where the writers are
Things I do in Other Countries I don't do at Home

What I do in other countries that I don’t do at home:


Drink something every time someone offers it, even though their hands are dirty

Wear a seat belt on the bus especially right before the checkpoints

Check Facebook more than one time a day to see if my post was removed

Carry groceries in black plastic bags inside of my shopping bag

Take whole milk in my cappuccinos

Pay cash

Tip on top of the service charge

Trust strangers

Eat carbs-- actually just Arabic bread with ful and humus

Allow myself to be overcharged after it’s obvious I don’t speak Arabic

Wear long, longer blouses, really wrinkled

Get dirty feet wearing closed shoes

Wash my dirty feet often on the white towels, sorry

Lose track of the denominations of the money in my hand, hold a palmful of coins toward the cashier, hope she’ll help out and not cheat me

Eat a thick ice cream bar, then regret it

Fill my water bottle with tap water which is cleaner than my water at home

Let the vendor choose my mangoes

Eat watermelon with salty cheese

Forget my return ticket details and check them at least every 3 days

Make friends with strange dogs

Admit my sad addiction to Skype and Skype to go phoning

Talk to people who are not in my room

Go out just for a drink, although it’s always coffee or tonic

Watch foreign movies from my balcony

Hold my camera low while I shoot the streets

Allow other people to pay for my food, all the time although I beg to contribute

Let spiders walk across my room and hopefully out the window

Sit on the patio with my computer

Buy food from children in the street

Write blogs often

Take an interest in strange babies

Shoot pictures of plants and flowers in nurseries and gardens

Dress like a settler

Buy crosses near the church of the redeemer

Listen to 80’s rock in cafes

Use bread instead of silverware

Work out late in the afternoon when the sun is on the other side of the house

Speak broken English

Watch friends smoke without making a smarmy remark

Notice stone balconies and iron bars on windows

Stand at the roundabouts looking in each direction

Remind myself not learning Arabic was the biggest mistake of my life