Friday, June 14, 2013
Tonight is the first of several farewell parties that friends and colleagues are very kindly throwing for us, and I couldn't be dreading them more.
I mean, it's terribly nice of them, and in this part of the world goodbye parties are actually rather important, as you have to find some way to use up your liquor cabinet (since you can't legally ship the stuff without all sorts of bureaucracy) and there's no way on earth people are coming into our house, what with the boxes and the general chaos, so we're taking the Champagne. Tonight's do may not rise to the giddy heights of Dorothy and Lorelei's memorable bon voyage, but I'm sure we'll have fun.
Still, there's something about these little fêtes that throws into sharp relief just how artificial and temporary some aspects of expatriate life are. When you have heartfelt bon voyages every two or three years, they start to become a blur. You know that however pleasant people are and how much you've enjoyed knowing them, you'll likely never run into any of them ever again, and the brutal truth is you won't really mind all that much. Oh, there will be half-hearted declarations that "You better settle in fast, we're coming to see you!" or "Don't worry, of course we'll be back in the Sandlands before you know it!." They won't, and we won't, and we all know it.
On top of all that, recent weeks have only clarified what Mr. Muscato and I have known for quite some time: we really don't like it here. Don't like the place, don't like the climate, and don't like the people (including more than one or two who will assemble ce soir). Why? Oh, reasons large and small, ranging from the goddam humidity right up to things that were I to write them while still in country could likely get me arrested (in itself one of the things that could disenchant one about a place). Perhaps I'll go on about some of that side of life in the Sandlands once we've shaken the dust (and never was there a figure of speech so literally true) of the place from our heels.
But in the meantime we'll take time out from sorting the silver and finally going through those drawers in the guest rooms to clean up a little and make nice with people who, in just under a week, will become occasional Facebook irritants or half-remembered faces in photographs (some of them taken, in fact, tonight). Wish us luck.
Image stolen brazenly from Tom and Lorenzo's immortal recap of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, part of their much-missed Musical Mondays series. Since I seem to be so grumpy today, why not go over there and guarantee yourself a little much-needed levity?