What do you do?

20 10 2011

When you meet someone new one of the first things you ask is, “What do you do?”  It’s an easy conversation starter and in our culture, our career is so much of our life.  I defined myself as a teacher before anything else, especially in the first couple of years of teaching, because my profession consumed the majority of my life.

In the expat community, the wives are defined by their husband, their home country, their language and the company they are with.  When you meet a newcomer the first questions you ask are, “What company are you with,” or “Where are you from,” and even, “What does your husband do?”  Here, we’re all housewives.  If we asked one another “What do you do,” I think the response would be “Nothing really.”

Today, after our morning walk, we stopped for a coffee.  A girl I’ve known for quite some time now asked me, “What did you do at home?”  I explained that I was a teacher and she told me that she was a petroleum engineer.  I found it so odd that we’ve been acquaintances for so long now and neither of us knew what each other did, or I suppose, used to do.  Then I started thinking, I don’t know what the majority of my friends used to do.  Even the ones I’m quite close with.  Do all of us have these past lives that we hardly ever talk about?

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