Wandering around the flea market, you can tell when now-departing expats moved here by the books they're unloading.
Moved Here Ten Years Ago: Lonely Planet Oman, Arabic for Beginners, Desert Trekking, and traditional clothing
Five Years Ago: Twilight, Harry Potter 7, Dubai Red Tape (a guide to local procedures/licenses/etc), and a Cuisinart
Last Year: Wolf Hall, The Luminaries, Fifty Shades of Grey, and school uniforms
Made it 6 Months and Getting Out: Gone Girl, architecture magazines, pots and pans, and every toy their child has possibly outgrown.
Seriously, you can definitely see the calculation of "This isn't worth paying to ship back/this isn't worth the suitcase room" as people unload their old stuff. We also have Dubizzle, the local Craig's List equivalent, and I accidentally bought a desk. I thought I was going over for a bookshelf, but the seller thought I wanted the desk and chair, which were already in pieces. I'm considering it a sign from the gods to write more.
I haven't been around LJ for awhile, but I have been writing other places. You might like:
An article I wrote for The Writers Bloc on the editing process. It includes some steps you can take to reduce the amount of editing you need, and explains why professional editing is expensive.
How I met the Buddha and it didn't go well, at Kenyon Review. There's also an audio file if you like to listen.
Also at The Writers Bloc, for the Writers' Other Jobs series, Running Away From the Circus, probably the thing I'm proudest of writing this year - certainly the thing I'm most emotionally invested in.
Where I'm writing the most regularly right now is Instagram. I've been using it as a place for micro-essays, where I can write something short and immediate most days. I'm Guerilla Memoir over there.
Hope this finds you all well and happy - I have a lot of flist to catch up on.