Hofuf, Saudi Arabia Last season, during the Leafs first playoff run in 9 years, I was minding my own business, as I skipped down Front St. on my way to a little pre-Game 4 action at Jack Astors, when a random stopped me on the sidewalk. The guy was convinced that I was this Jennifer Lawrence broad, and I mean, he was REALLY convinced. He even thought I was bullshitting him when I told him I wasn’t her. I chalked the whole thing up to blindness, stupidity, or what have you and went on my merry way to a most enjoyable Game 4 experience at the ACC – minus the loss that could have prevented that whole Game 7 debacle… But that’s another story.
However, since Game 4 I have been faced with this Jennifer Lawrence issue over and over again. Frankly, I don’t see it, and, frankly, it pisses me off. Maybe it’s the fact that I have always prided myself on my inability to blend into a sea of 20,000 screaming hockey fans, but I for one don’t like to be told that I look like ANYONE. And I definitely don’t like the idea of being mistaken for someone else, even if she is 23 years old! Anyway, I thought my J-Law sorrows would be over once I left the continent, but, alas, they have followed me to the Middle East. Random strangers and my students at the university all agree, “Miss! Miss! Have you seen the Hunger Game movie??? You look like the Jennifer Lawrence. Tee hee hee!!!”
Sadly, I’m only 3 weeks into my Saudi adventure, and my issue with mistaken identity isn’t the only thing troubling me. Now, this isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve been abroad for the better part of 4 years, so I’m well versed in culture shock and the pangs of home (and hockey) sickness. However, as soon as training camps begin and the boys take to the ice for their preseason tilts, I always start to fantasize about hockey games and rink food.
When I moved to Korea and Japan, I had months to adjust to life without hockey and to actually take the time to appreciate my new surroundings before mid-September rolled around, but with my flight to the Middle East touching down in Bahrain on August 30th, I had a very, very, VERY short honeymoon period in my new home. And let’s just say my upcoming vacation time isn’t helping me quell my dirty hockey-related urges.
Given that society is restrictive here, getting out of the country at every possible opportunity is the key to having emotionally stable longevity for the duration of the contract. Unfortunately, our first vacation happens to be a religious holiday, which means that EVERYONE is traveling and prices are skyrocketing. I had my heart set on European hockey, but if you can believe it, right now, heading back to NHL Land is actually the best deal out there! Well, in places like Chicago and Florida at least, not Toronto, unfortunately. Yes, even better than staying in the Middle East!
I’m half tempted to brave the travel days from hell in order to get a decent vacation and some hockey under my belt, but I’m quite worried about US immigration. We all know how often I get questioned about going to hockey games in the States, even when I’m literally just jumping across the border to go to a Wings or Sabres game before coming back home. I can ONLY imagine the fun I will have with my German birth and Tokyo issued, Canadian passport, while I, a single female, fly in from Saudi Arabia to watch southern market hockey. Yeah, not sure I want to find out.
I guess I’ll know more about my October vacation once my re-entry permit comes in, but for now, to take my mind off of pucks, home, and Lokal burgers, I try to remind myself of why I’m here to begin with. I left because I needed a change. I left because I needed something more than I was getting at home. The grass only appears to be greener now. It’s a mirage. When it comes down to it, no one begged me to stay. Well, no one who wasn’t cheating on his girlfriend at the time, at least. But, more importantly, no one has begged me to come home…