Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Excerpt from an email

To my best friend, in an email written today, on June 23rd 2010:

"[T]his morning before we left for the airport I felt terrible. I felt like I really didn't want to leave, although only a few days earlier I was saying how glad I was that I'd finally be out of the US. The US, with many of my relatives, college, and friends, also carried on top of me a great burden which has always hard for me to deal with, but especially so this vacation. The transition from American college life in the middle of nowhere to the world of adulthood is more difficult than anything I have ever had to experience in my life. Basically...I feel really really bad right now. I don't want to be in the US. I don't want to be anywhere. However, the fact that I am going back to Riyadh is not exactly my idea of a vacation from my life, either. Although I find peace in the solitude I have there, I am never really alone either. I am constantly under the "sponsorship" of my father. I love my Dad but you know what? I don't want to be associated with anyone else. I want to take my life back and knowing that I need his permission for EVERYTHING in Saudi is extremely irritating.


Wow. I've become so depressing, I am sorry. But well, to let you know, I am trying to use a Freudian mechanism to make my anger and frustrations work for me. I'm starting a blog."

Hey. I'm Khadeja. I've started writing today, right after ending that email. Right now, I am physically on my way to Saudi Arabia. I am actually in the airport in New York City, waiting to board my connecting flight to Dubai. Mentally, I am in a frustrating state of depression and anxiety that doesn't allow me to be positive or happy at this very moment, but that changes from day to day. I started this because I wanted a place to let out all my feelings. I'm really selfish a lot of the time.

However, I'll have you know that when I love something or someone, I love it with all my heart. Like cats -- I love cats. I love cats more than people, to be frank. If I had the money and resources, I'd save every cat I could find and I'd try to give them a happy life. Besides my other ambitions, I'd love to learn veterinary first aid so I could always help a cat in need. Yeah, I can be pretty serious when I want to be. And I am serious about writing this.

What I also want, deep down in my heart, for other people to read about how I am feeling. I know people are interested in that kind of stuff, but they are probably even more interested in knowing about what it is like being a lady in a country that has an oppressive and controversial reputation. I am interested in indulging that curiosity, making this a perfect match.

My parents work in Saudi Arabia for a hospital in Riyadh, the capital city. It's way more conservative than its counterpart, Jeddah, which is a coast city on the opposite side. Trust me to get stuck in the most stuck place on Earth. My Dad has been working there for years and my Mom started working there recently. They like it there for the pay and benefits, but working there (from what I hear) isn't exactly a walk in the park. My parents are pretty private people, especially my Mom, so I don't hear all that much.

For about 7 years, my Mauritian Mom and I lived in Mauritius on our own (well, not REALLY on our own considering I am half-Mauritian - my other half being American, sort of - and I have a lot of family there) while my Dad lived in Saudi Arabia. Although my Dad and Mom wanted to be together, living in Saudi wasn't really okay for my own safety. This was post-9/11 crap - living in Saudi was dangerous because international schools were constantly being threatened by terrorist activity in Saudi Arabia. I guess it makes sense - they target the foreigners, always.

When I was done with the IB exams, i.e. secondary school, I went to Saudi for 9 months. It was boring, but I watched a lot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, which ended up working out for me just fine. I read a lot of books, and surfed the internet a lot. I also got to go to the gym and swimming pool whenever it was open to women or families (which was most of the time, men's hours are actually pretty few, I noticed). However, I was really alone. I got really used to it, and I still cannot decide whether that is a good or a bad thing. After those months, I went to college in upstate NY with an International Studies degree in mind. That did not end the way that I had planned at all. Everything changed. I got accepted to a handful of schools for an undergrad degree in places all over, but I chose to go to the middle of nowhere, which was instrumental in the changes that took place in my general attitude towards life. That part of my life could take up a whole different blog, but I won't do that.

I just graduated with a degree in Art History (or, to be exact, a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts with a Concentration in Art History) last month. I have my diploma and everything - it's beautiful, and printed at the college itself, which is known for its awesome Book Arts program. However, it's not enough to get me anywhere in the world. Now, I am accepted to graduate school near Boston, but I am having problems getting the logistics working out. That is a story for another entry.

I am going back to Saudi Arabia only temporarily. If all things work out with the graduate school I got accepted to, I leave Saudi around mid-August. If they don't, I am probably staying in Saudi for about a year. I'll try and get a job to save some money while I defer attendance. The truth is, there is no way in the current economy that I'll be able to work and save money in the US. In Saudi, I get a pretty good salary that I can keep to myself. In the US, I can't even get a job. What else can I really do? I feel like I barely know how the world works at this extremely crucial point in my life.

I am a 21 year old chick with a bachelor's degree. I don't really have much of a future because I don't even know what I want, and I don't have good enough qualifications to follow my actual dreams which I barely talk about anymore. I don't mind Saudi, but I don't really like it there either. It has a lot of problems, and I have a lot of problems with it. While the people may be awesome on their own, the red tape and political shit is a little too enraging for me sometimes. I have only one hope now, and that is the hope that I can find solace and stability in the country that is far from the land of my dreams.

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