Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.


This house, which we've now lived in for three years, came furnished, including curtains. In every room with a window (besides the kitchen), there were these heavy, beige, floor-length curtains. We have since replaced them in a few rooms (the guest room and the majlis), because they were uglier than sin.

The curtains, as they looked in our living room when we moved in.
But we left them up in the living room and the other two bedrooms because while they may be ugly, they are so functional. They block out light really well and while beige isn't my favorite color, it doesn't really clash with anything, either. They were just kind of there, but in a mega, cathedral-like way. This was fine in the bedrooms (see light-blocking properties, above), but for a long time now, I have hated them mildly every time I walk into the living room. And yet, I could never muster the energy to do anything about it.

Until now. In a jet-lag/nesting-fueled fit of "doing something about it," Jeremy and I decided to get rid of those beige abominations once and for all. We were spurred along by the fact that the trees in our neighborhood have grown up enough to provide some privacy between homes, so we wouldn't be faced with the task of removing our beige cathedral curtains only to replace them with cathedral curtains of another hue.

Instead, we took a look at some of IKEA's lighter curtain options. One of my favorite things about our living room is the view it affords of our back garden. And since we didn't need to worry so much about privacy, we could consider some sheer or semi-sheer curtains.

Here is what we ended up with:

I am in love. Open, these curtains do not take up four feet of wall space on either side or detract from the lovely view of the garden. Closed, you can still kind of see the garden but there's enough coverage that our living room is not on display for the neighbors. Jeremy and I are just mad that we didn't do this earlier. The room feels bigger and airier and more connected to the outdoor space just beyond the sliding doors. WIN.

In peripheral news, being back in Sharjah after a month-long absence tends to remind me of the quirky things about this place. Yesterday in the course of running sundry errands around town (aka An Afternoon Grand Tour of Downtown Sharjah), I experienced the following:

1. I had to drive off-road on two separate occasions in two totally different parts of town. These "roads" are part of the grid; they're just made of sand and dirt and rocks, that's all.

2. I was quoted a price (to hem said curtains) in rupees. The fabric/tailor district of Sharjah is a wonder to behold. It is also pretty much India.

3. I communicated instructions to the tailor about hemming the curtains in broad gestures due to the language barrier (I do not speak Hindi). I honestly had no idea what I would be picking up later that afternoon. It could have been curtains cut in shreds. It could have been curtains hemmed down the vertical side. The suspense was intense...but everything turned out all right.

The total cost for hemming the four curtain panels was 40dhs, by the way (a little more than $10), for same-day service. Yes, it would be more convenient to do it on my own sewing machine, which does not currently exist, but the experience of taking things to the tailor district is always colorful and fun and as you can see, I may never need enough cuffs taken in or curtains hemmed to make up the cost of a decent sewing machine.

Anyway. The new curtains are awesome. Thanks to Jeremy, jet lag, and nesting!

The end of the nanny era

Telling the boss