00: Expatriation [8 January 2013]

It wasn't until I was waiting to board my short hop from Pittsburgh International to JFK that I remembered the item that was giving me the horrible nagging feeling that I had left something behind. On my way out, I had mentioned this to my roommate who assured me that the feeling was both unavoidable and unjustified. I suppose for a trip of this magnitude, it was true, and at that point nothing of great consequence could have possibly been left undone.

I've been on and off the phone with my parents during most of my layover here in New York, because as far as they're concerned, I am going to the moon for all eternity, rather than just spending four months on the Arabian Subcontinent. One of their main voiced concerned was whether or not I had packed any Chinese seasonings, or if I was just going to eat 'Arabic food'. I'm sure that concern reflected many more unvoiced ones.

Blogs tend to encourage narcissism and excessive naval-gazing, and though the newsletter format is gaining popularity, it feels a little too formal for my tastes. Nevertheless, people have expressed an interest in hearing about my adventures, so here we are. I can make no promises, or even guesses, as to the frequency, content, or quality of these updates, only that they will probably happen sometimes.

The Admiral's Club provides free food, booze, and caffeine to all members and invited guests. A one-day pass costs $50, and while I am sure I can consume at least that much in baked salmon and Glenlivet, I am glad that it is just another perk of this job. The receptionist seemed sincerely giddy that this was my first time in the lounge and gave me a properly excited rundown of the amenities. This appears to be the first in what will probably be a long line of amenities. I am sitting next to a fellow who has one glass in front of him for every type of wine offered, and I am tempted to follow his lead. However, I decided that staying awake for the duration of my twelve hour flight to Doha will be the best way to minimize jet lag, so I will exercise restraint.

I've been asked if I'm excited, ready, or nervous, and the answer as it currently stands is none of the above. The one thing I forgot to pack was my well-loved pair of swimming goggles, so If I decide to hit the lap pool in my housing lot, I suppose I will have to purchase another pair. I am glad that the one object I forgot was such an inconsequential one, though, and I hope the trend of not making major mistakes continues.

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