Everybody's got a price, they say.
Mine is apparently $7700 a month.
I'm leaving for the Sandbox in a few hours, where I'll start a one-year contract as an English teacher at a big corporate job.
I don't particularly want to go, but that kind of money at this point in my life is pretty much impossible to pass up. If we can define "selling out" as doing something you don't want to do, only for the money, then I'm selling out.
This is the first time I've ever felt like that. I'm feeling fairly low, actually.
The last Saudi job wasn't that bad at all, and I desperately wanted to get away from my frantic, self-destructive social life in Russia. Working only 20 hours a week and getting more than 3 months of holiday a year, it barely even felt like a job. It felt like a very profitable rehab.
Now though, I'd be better served, psychically, by going somewhere more lively. I'm beginning to enjoy solitude far too much.
This new job has six weeks of vacation, but two of them come at the end of the contract, so it's really only four weeks. (That's still quite a bit, compared to most people, I guess.)
Geographically it's not far from the place I was before; one of the nicer parts of the Kingdom, near the beach but also near the big refineries. There are still a few people I know in the region, and Crazy Bob and Chuck from VODKABERG are working nearby in the Emirates.
So, America, and my attempt to start a "normal life" was an epic fail, for the most part. The girlfriend failed to get a visa and we failed to work out some other alternative. I failed to make any kind of meaningful re-connection with my home country.
But also interesting are the other things I failed at:
I failed to start drinking again -- I've tried several times and am always relieved to stop again, as my body just can't take it. My body just rejects it, as a similarly-aged colleague phrased it.
I failed to become a middle-aged whoremonger -- Maybe it was just that I'm not overly attracted to Latin / Caribbean girls, but I had absolutely no desire to indulge myself in them. Ukraine didn't do it for me, either.
I failed to become a sugar-daddy, in the yet-to-be-described incident in Greece with the 25-year-old Russian girl.
Still, by most standards, it was a pretty good year:
I supported myself pretty much entirely on e-book earnings, so I still have almost all of the money I brought back from my first tour in the Kingdom;
I spent 3 weeks in Cyprus, 5 weeks in Costa Rica, 3 weeks in the Dominican Republic, 1 week in Greece, 1 week in the Ukraine, and 3 weeks in Vodkaberg;
I did several new (albeit touristy) activities such as zip-lining, climbing an inactive volcano, and white-water rafting in CR;
I spent a lot of time with my ill parents (they're both doing surprisingly well, actually), and my brother and nephews. (Although, of course, at this point, I've spent far more time with them than any of us would like.)
I trained to a rather advanced level with a handgun, and just completed a tactical shotgun class, although in the wake of all those massacres and the Zimmerman thing, that doesn't feel as cool as it otherwise might have;
I learned how to escape from handcuffs, resist an interrogation, and survived a night in the below-freezing wild in a Survive, Escape, Resist and Evade class;
And lest you think I've become completely asexual, I had carnal relations with a couple of female Russian acquaintances, one in America and one in D.R., and a few weeks ago went to Miami and had an insane night out at a really awesome strip club with a couple of Russian strippers. (There's a story you can look forward to.)
But indeed, it all does feel a bit flat in retrospect; the only thing outside my comfort zone, at this point, would be getting married and getting a normal job ...
But lacking that ... back to English teaching, and back to the Sandbox. Back to the Desert. Alone. Watching. Waiting ...
Not the hero you need, perhaps, but the hero you deserve.
Or is it the other way around? Oh well. Anyway. See you next week from the Kingdom.
COMING SOON: Interview with Crazy Bob