Saturday, December 25, 2010

Aló, aló ¡Sigo aquí!

I've been in Massachusetts since the beginning of September and many things have changed since then. What is most surprising to me is that I have met such a diverse group of people who I have connected with on many levels, sometimes deeply and sometimes only on the surface.

The United States is a place where eclectic people from all over the world meet. It can be refreshing sometimes, because it produces open-minded people. It can be frustrating when others, with a more xenophobic mind, close themselves off to "foreigners" forever. All in all, however, I'm glad I have chosen to come here. Despite the great uncertainties I faced this summer, I find that being brave and following my gut has saved my life. I don't know what I would have done if I stayed in Saudi for this whole time.

Let me ask you a question, now: would it surprise you if I said that I am in the airport, waiting for my flight to Riyadh via Frankfurt? Let me also tell you why you shouldn't be so surprised.

I miss Saudi. I've expressed that recently. I miss my parents, I miss the peace, I miss the culture, and I miss other material things like food or shopping or the TV I used to watch. I'm going back because I was offered an opportunity and I took it. I didn't have to, but I did.

Another thing is that this is the very last time, for a very long time at least, that I will be able to go to Riyadh. The parental home base is shifting. They are leaving this desert for a different landscape. I wish them well, but this means that my time in Saudi is about to end. The desert where I regained my bearings is not going to be my halfway house anymore.

If this is the last time I see Saudi, I'll be very, very sad. Even though I did not have a chance to integrate into Saudi society, I wish I did and I feel like I didn't have a chance. There are a couple of people who I have mentioned before in various places in my blog who I am going to miss a lot. I miss them by being here in the US where it is hard for me to contact them or for them to contact me. What will happen if I do not have a reason to go to Saudi? It's not that I can just take a holiday there. It doesn't work that way...

I also know that when I leave Riyadh this time, when/if I ever come back, the Riyadh I lived in will not be the same, and I will not be the same. I have changed already, and I wonder how that will affect Riyadh when I arrive there (hopefully) tomorrow.

Sitting here, trying to think about what I want to achieve in my last trip to Riyadh as I know it is extremely difficult for me right now, for several reasons. First of all, Logan airport is playing the cheesiest Christmas music ever with some of the most terrible arrangements I have ever heard. Secondly, I am still groggy from taking my medication last night, and I have a severe headache. Thirdly, I keep feeling like I left something at home that I needed to bring with me. Lastly, there are just so many things swirling around in my brain that I can barely piece things together.

A tornado of sand. Spirals of dryness circling in the harsh winds. Dunes being dismantled and recreated in waves. That is my mind right now. I am seeing the unclear desert landscape through a filter through which I can barely see. The promise of being in Saudi one last time is the glare of the sun escaping between the bursts of sand.

Sometimes I wonder if the desert remembers that I still live there. It needs to know that I never leave, that I am always here even when the storm gets rough. It is of my opinion that this trip therefore needs to become a meaningful reminder to the desert, and to me. Let's hope the connection becomes stronger.

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