You moved to Japan. Thought a clean bill of health and a camera could show you the plan…
Minutes to Midnight Maybe the Mayans were onto something when they said there is an ending approaching because I know I’m not the only person whose life has essentially blown up in the last few days leading to December 21st. Sure, there have been times in my life when I’ve felt that I have hit bottom, but little did I know that there were further depths to plunge. For the first time in my life I feel like I am sitting in the dusty rubble of my first 27 years on the planet, and trying to assess if any of the pieces of the past are worth salvaging.
Professionally speaking I thought I was starting to get it all figured out. I had decided I was going to go abroad again for another 1-2 years because I really believe that I need to go back to school and reinvent myself, and in order to do this, I need to get the funds together to accomplish this goal. Since January my sights had been set on Saudi Arabia – and a job that would make a social difference and really challenge me professionally, and a lifestyle that would ensure that I would keep my focus on my ultimate personal goal. However, since June all my attempts at getting to the KSA have met road blocks to the dismay of the universities trying to import me – I even wrote about one of these instances claiming it was the hockey gods intervening with my life LOL!
Since coming back from Japan, I got right back on the Saudi mission, and focused all my attention on getting a job and a visa in time for the start of the winter semester, which is no easy feat since most companies shy away from bringing over Canadians, as the visa process is fairly unpleasant for us in several of these Middle Eastern countries – Yes, there are places in this world that hate us more than Americans!!
Anyway, I finally found a big and reputable organization that was serious about bringing me over to the Kingdom by the end of January. They told me that I would be contacted by one of the Directors, and a few days later I was. The interview and everything went well. I was offered the job and told to expect to be in Saudi by January 12th. I should have been jumping for joy, but something inside me told me not to get worked up over it just yet.
Things seemed fine until it started becoming clear that my new boss was developing an unhealthy preoccupation with me. It started with him contacting me multiple times a day on Skype, but with nothing of importance to say, meaning he wasn’t giving me updates on my visa or anything, and simply just trying to chat. Finally yesterday he really started getting weird and began messaging me purely to tell me that he was showing my picture to all of his friends (FYI for most jobs abroad you are required to provide a photo this isn’t a weird application requirement in case you didn’t know) and that they all thought I should be in Hollywood or a model, and from there proceeded to ask me very personal questions, which I don’t think I need to share, but let’s just say they involved my “intactness.” I obviously didn’t answer and instead reverted to my usual snarling bitch ways. I do not take kindly to sexual harassment.
Living abroad is always risky, and those of us that suffer from the wanderlust try our hardest to make sure the risks we take are as educated as possible. There is a difference between being adventurous and being reckless. In Korea not getting paid by your employer is a common problem. In Japan it is common for your employer to abuse the vulnerability that we all have to some (varying) degree by being uprooted from our home country and culture. In Saudi Arabia there is obviously a plethora of adjustments that we females need to make to our lives in order to even move there – we can’t drive, we must wear abayas in public, we should not be in public unescorted, we can’t date, we can’t drink, and the list goes on. Of course, the real risk in moving to a country like this is that it is so sexually repressed that many men fly into a frenzy of both lust and aggression over a mere photograph of a woman with her hair uncovered. And I mean you remember some of my stories from the way some men treated me (and western women in general) in both Japan and Korea, and in those countries it is fashionable for the local women to walk around in high heels and teeny tiny shorts that barely cover their pubes! Yeah, I was well aware that this kind of thing was going to be at the forefront of the complications I would encounter in the KSA.
So back to my story… Here I am being sexually harassed by my new boss, and I’m not even in the country yet. Yeah, as much as I needed and wanted that job, there is no way I am going to knowingly go into a situation that will likely only escalate when I arrive, and well, I would personally like to not be sexually assaulted – especially in a country that would make it hard for me to contact authorities, or hop a plane unescorted. Obviously, I told him where to stuff his contract and work visa, and then notified his company about the situation.
The company was both confused and horrified. They said they were still interested in hiring me, but that they hadn’t sent the Director to interview me yet because he was currently abroad. My favourite line was when the (female) HR person said, “He is evil. A liar. He is probably a rapist and not a university director!” As it turns out this creepy guy was from another job I applied for (I applied for a lot knowing that only a few would be willing to import a Canuck), and neglected to say which company he was with when he contacted the six of us for an interview. I merely assumed he was from the other one because of the timing of that company telling me they were going to send someone to interview me, and this guy contacting me. Which now makes me wonder if this was a legitimate job or if this was some sort of prostitution ring – Another possibility all women consider, but try not to dwell on when moving abroad. We never really know who will be picking us up at the airport when we arrive on the other end.
So I guess the fat lady hasn’t sung on my potential future Arabian adventures, but the whole incident has definitely made me reevaluate the situation, which, in turn, has blown up my plans for the next 2-4 years of my life. Without Saudi, there will be no additional schooling, or not for a really, really long time, at least. Of course, my professional life isn’t the only thing that has crumbled to bits, my personal life is in ruins as well.
Hockey. For a long time hockey has been my life. Hockey was pretty much my only hobby. Hockey games, my only source of entertainment. My love/etc life has, for the most part, swirled in and around the hockey rink. I can’t even imagine my life before I was seduced by the game that we all love, which is why this NHL Lockout has destroyed what few proverbial pillars my life (as I knew it) still had standing.
Now, I’m not just talking about the fact that the Lockout has physically kept me from watching hockey. There is always hockey to watch, and I get plenty of it. However, the Lockout has killed my will to watch. Sometimes I find myself at a game and I wonder why I’m there. It feels like I’m going through the motions and doing something that no longer gives me pleasure, but because I can’t remember life without hockey, I continue to go due to my failure to find an adequate substitution for my time and attention.
As hockey fans, we have really been introduced to the ugly side of the NHL this season – the side that we always suspected was there, but never wanted to acknowledge. Now this hideous greed is staring us in the face, and we all can’t help but wonder why we waste our money fueling this kind of shit. Now, most of us expected this kind of thing from the owners, but it is probably the behaviour of the players that will do the most damage to the game. The players have really tried to manipulate the fans and toy with their emotions during this lockout. They have begged us to fight their battle for them, to love them, to feel bad for them and their “inabilities” to support their trophy wives and maintain their million dollar homes as a result of being locked out – all while tweeting photos of their Ferraris, wads of cash, their beach front properties, and all of their other “lockout problems.”
Of course, then there are all the “heroes” that fled to greener pastures. The players that made huge productions about accepting positions on teams overseas instead of standing with their NHLPA brethren and helping to put an end to the Lockout. The same players that then returned six weeks later because they “never had a single decent meal” in that big, scary foreign country. Yeah, read what I just wrote about working abroad, and then come talk to me about your lockout problems, assholes! Quite frankly I think the biggest damage of all to the NHL will come from the fact that this lockout has made it extremely hard for us to see the players that we once hailed as role models, as anything more than a bunch of juvenile idiots in Puck Gary hats, who completely PALE in comparison to the hometown heroes of the old NHL.
So this is my life as it stands mere minutes from midnight on the eve of the end of the world. I hate everything I have ever held dear, and no longer want what I thought I wanted in life. 27 years of my life are now in rubble all around me. When the smoke clears I will see if any of the broken pieces of my past are worthy enough to be a part of the foundation of the new and impressive castle I hope to finish building someday. We are now hours away from this supposed Apocalypse. I don’t believe the world will end, but I do know that the first day of my new life will definitely begin tomorrow.
Top Photo: I am, of course, grateful that this unpleasantness with my prospective employer in the KSA showed itself BEFORE I moved there. I attribute this miracle to the fact that I changed my profile picture on Skype to a picture of me at a Xmas party a few days ago wearing the dress I seem to only wear in Lockout years. You men and the colour red! It’s a shitty iPhone picture for goodness sake!