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Sunday, February 27, 2011

The small things…

I had the privilege of traveling to England, Ireland and the Netherlands with Jessica Stoner shortly after college.  It was an amazing trip and opened my eyes to how the world views the USA.  Previously, I had only left the States to cross the border of Mexico to either drink when I was underage, shop or go on vacay to a resort.  Americans are treated well and I thought loved by all non-Americans.  However, our European vacation made me think about things differently. 

Our trip overseas happened shortly after the 2004 presidential elections which lead to many late night discussions in pubs, of course.   Let’s be honest, I grew up in a bubble and went to college in a bubble (which I will be forever grateful for, mind you) and after talking with people that had come from different cultures and pasts, it made me start thinking more than I had ever done before.  I stopped just accepting what I heard and starting questioning it and internalizing the answers , which drives my family crazy because I play devil’s advocate a little too much.

All that being said I am so happy to be an American and appreciative of the little things we in the red, white and blue take for granted every day.  Here are just a few examples that came up over the last few days.  Our AC went out three days ago but don’t worry, it is winter and the highs are only in the high 80’s right now.  We have had these two workers at our house on a few occasions for over 12 hours  (they are still upstairs right now) trying to figure out  the problem… I don’t know a single repair company in the States that would have spent 12 hours doing anything and would not have a single answer or suggestion for you.   We may not have answers but the workers have enjoyed over 3 gallons of our water.  That being said, ever thought about clean drinking water?  When something happens to our water supply in the States there is a boil warning on the television and we all know it will be fix in just a few days.  In the UAE you do not drink from the tap because of the waterlines, you must buy bottles and jugs of water.  You can brush your teeth with the tap water and you can wash your produce with the water but you don’t drink it.  Also, every room in your home with a water source has a big drain in the middle of the floor just in case the sewage lines back up… yes you read that right.  It has not been a problem in the bathrooms and I have heard that it most likely never will (cross your fingers) but the kitchen is another story.  I have named the kitchen drain the “HOLE FROM HELL”!  

This hole might be the death of me… I am trying to figure out its behavior and patterns but I do not have them down yet.  All I know is you cannot run the dishwasher and dump anything down the sink at the same time or do dishes in the sink and drain all the water at once.  Oh, and if you do… he will let you know!  GURGLE GURGLE GURGLE and yep, up comes the water all over the kitchen floor, food and all.  I did not mention before but there are no garbage disposals in the UAE because it doesn’t work with the water drainage.  I want you to pay attention to how many times you dump things down the disposal tonight while cooking and after dinner and then you can send me your sympathy!  We had a little occurrence last night with the HFH… nothing a mop, a bunch of towels, a good husband and one well scented candle couldn’t handle.  Hopefully the HFH will realize he is no match for Team Cumberworth and we will break him before he breaks us!  

Moral of the story is don’t take the little things in your everyday life for granted… especially the US’ water/sewage systems!


  1. Beautifully written. My travels in Rome reinforced the beginning part. They were nicer when they found out we weren't Bush supporters though. Go figure. Good luck with the HFH!!!!

  2. Too funny! Welcome to learning to navigate in the UAE.... the things that are frustrating far outnumber the things that are pleasant, so focus on the pleasant and try not to let the frustrations get you down! Let's get together really soon!


  3. no wonder the stress rash is getting worse...

  4. Our first house in Austin had a sewer line that we swore went uphill to the street. Backups were common and frustrating so I feel your pain.

    I've always thought I would have loved a drain in the middle of our breakfast room when you kids were little. I could have just brought in a garden hose from outside and hosed down the floor and walls on a regular basis. Maybe you can clean your kitchen floor that way....oh wait, you don't have enough water pressure to do that. Oh well, keep the'll get used to all of this in a little while and life will be great. I hope you're giving Walter and Charlie bottled water too. Gotta watch out for the little boys.