Musings in the Dark: 2015


2015—It’s A Wrap!!!

This past year has probably been the most eventful of all in terms of new experiences.  I started a new job in a new country, but more importantly, I traveled to Hong Kong, Bangkok, Phuket, Taipei, Manama, Limassol, Rome, and Milan.  An entry in The Expat Diaries is coming very soon.

You hope that each year brings more experience, understanding and wisdom.  For me, it also brings a bit more patience.  I have learned to accept that certain things take time and that one must be in a particular place (mentally, spiritually, and emotionally) in order for said things to happen.  You have to be able to reflect and that has become valuable over the past five years.  Living in Riyadh forces a woman to learn patience, and because things move so slowly over here, there is time to think certain things through.


A Story to Tell

It’s been over a month since I last posted, and probably over a year since I posted something like this.  My new life as an expat has its challenges, and said challenges have kept me away from my writing as a necessity.  But since writing is probably more a part of me than my career choice, you can probably imagine the slow metaphorical death I’m undergoing.  Living in the Kingdom is especially challenging in so many ways.  The only way I can deal with it is to (1) focus on my kids and (2) travel as often as possible.

I’ve said before that I’m living my dream.   As I write this, I am sitting in a lovely hotel in Rome, Italy.  I’m a block from the Piazza del Popolo and maybe 15 minutes from Vatican City.  Italy is and always has been #1 on the bucket list; the first place I wanted to travel to when I was a child.  Momma gave me a globe and I picked out the boot and said I wanted to try it on.

But then my life took a turn—as life does—and Italy became a dream, a mirage.  I spent 20 years of my life as a caregiver and caretaker to my parents.  I watched my friends go out, have fun, date, fall in love, get married, have babies, etc.  My life was different: countless hospital visits, learning how to distribute medicines, understanding the effects of ravaging diseases, surgeries upon surgeries, all while working (and later, going to graduate school).  I had minimal help.  I tried to date, but it was too much.  I knew my parents wanted me to have that life but between caring for them and working, I had no time for myself, and that included self-care.  At this time, I was undiagnosed, so my emotions swung like a pendulum. 


When Reality Hits...

When I was researching information about my current destination, I found a lot of blogs that described this place as relatively okay for women, as long as they're aware of the rules and restrictions.  The emphasis was placed mainly on hobbies and activities, as this part of the world is severely lacking in entertainment and a lot of women are here as trailing spouses for hubbies who work for the oil companies (and thus, don't have to work).  A lot of this info loosely translated to single women, but at the time, I could not find any definitive information on what life is like for singletons.

Here is the pure, unadulterated truth...and if I'd come across this information in my research, my decision to come here would have been quite different.

1.  Western women are assumed to be whores and will accept any man's advances, be they wanted or not.  A man actually said to me, "You're American and you're a woman...why not?"


Review: Sirens

I picked up the first four issues of this sci-fi series, written and illustrated by George Perez. The reason, of course, is Sherita. While browsing in Oxford Comics, the below image caught my eye and I was immediately stoked to see this beautiful sistah front and center in a sci-fi comic book.  Without hesitation, I snatched up all the available issues and asked about the ETA of the remaining two issues.  Of course, I was not able to procure them prior to my departure...and you'll soon learn why I'm not pressed about it either.


The Expat Diaries, Volume II: Riyadh

Well, as mentioned in the last update, I arrived in Riyadh a month ago to start the next phase in my expat adventures.  Of course a lot has happened, but let me see if I can summarize it in a series of points.

1.  A large percentage of Saudi men are fucking fine as hell.  I mean, gyatdamb!!!  Hotties to the left, hotties to the right, hotties up above and hotties down below.  The hotness quotient is as high as the temperature, praise da lort!  We’re not supposed to stare, but I wear my sunglasses all the time so I can eye-fuck at will.  I can’t help it.  I’m a healthy hetero woman and the eye-candy is real in these dry, dusty-ass streets. 



I've been in Riyadh for three full weeks now and finally have some basic needs met.  I'll be covering details in an upcoming Expat Diaries blog post, but I just wanted to poke my head up from what feels like the ninth layer of Hell and say I'm here and I'm in one piece.

It's hotter than the devil's asshole over here.  The other day, we were busting the hell out of 140 degrees, hand to Jesus.  It was so hot that Satan was camped out next to my AC, chugging Dasani.  I mean, I know I'm in the desert and it'll take some adjusting, but sweet gawd...this is the absolute worst.

Settling in has had its ups and downs.  The rules for single ladies over here...they're freakin' crazy.  I mean, there were some things I was fully aware of (and fine with), but then you get here and learn other shit that doesn't make any freaking sense.

I gotta say tho...the ratio of hotties per city block is astounding. There are so many fine ass men over here.  That we are not allowed to mingle with them--much less date--is migraine-inducing.

Details to come soon, I promise.


Update: Rat Queens

My summer of comic books continues with Rat Queens.  Written by Kurtis J. Wiebe and illustrated by Roc Upchurch and Stjepan Sejic, Rat Queens follows the adventures of four female mercenaries who are tasked with ridding their city of supernatural creatures and fall prey to malicious malevolence.  There are two volumes currently available from Image Comics, which I picked up on Amazon.

The first volume, Sass & Sorcery, introduce us to the Queens: Hannah, an elf; Betty, a “smidgen” (little person), Violet, a dwarf, and Dee, a human.  You already know the reason why I’m even bothering to read the series and report on it: Dee.


Review: Bitch Planet

I got hipped to this comic book via Jamie @Black Girl Nerds.  The last comic books I read were Daughters of the Dragon and The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury, which was a couple of years ago.  I am more inclined to books, but the life I live now requires the reduction of weight.  Comics are light and easy to carry.  Anyway, I’ve begun a quest of sorts to find and read comic books featuring sistahs who aren’t superheroes.

Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Leandro, Bitch Planet is a sci-fi comic that pays homage to the women’s prison exploitation films of the 70s (which I love).  In short, women who are non-compliant (and there are countless definitions of the word) in a futuristic society get sent to a prison planet where they are watched constantly and lorded over by men via an idealistic female hologram.  BP isn't a nice place, in case the title didn't make it clear.  

The very idea of men determining what makes women "non-compliant" and punishing them accordingly is horrifying simply because it is something that's happening right now; it's just not a sanctioned practice as it is in the comic.  Sandra Bland, anyone? (may she RIP)  But I digress.

I love the way each issue opens:



Well Dilettantes...I have one more week before I leave Shanghai.  I admit to being sad, as I love this city of random-assness and hard-working natives.  I also admit to becoming spoiled as fuck within the past two years.  Labor is cheap and everybody's on their hustle, so I found myself with a tailor, a housekeeper (called "ayi"), and of course, Trey.

Good Lord, Imma miss that man.  I can't even think about how painful it's going to be to leave him behind...

I will be Stateside for two months and then I'll be heading on to my next destination...Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  Riyadh is about as different from Shanghai as air is from earth.  It isn't a tourist destination and it certainly doesn't cater to the single diva lifestyle, but that's okay.  I am there to work and to obtain specialized training and experience so that I can get the job I really want...either in South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore or Malaysia. Yes, I fully intend to return to the Far East within a couple of years (unless something absolutely unheard-of, unplanned-for, and ridiculously amazing happens).  I love it over here in this part of the world.  I can easily see myself staying here for the next 20 or so years.

What's good about where I'm going is that traveling is just as easy as it is over here.  Europe and North Africa are not far away, and there's Oman (which I've heard fantastic things about), and of course, Dubai...where I fully intend to spend Christmas.

I have not been diligent in protecting my writing time and I will rectify that.  I have so much on my mind, and I recently binge-watched Empire and thus have LOTS to say about that hot entertaining mess of a show.  Please bear with me, as I'm obviously going to be going through some changes over the next six months.  New country, new job, new responsibilities...culture shock.  And I will do my best to report on as much as I can, as there will be plenty to share.

More to come!


So This Happened...

I haven't been blogging much for the past couple of months for several reasons.  The main reason is because I've been super-busy at work and going through the motions of making another significant life change.  It left me with little time for writing and blogging, which I dearly miss and desperately need to unload through to rid myself of these random emotions.  I neeeeeed to write a shortie.  Somebody toss me a prompt.

My time in Shanghai is coming to an end.  I didn't think it would be ending as soon as it is, but life never quite works out the way we plan.  Either way, I've had a blast living in this amazing city and having the adventures that I've had.  There is so much to love about this beautiful, vibrant city and the wonderful natives who inhabit it. I will be quite sad on the long flight home, but satisfied at the things I accomplished.


The Expat Diaries: Thailand

I was in Thailand recently for work and for play.  Bangkok, with a population about six million, is a hectic, frenetic metropolis.  Anytime I left my hotel, there were hundreds of people out and about, walking, driving, riding scooters and motorcycles, taking the MTR, hustling wares, doing all kinds of things.  They were not shocked to see my brown face, as many PoC live and work in Bangkok. 


Leonard Nimoy, 1931-2015.

The Man...erm, Vulcan
A/N:  Mr. Leonard Nimoy died February 27, 2015 at the age of 83.  He touched millions and millions of lives.  May he rest in perfect peace.  Join me in celebrating this highly respected actor and his legendary iconic role.

In memoriam, I'm republishing this post from 2011.


It was the ears.  They did something to me, and to this day, I have a yen when it comes to a man’s ears.  Then it was the sideburns, the fact that he was a Vulcan scientist, and cooler than a polar bear’s toenails.  The eyes, the voice, and the way he veed his fingers in salute; if the title didn’t give it away, then you oughta know I’m talking about Spock.  And let me clarify: Spock, meaning TOS Spock, the character portrayed by Leonard Nimoy.  No disrespect to Zach Quinto’s embodiment, but he can’t hold a candle to Leonard...and I’m sure he knows it.

Gene Roddenberry put a chokehold on pop culture with the creation of Star Trek, and Spock is a masterpiece.  You say, “Spock,” and everyone everywhere knows exactly who you are referring to.  The image that comes to mind is unmistakable.  This character rocked my young nerdy-girl world.  I thought he was the coolest dude I ever saw.  He was smart, sensible, and level-headed.  And did I say he was cool?  Far as I’m concerned, Spock was easily the best character on the show; far more interesting than Kirk.
"A Piece of the Action"

 As a grown nerdy woman, I love him even more.  For us fangirls, Spock represents a near-perfect man, erm, alien.  Most of us would hop a shuttle to Vulcan if it meant we could hook up with him.  We’re of the mindset that he would be an exceptional lover and boyfriend; being a telepath, he would know exactly what we wanted and would bring it accordingly.  Not just talking about sex, either…but can you imagine?

Mirror Spock
My favorite TOS episodes are “Mirror, Mirror,” “Amok Time,” and “The Enterprise Incident.”  “Mirror, Mirror” featured a bearded Spock—and when I say he blew my mind, believe me baby, he blew it.  That beard added a whole delicious diabolical seductive quality and I was done!  Far as I’m concerned, TOS should have made regular visits to the Mirrorverse just so us fangirls could drool over him.  This whole endeavor; the genesis and evolution of Amaya Radjani, born from PinkElegance, is because of Mirror Spock.  I know the Mirrorverse isn’t the best place to be, but I am not the only fangirl who would risk it to get my hands on Mirror Spock.  Three words:  sexy. as. hell.

"Amok Time” had Spock in heat and needing to return to Vulcan so that he could claim his bride and mate with her, in a ritual called pon farr.  Fangirls will give you various interpretations of pon farr, but there are those of us willing to risk it if it means getting a piece of Spock.  His intended bride, a gorgeous female named T’Pring, didn’t want him.  I still don’t know what in the hell was wrong with her; why she chose lame ass boring Stonn over sexy, fine-as-hell Spock eludes me to this day.  I ain’t the only one confused about this.  T’Pring should have had her ass beat for that shit.

Is she CRAZY????
"The Enterprise Incident” had Spock under cover on a Romulan ship, and he was in total pimp mack-daddy mode when he was trying to seduce the Romulan Commander.   I say “try,” but the fact of the matter was that he succeeded admirably.  The poor commander didn’t stand a chance; Spock had her out of her uniform within a scant few minutes.  Of course, TV being what it was in the 1960s, all they could show was Spock having Vulcan finger sex with her.  But us fangirls knew Spock hit it during the commercial break.  And not a one of us would have denied him.

I was happy to see the ST 2009 reboot.  Zach Quinto made an adorable Spock, but when you stand back and compare the two, Zach is Spock Lite.  No contest, none at all.

So I raise a glass of Moscato to Spock, one of my longtime loves, and to Leonard Nimoy, one of the greatest actors of the 20th century.  Your memory will live long and prosper more.


The Expat Diaries: Hong Kong

Circumstances allowed me to spend the past weekend in Hong Kong.  I flew out Friday night on HK Airlines and returned Sunday night via the same carrier. Ideally, I would have spent four days, but this trip wasn’t planned until the last minute.

I hit up TripAdvisor and a couple of other travel websites to find out what I could do in 36 hours.  The answer is plenty.  Hong Kong is a walking city that is very clean and very easy to navigate.  I grabbed a city map at the airport and the travel websites advised getting an Octopus Card, which is basically a travel pass you load money onto.  You can use it for transportation and a lot of restaurants, shops, and stores also accept it.  It saves you from carrying loose coins, which gets tiresome real quick.

My hotel was, fortunately for me, near the central train hub and in walking distance.  With map and Octopus Card in hand, I walked down to the ENORMOUS station and stared at the maps, trying to figure out which way was up and how the trains worked.  The city is tourist-friendly and there are a lot of British “leftovers.”  There are signs literally pointing you in the direction you want to go, labeled with the sights you want to see.  I rode the Peak Tram up the mountain so that I could get a view of the stunning skyline with the mountains in the distance.  The mountains are called the Nine Dragons, and behind them is Mainland China.


2014: It's A Wrap!!!

I've been blogging for five years.  Noob reminded me of this recently and I had to take a step back and reflect.  Five years ago, I was an undiagnosed mess of turmoil, grief and rage.

Two years ago, I was sitting in my Atlanta home, infuriated with the lack of progress I was making towards completing my degree.  I didn’t have a job and was battling a bout of tendonitis in my right hand after spending six weeks entering numeric data into Excel.  I’d actively taken steps to move abroad but nothing was panning out and I was unbelievably frustrated.  I was unhappy, unhealthy, lonely, and I felt like everything was against me.

Fast forward to now.  I live in Shanghai; a city of 26 million people.  My educational pursuits are now directly related to professional development.  I have a job that I love, and the absolute freedom to do whatever the hell I want.  I don't think I've ever been as happy or as content as I am right now. Sometimes I can’t believe it; that I really am back in my little house and dreaming about being an expat instead of actually being an expat.