A couple of posts ago I eluded briefly to being officially branded as crazy here at work. I think it’s time I share what I was referring to in that post.
I had mentioned to my housemates that I was considering doing a solo trip to a town in the mountains and try to camp on my own. I just want to see if it can be done. However I know I’m in a country where I don’t speak the language and it can be easy to get yourself into a tough situation without really understanding why, so if I were to do a solo camping trip I would take some precautions and make sure I wouldn’t be putting myself in any danger. I may be crazy, but I’m not stupid.Anyway, so I mentioned this to my housemates and they started laughing and said “Voce é louco” (You’re crazy). The next day at work one of the HR managers walked past me and said he needed to speak to me at some point in the day. He didn’t tell what about but I assumed it was something to do with my residence visa.
So later in the day I went over to his office to see what was up and this is what happened:
Tonito: Hey, what’s up? You said needed to speak to me
HR: Yeah, sit down. Is everything ok?
Tonito: Yeah, work is good and all. Can’t complain.
HR: Good. Look I’ve heard something about you wanting to go camping in the mountains on your own. I’m not here to control the people who work here but please don’t go and do something crazy and get yourself in a dangerous situation.
Tonito: Good one [Laughing uncontrollably]
HR: I’m serious
Tonito: Are you kidding me? That’s what you wanted to speak to me about??
HR: Yeah. I don’t want to come to work on a Saturday and find out you’re missing.
Tonito: I might be crazy and adventurous, but I’m not stupid.
HR: Ok man, just want you to be safe. Didn’t realize we were going to have a South African Crocodile Dundee crazy guy working here, but as long as you stay safe.
I left his office slightly bemused for two reasons. Firstly, the folks here seems to think of Libya as if it was Iraq. I remember the first trip into the desert I did, some people cancelled as they were scared of being kidnapped… Yeah I know, I laughed as well.
The second thing that left me bemused was how quickly my idea of camping on my spread and reached the ears of HR. This is one big downside of working and living in a large expat community. You start living your own little Truman Show. Everyone knows everyone’s business. I guess this is one of the many sacrifices you make when becoming an expat.
So now that I’m officially “crazy” I guess less people might bug me (out of fear of being dragged on a doomed camping trip in the mountains!)
Finally, I have been collecting an odd array of nicknames here at work. The Portuguese Indiana Jones (I like this one… just need to find a whip and a hat!); The crazy South African Crocodile Dundee (Not too sure about this one… Unless I’ve battled some crocs in my sleep and I’m unaware of it) and my personal favourite Tuareg Tonito. This one was given to me by one of my Portuguese colleagues because he says I spent more time in the desert than the Tuaregs :). These nicknames are a quite a change from the ones I had in my office in London and Abu Dhabi. In London there was buffet of nicknames at my colleagues disposal, the most popular being Jack Osborne, Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill (fat kid from Superbad). I refuse to repeat what I was called in Abu Dhabi as it requires quite a lengthy explanation and I personally did not enjoy that nickname too much.