I left the United States a year ago to come live in Qatar, located on the Arabian Gulf, next to Saudi Arabia, about 275 kilometers from Iran. In that time, I’ve acquired some habits I’m going to have to overcome when I return to America. Here are but a few: 

– Tipping no more than 10 percent. 

– Not recycling. 

– Free valet parking. 

– Fearing the wrath of custodial staff if I try to dispose of my empty tray at the food court. 

– Driving on sidewalks (this is not an exaggeration). 

– Wearing, at most, a fleece while walking outside in January, even at night. 

– Expecting full-service at all petrol stations. 

– The phrase “petrol station.” 

– Paying fifty riyal (13.50 US dollars) to fill the tank of a gigantic FJ Cruiser. 

– Assuming that every driver on the road will not obey traffic laws, thus freeing me to do the same. 

– Going out for Lebanese fast food. 

– Abandoning grocery carts in the parking lot wherever. 

– Paying for everything in cash. 

– Dropping three hundred on a fancy, schmancy dinner for two and thinking that’s a really good deal 

– Spending four hours at a table during dinner. 

– Cutting in line, not out of rudeness, but out of sheer necessity. 

– And the metric system. 


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