What It's Like Part II
First off, I obviously took a break from blogging over the summer as you can tell BUT I'm back as we're back in ole' Mordor. Uh , I meant Qatar.
Second off, from my last post, my room was packed up for funsies. I did end up staying in my old room and putting everything back where it was BUT it was totally fine because it went quickly and I was able to re-organize and re-label and we all know that I love to organize and label. How am I an art teacher? Aren't we supposed to be messy?
When we had come back in January from Christmas break I had written a post about what it was like to come back to Doha. It was the first time we had left and returned and now, after the second time leaving and returning (albeit for much longer), I can recount to you what it's like to come back after you've all but totally forgotten what it was like to be here.
It's a strange thing the mind does when you change environments. You think you're going to feel a certain way (and you do to a point) but your mind adapts to the change in environments so quickly and easily. That isn't to say that the heart follows suit, however (ATL-->DOH, that is). I was worried I had forgotten to drive. I was worried I would still be speaking in my staccato only-speak-like-this-here rhythm of speech that you tend to fall into when you're speaking to so many people who's native language is not English. I was worried I wouldn't know how to function in American culture and daily life. I was worried I might feel out of place like I was in on a secret that no one else knew yet. I'll let you in on the secret. It's karak. It's what keeps everyone in this place running.
BUT like I said, the mind is an interesting thing and I only spent a few days thinking to myself how strange this green land of tube tops and beer was before I fully sunk back in and was driving my car wearing nothing but a swimsuit and shorts, singing syrupy, junky country songs with the windows down like the rest of 'em.
The things that I noticed upon first arriving back in America was the language. We landed in Charlotte, North Carolina and I could understand everything that everyone was saying and it was totally overwhelming. I'm used to hearing people speak but so much of it tends to be in languages I don't understand (not that I understand many or any, really) that it all turns into white noise. I've come to enjoy it. That buzz in the background that fills up the space but doesn't distract you from the person you're talking to.
I was sitting at a Burger King food court while Justin was consuming his first pork product in months, just listening. I was accidentally privy to a conversation about the merits of being Taylor Swift's "baby daddy". Why, America? Why is this the stuff we think about? And since I was surrounded by English speakers, I could understand all of it!
Once we landed in Atlanta it started to rain. Not just a casual rain but a downpour and I felt like it was welcoming us back to the land of seasons and weather. So naturally the second thing that I automatically noticed was the greenery. It almost seemed too green to even be real. The birds weren't a recording! There were trees that occurred naturally! These are some of the things that you take for granted when're constantly surrounded by them. I know that I did. In a way I'm thankful that I've been deprived of basic nature so that I can fully appreciate it when I see it.
For a few days Justin and I just drove around because we could. Just driving from place to place and through neighborhoods and to the lake and to a park and to our favorite restaurant.
I'm a fairly independent person and having to rely on someone all the time for something like transportation bothers me sometimes. I want to know that I can get myself from here to there without any problem and that's just something that you can't really do here if you don't have your own car. Which we don't. 'Cause it's expensive. Like, super expensive. So I delighted in driving myself everywhere I ever could possibly imagine and staying there for however long I wanted and it was awesome.
I thought I enjoyed driving myself around over Christmas break last year and whew...that was nothing compared to the summer. Justin and I enjoyed it so much that we took an old fashioned road trip through the east coast of America all the way up into Canada to see our good friend Gail.
We camped the whole way up and back and it was so deliciously nostalgic that I tried to burn every scrap of it into my memory. The lightning bugs glowing in the trees. The smell of the hot dogs cooking in the fire. The way the moon looked in the middle of the night in the woods. I wanted to tuck it all away into my mind so that I could pull from it on those homesick days when I'm feeling quite desperate for some comforting thoughts.
Stop it, North Carolina. You're too beautiful.
We also spent the entire summer with Jude being extremely summer-y and we barely had a moment to sit down. The tv basically stayed off and the computers were put away because we had soccer practice, swimming and baseball games to attend!
We all had the most American Fourth of July you could imagine at Panama City Beach as we watched fireworks on the beach while having bbq. As Jude put it, "it was my most favorite day ever" and was filled with sandy feet and country music.
This past summer we spent so much time with family and it was really the thing we realized that we missed the most. Being abroad you begin to understand just how much your family means to you and how important they are and, subsequently, you become acutely aware of their absence when you're away. I've been asked if I would extend my contract and/or move to Dubai to help begin another startup school but I've had to decline on both accounts. Why, you ask? Well, it just isn't worth being gone another two years. While we're trying to remain present and positive and open to our experiences during our last 9 months abroad, we're definitely looking forward to seeing and being near our family again.
Also, Waffle House. We miss it.
So for now we're here in Doha and open to all of the experiences that brings with it, we're traveling as much as we can to the far reaches of the globe (India in a few weeks. yay!) and taking in and learning all that we can about ourselves as individuals and as a couple.
Looking at the tired, hazy sky of our neighborhood of Abu Hamour, I'm not distraught but rather amused at the stark differences between this place and everywhere else. What a contrast and what a blessing it is that we get to experience a place that heightens our experiences and our appreciation of all of our other aspects of life.
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