everything else - Laura is usually my conduit for most of the personal details of their lives.

I plan to blog this trip although I can't promise to cast pictures from words - so I'll have to take a camera.

urban-urchin said...

you are already so much more prepared than I would be a week before my trip (which also explains why recently my shrink put me on ritalin).

There's meant to be an amazing mall in Bahrain. I'm not suggesting shopping as much as an opportunity to see the staggering excesses that the wealthy in Saudi Arabia consider normal, every day life. (I worked at Harrod's one summer in college, in the cosmetics dept. An Arab princess came in and spent 4,000 pounds one morning and 3 thousand later in the same afternoon at the Prescriptives counter, for her young daughter to play 'dress up', we were all gobsmacked. And quickly found out that this sort of thing is normal in their culture.)

Daughters tell mothers more things, just how it goes I guess. Glad your son has your daughter to talk to.

Mother of Invention said...

WOW! What a year for travel. You will have a good time despite being lonely at night. Is anyone else going that you know and can hang out with?
Is stuff there cheaper than here? What is there worth buying there? I'm looking forward to your blogging from there!

Laura will have a fabulous time, no doubt and I'd be excited too. I've only ever been to England for 18 days, and Eastern and Western Canada.

Nice to know your kids are doing their parents so proud!

Bob said...

Urban-Urchin - I wish I had started on my vocab earlier. good luck with the meds.

If the mall is in Manama, I'll make a point of checking out where the hoity-toity shop.

MoI - I am sure I will enjoy the visit (just not as much as if Laura were there). As far as I know, things will be more expensive there - the exchange rate certainly goes against it.

Yes, I am proud of both of our children.