Monday, October 01, 2007

The End Is Nigh

"The End Is Nigh"... I really must stop writing in clichés. Earlier today I was re-reading my Ramadan post and found no fewer than three in a single paragraph:

"...most Saudis spend the evening shopping like there's no tomorrow. Shopping Malls heave, traffic is fierce, and every restaurant in town is bulging at the seams. Many (although I'm sure not all) expats avoid the evenings like the plague, as the stress just isn't worth it, but of course there's very little shopping to be had during the day either..."

I was warned against this in my recent creative writing course. I guess it's a habit I'll have to work at, but there's something about them that attracts me. They're clichés because they're so often used, but the reason they are so often used is that they are good. Good descriptions/analogies/metaphors that get it said; that convey a feeling or an image successfully. Why would I spend time coming up with a brand new way of saying something that is so well established by a cliché? ... to be original I suppose. Perhaps the avoidance of cliché matters less when blogging about real life than it does to the novelist, but then if I want to become a novelist one day (which I do) then shouldn't I be training myself into better writing habits?

Enough. I'm sure you don't want to hear my internal bickering any more. What you really want to know is, why 'The End Is Nigh'? The end of what?

The end of our lives in Saudi Arabia, that's what.

It suddenly hit home to me the other day. We have only eight weeks left in "The Magic Kingdom" and then we're off for good, or, as the expats here call it, we're "Going Exit Only" -- meaning we exchange our Exit/Re-entry visas for an Exit Only one. Karen's tour is coming to an end and we have so much to do between now and the end of November I'm sure the time is going to simply fly by. Little everyday things are now starting to poke me into realising that the life we've grown accustomed to here is about to finish: I recently re-joined Not The Riyadh Choral Society after the Summer break they didn't have, but I won't be here for the Christmas Concert they're not planning. Folks at the Embassy are getting together to plan this year's Panto, but Karen and I don't attend the meetings because... well you get the idea.

It's all starting to overwhelm me -- thinking about what we have to do logistically but also beginning to reflect on our time here, the friends we have made, and the memories that will stay with us forever (is that another cliché? Sorry.)

From here on in you can expect our preparations for leaving to dominate the blog, as they will be dominating our lives. Am I even going to have time to write about Karen's next job, selling the car, trying to close the Saudi bank account (not to mention getting the money in it transferred to the UK), holding a garage sale to get rid of our junk pre-owned treasures?

I will also try to make time to review some of the highlights of the last two years and reflect on what this adventure has meant to us.

Better go and do some work now: Duty Calls! (Dammit!)

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