(84)I Have Iraq In My Shoe: Misadventures of a Soldier of Fashion by Gretchen Berg

Monday, June 11, 2012

I Have Iraq in My Shoe

Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Pages: 400

It is the year 2008 and Gretchen Berg is smack dab in the middle of a personal recession.   She has an exorbitant amount of credit card debt and is facing unemployment when an old friend suggests that she join him teaching English overseas.  Specifically Iraq.

Like any modern day woman would, Gretchen initially scoffed at the thought of going to Iraq for any reason, let alone to teach English.  But as the reality of her situation hits home, she realizes that the large, tax free salary plus low cost of living would equal a relatively quick and easy way of getting out of debt.

We follow this Liberal fashionista move to a country where women are regarded as second class citizens.  To say she experiences culture shock is quite the understatement.  From her desperate search for Diet Coke to her discovery of "Virginity Soap" at the store, we get to experience a Westerner's life in the Middle East.  Written in a funny, introspective manner, I Have Iraq in My Shoe is a wonderful read for "Armchair Traveler" like myself.

I have several friends from the bookstore who have taught English overseas. When I first heard Anna speak of teaching in China I was very skeptical and then quickly turned envious.  In the last five years I have friends who have taught in China, Egypt, and Turkey.  I wish I could say that I was adventurous as them, but I am not, so I just stalk their Facebook accounts for tales of their adventurous lives.

Gretchen Berg's experience in the Middle East is not really one that I would ever experience for myself, but it sure is fun to read.  As I was reading the book there were several times that I thought, I sure wish there were pictures, and what do you know, there are pictures!  I really enjoyed Gretchen Berg and her wits, wisdom, and observations.  If you are an "Armchair traveler" like myself, check it out and visit Gretchen in the Middle East.

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