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

The kindness of Rajkumar

When we were in Salalah last month, we had a miserable first night in the hotel. We could hear music and noise from the lobby and there was no bathroom fan or other source of white noise in the room to drown it out. Which is why, the next morning, we a) changed rooms, and b) went to the store to buy a fan for white noise. The fan we owned at home had broken recently, so we needed a new one anyway - we'd just bring this new fan home from Salalah.

However, the store we went to didn't have a tidy, ready-to-go box fan for us. Instead, they only had one of those rotating pedestal fans.

And it was in a box. Unassembled. And it required tools to put together. I'll tell you what, we showed up back at our hotel after a long day of sight-seeing basically AT bedtime, and we still had horribly translated-from-Chinese directions to squint at and this thing to put together with patience and a screwdriver we simply did not have. It was not a happy realization. With heavy hearts, grouchy kids in the background, and possibly some seriously bad attitudes, we phoned the front desk to ask to borrow a screwdriver.

What showed up at our door two minutes later was a million times better than a screwdriver. His name was Rajkumar.

Jeremy had already started to wrangle the various pieces of the fan as I tried to keep the rest of our exhausted family out of his way. Rajkumar came striding in the room with his toolbox and basically asked Jeremy to step away from the fan. He was like a doctor taking charge of a medical emergency. He had a look on his face like, "Everyone calm down. I've done this before." (Or, as I suggested at the time: "It's nothing. I had the tire and the jack. Just be comfortable. It'll be a minute.")

Rajkumar put that fan together in a jiffy. When he left the room, all ease and smiles and sunshine, our attitude had completely turned around. All at once we were ready for bed, and we had a great night of sleep to look forward to, thanks to some white noise from a nice pedestal fan. And a miracle man named Rajkumar.

How to make the best cookie

May 2nd, outsourced