Thursday, June 30, 2011

First World/Third World Problems

In moving from DC to my new expat life in Guinea my standard of living has both risen and fallen at the same time. On the one hand, I now have a house with a yard and a car and a place to park it. I will have a housekeeper and maybe a cook once I get around to finding them. In my DC life these were unimaginable luxuries I never could have afforded. On the other hand, basic things I took for granted in DC cannot be gotten for love or money in Guinea, such as reliable electricity and internet service that doesn't remind me of 1998.

This means I now have more First World Problems, a term I love because it allows me to simultaneously complain and acknowledge how lucky I am. For example, last week I was sorely vexed because Pottery Barn was sold out of the patio chair cushions I want for my conservatory. Yes, my conservatory. That sure as hell is a problem I never had in Washington. In addition, I am getting new experience with Third World Problems, such as waking up on Monday morning with no electricity in my house.

But I have also discoved a hitherto unknown category of First World/Third World problems, when the two worlds collide. My haircut is supremely First World - it requires two separate electrical appliances to beat it into submission - so when that Third World no-power problem rears its ugly head I have no choice but to rear mine. It's irksome to not have lights in the morning, but even more so when it means one will have to represent the United States of America on television with one's best no-electricity-at-my-house-this-morning hairdo. Let me tell you, it was not pretty.


  1. HMMMMMM! Must work on that slicked back with a few twizzle DO! Keep a supply of strong hold gel, pony tail holders and few carefully arranged twizzles for the next emergency hair day and pump up the make-up to compensate.

  2. i love it. we are starting on a project that attempts to take a crack at the 3rd problems. yet when we brainstorm, all the problems that we come up with seems to be first-world problems. and so i came across