Day In, Day Out

Summer has basically arrived here in the Kingdom, bringing with it endless hazy blue skies and freakishly consistent temperatures. It hasn’t gotten unbearably hot as of yet, but every week the mercury slowly rises, and by the end of May temps will settle around 110 degrees. I’ve been looking forward to the change in weather, especially the end of the dust storm season, but I’m sure the last few weeks of school in June and having to constantly transition from frigidly efficient air conditioned classrooms to blisteringly hot playgrounds will change my opinion.

Following the change in seasons, my life has also made several more than welcome transitions. The warmer weather and longer days has meant more afternoons and weekends at the pool, although with that comes the elderly, much more revealing, and very uninhibited crowd of sunbathers (which isn’t usually a good thing). I’ve been preoccupied catching up in my university courses after falling behind over break, and am now finding a bit more time to relax and focus on things I prefer to spend my time doing. Hopefully that translates to more frequent posting, but as with everything here in the Kingdom, promises aren’t worth making.

By far the biggest transition has been drastically altering my role at work. Up until our spring holiday I had been trying to assert myself as a leader in the school, attempting to make positive changes that would help make life easier for everybody and hopefully prevent problems for the large number of staff members that we hope will arrive for the next school year. I had more than enough gall and ability to get things accomplished, but what I lacked was cooperation. Several weeks of pulling hairs to get even the smallest of tasks accomplished, followed by complete and total apathy by every Saudi staff member, including the V.P, (as well as my completely inept roommate, but more about him later) meant the idea of continuing these particular changes quickly lost what little allure it had. The nail in the coffin was the return of Latifah, whose husband was somehow able to get her back into favorable terms with the V.P. Whether that was through personal influence, family connections, or a very large pocketbook remains a mystery. What is certain, however, is that her incredibly abrasive style of ill-informed micromanagement will be around through at least the beginning of the next school year.  

We were all quite taken aback when we were told of her return, but the positive side of this was the ‘action plan’ she emailed members of the administrative staff, which now includes the Brit (and, by way of bcc, me). It outlined everything she wished to change and the incredibly tentative schedule in which she would implement her ‘grand vision.’ Aside from overloading herself in terms of time and capability, she also asked that everyone who was working on any of the projects in her action plan to stop ‘interfreing’ and give her ‘space to perfrom her majic.’ She has a wonderful way with spelling.

She’s managed to miss every single due date she set for herself while simultaneously burning just about every bridge available to her, and it has all been painstakingly catalogued by myself and the Brit. Initially it was quite frustrating to witness everything fall apart, but for the last several weeks it’s actually been rather fun to watch a self-described ‘experienced, nativized, culturally affluent, master educator’ slowly destroy herself.

For now, I’m left with a fairly empty plate. Following the lead of the Brit and the South African, unless she specifically asks for something using my name, I don’t respond to her, which hasn’t occurred yet (and probably never will). Life has gotten much more relaxed.