Two nights ago Sheena invited some classmates and me to her place for dinner.
At first I felt a little silly at gushing over how BIG her place is, especially for just one person, but then everyone else did too, even so far as to take pictures, so I thought what the hey, I will too.
The old-fashioned doorbell, connected to the front door by a string that runs through the wall.
A flat like that costs almost triple what I pay for my self-catered shoebox of a room in the city center. Nuts!
Also I will say it was the first time I’d seen her without her headpiece (which was off for just the few minutes before the men arrived). She is already beautiful when she wears it, but, it was the first time I can remember being dumbfounded because someone was so pretty. She’s like a real-life Disney princess, no joke.
She had made homemade salmon cooked with vegetables in tin foil and was so good, followed by indian take-out. I was the only American, and there was Sheena, Qatari, three Greek people, two Chinese, and one Polish. Conversation turned to medical emergency services in each of our countries, and I was shocked to hear of the sorry state that Greece’s is in, due to the financial crisis they’ve been in for some time now.
Often in Greece, emergency services will not show up if you call them, and if you go to a (free) public hospital, you will be told to go buy your own medical supplies and bring them back. And I’m told that whether or not you will be seen by a doctor often depends on the size of the envelope you slip him. In Qatar, the situation is not dire like that of Greece, but much of it is based on who you know – your family connections, which run deep.
It made me so grateful to come from a place where, if you call emergency services, you KNOW they will be there, and within a reasonable amount of time. And if you go to the emergency room, you know they will have the resources to help you. It’s a security blanket that I’ve apparently taken for granted. How scary it would be to live somewhere where you don’t know what you will do if something happened. I think it is partially why the Greek people are trying so hard to find work here; they don’t want to go back to that situation. I am of course going to try to find work here too, but it also made me grateful that, if I don’t find work that allows me to stay in the UK, I still have a good, safe place to go home to. We are more blessed there than we (or at least I) realized!
Anyway, it wasn’t all dire talk; a good time was had as well. Someone brought a cake from Patisserie Valerie (on North Bridge yummm). The last time someone brought a cake for someone else’s birthday we didn’t have anything to cut it with, so someone used their university card. We had a knife this time but reminisced.
I know Sheena is very sad that everyone will disperse when summer’s over, if not sooner. I never got as attached, but it was my first time spending time with these guys outside of uni (excepting Sandy), and as we talked I noticed a familiar feeling – like that of sitting around, shooting the breeze with your family. It was nice. A very nice way to come back from holiday.