Leaving, Final Chapter
"Maybe you had to leave in order to really miss a place; maybe you had to travel to figure out how beloved your starting point was."
I've had a lot of people lately ask me how it feels to be leaving the country where my husband and I have lived for the past two years and I find that I'm usually left being very non-committal to my emotions. "Welllll, you know, kind of sad and kind of happy and kind of nostalgic and kind of excited," I can be found saying. And, to be honest, that really is the truth. When you're living an expat life, you come to be quite fond of this traveling, outsider-esque feeling and you are definitely mourning it when you leave. However, because you are someone who loves, craves and needs an adventure, you find that even going back to your own home country for good is, in itself, an adventure.
As the days are counting down to time for us to leave Qatar forever, I find my mind shifting to our next chapter. That is not to say that I won't miss our friends and our life that we've created here. I'll miss it all terribly. I'll miss the food and the beach and just being in and discovering this small and strange country. I will also definitely miss the ease of travel. Since we've been in Doha, I have traveled to 10 countries! For that I'm super thankful. I'm also so glad that Justin and I got to spend our first two years of marriage abroad because I feel like it brings you closer and you realize you and your spouse can make it though anything. Especially after you've bought the wrong size trash bags for the 15th time and you feel like you're going to scream.
To be honest, I feel like these past two years have taught me so much about myself as someone newly in their thirties, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend and a teacher. I feel like our marriage grew here and we learned a lot about having a healthy relationship. I learned how to stretch myself as an educator. I learned who I do want in my life and I feel, more importantly, who I DO NOT want in my life. I learned how privileged I am just because I was born in America and I've become thankful because of that. I've learned how to travel fully and currently on how to be more present. I learned how to handle constant change and transition with ease and to go with the ebb and flow of emotions instead of fighting it. I've learned how to have a lot of fun in strange situations and also to literally go to the bathroom anywhere. That is a talent, people. I have seen some precarious toilets and I've learned how to negotiate them. I'm putting that on my CV.
And because it's nearly impossible to fully and completely explain what these two years have meant to me, I've made a video. Of course.
So, as we pack up our apartment into four bags and get ready to travel halfway across the world to new adventures, I am left feeling overwhelmed with thankfulness at everyone who kept up with us, emailed, messaged, sent boxes, called and just generally showed their support during our time abroad. It has meant so much to us. Also, thank you to those of you who have fed us BBQ and bacon when we went back to America during our breaks. That's super important to our wellbeing and mental health. For reals.
I'm going to miss you guys so much. I will definitely see you again. Definitely. Thank you for being part of my Doha family. I am going to miss our expat life so much but I will NOT miss construction at 5am. That can bump off. For real, y'all. 5 AM!
I'm also going to miss karak...precious, precious karak. *looks on Pinterest for karak recipe*
While this blog was originally meant to document our time abroad, I've become attached to it which means I'm going to continue posting about our travels, what it's like to integrate back into American life and what it's like to leave again (JUST KIDDING). Whew. I could hear my mom from here as she read that.
Keep traveling, friends!