Gazing around the lobby for what might be the last time, the doorman quietly approches from behind. Clearly sensing the emotion bubbling to the surface he says, "We're ready madame. Please .. Make sure you come back to see us." No sooner had he uttered those words that I lost all composure.
Despite some of the difficult experiences I'd had while living in Qatar, the staff at my now former home were always so kind ... Ever present with duplicate key after clumsily locking myself out of my apartment or an unexpected cup of homemade ginger tea after falling ill for months. Their kindness and humanity first welcomed an anxious new traveler nearly two years ago, smoothing over what initially felt like a jarring transition. And now? .... It was all over.
Squeezing into the back of the uber, my entire life fitting neatly into 4 oversized luggages, the tears I'd been fighting for weeks finally came. Qatar, even in my departure, emits feelings of contradiction ... And yet quietly? There's parts of her I still miss.
Hey online fam. This week on the blog I'm answering the question I've gotten since the moment I announced my decision, "Why did you leave the Middle East?" In full transparency? The pieces of my answer remain difficult to pull together. Between a hectic repatriation timeline and the full range of emotions I continue to experience since arriving permanently in the U.S, reflection took longer than expected. Quite honestly? I'm still processing.
For nearly two years, I'd been living a life of freedom in this conservative Muslin country, a concept completely contradictory to the image most Americans are shown regarding Middle East. While my dress was modest, in most cases, I lived in a way many of my young black and brown sisters / brothers back home could only dream of. Bills paid .. Disposable income .. Consistent travel to far flung places .. Gorgeous housing accommodations .. Overseas work with a team that felt meaningful .. Meeting people from around the world ... This life has changed me forever.
Yet with all of these blessings, I chose to step away from it all. The following video, I hope, explains a bit of my decision making process. Enjoy loves and as always, The Journey Continues!