Last night was one of those weird moments in expat life, where it all seems to become very real. We sat watching our XFactor & Strictly catch up, snuggled on the sofa just like any normal Brit Sunday night. It’s moments like this we could quite literally be anywhere in the world and you forget that you are in this random corner of the Gulf . Then something happens that jolts you back to reality and you think shit!
Just as Simon Cowell was going into one of his famous critiques, we both heard a random noise. I can’t really describe it but it wasn’t anything major, in fact Hubby thought it may have been a bit of rain. Then that noise was followed by a really loud creaking, cracking, like the building was about to collapse. We both shot off the sofa, with Bruno Tollioni over enthusiasm, to only feel the floor shake under our feet. My heart at this point was thumping out of my chest and we just stared at each other and I said
The building just bloody moved!
Then another shake and a noise, which this time had us leg it to the front door! Then nothing. We stayed in the confines of our hallway, seeing if anyone came out of the neighboring apartment or anything obvious that may have caused this Stranger Things style moment (Thank god we weren’t watching that I think I would have seriously bricked it!). Hubby then saw some workmen come out of next door and declared, that it may have just been them fixing the air conditioning or something which made out apartment creak. I quickly said
You think!? How do you explain the whole building moving?!
So I did what anyone does in 2017….I hit Twitter, Facebook and our desert girl group Whatsapp, simply typing WTF?!!!
Within 3 minutes I had confirmation, that we had experienced a shockwave from a 7.6 Earthquake on the Iraq Iran border. We were in shock, freaked out and feeling very sick and dizzy (which apparently a few of us experienced). Facebook messages were flying around the desert girls, checking everyone was ok and one of the group, who’s previous expat life was Japan based, gave words of wisdom and advice regarding this incident.
So eventually we decided to go to bed and try and get over the drama that had unfolded, in the midst of our quiet evening of singing & dancing. The morning after the night before, we reflected on what had happened and the news that 400+ people that died in the epicentre of the quake. Whilst our experience was scary enough, I couldn’t imagine being in the heart of that force. Terrifying.
Then the reality hit.
I guess there is something about living here, which I have become desensitised to, I don’t think about and I guess block out. We felt something that happened in Iraq / Iran…..we are that close. Roughly a 100 miles in any direction close, to any of the 3 borders. Close enough to feel a shockwave.
I felt the earth move under my feet, but did my expat world come tumbling down?! Of course when we considered a move to Kuwait, I did a little Google of the place and to be honest all I knew of it was the Gulf War, but in that quick Google, you see a tiny country nestled between Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran. Now if we are honest about it, if you REALLY thought about this, for more than a split second, you would freak out and not come. But in true expat spirit, you quickly get absorbed in the opportunity presenting itself, expat forums & blogs give you an insight past its geography and you think its looking even more “normal”, if not a little unusual in choice.
I’ve said it before, that I don’t think have my family have realised exactly where we are. Most thinking we are positioned down by Dubai in a perfect shiny life, so when Hubby sent the earthquake info to his daughter, filling her in on what just happened, she didn’t acknowledge the quake but responed that she had no idea we were sat in the middle of the big 3! This is exactly why I am yet to tell my mum about last night, can you imagine when that penny drops. It’s a reality check and with tensions rising between these nation, you do think what if it does kick off, we are bang slap in the middle of it.
At this moment you drink (which of course we can’t ) or reach for the Valium
However, I can’t freak out about it, it is what it is. I do feel safe and I also know that if anything does get tricky then we will be advised, but for a split second, I did become very aware of where I am in the world. My cliched expat wife exisitance could no longer mask the reality of desert life, this random corner of the world, does not have a random history and reminding yourself of that isn’t a bad thing. It will keep us safer, reconnects you with your host country and makes you realise that this life has challenges you’d never even considered.