Saturday, May 17, 2014

Record shopping in Hamra (Part 1)

Poor Gavin. He arrived to start working for JRS Middle East, moving his life to a new continent, the day the office reached it's breaking point. Welcome to JRS.

My solution was to take him around the city, which is a pretty big joke seeing as how I never go out. I took him record shopping in Hamra, a kind of student district near the American University. We were looking for a record store I couldn't find, records he's never heard of, in a language neither of us could speak.

So breakfast turned into lunch, and a quick shopping trip turned into an all-day odyssey. We were looking for a man straight out of High Fidelity. I say "we", even though Gavin could care less about records. Every music shop knew of this man, but didn't really want to help us because he is so terrible – the type that has records you want but won't sell them, who laughs at your music taste because it's just not obscure enough, who would rather be left alone is his dusty attic shop with his music. We asked another record guy how to find him and he said, "I know where he is, but that man is NOT my friend!"

That's who we were looking for and it took us four hours to find his shop. But the hours of searching allowed me to get out of this rut I've dug for myself. See, when I got here I was so desperately homesick that I shied away from everyone. Living and working with great JRS people saved me from being alone all the time, but I didn't know how to process the constant talk about Syria, and death, and stress and war.

It was getting out in the city, with another foreigner, someone even newer than myself, that reminded me of normal life – not thinking of Omaha, not talking about Syria– but just wandering the streets looking for the curmudgeonly record guy.

Well, we finally found his shop, and it turns out he's in Germany for the week. But at least it gives me an excuse to go back.

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