Shifting Sands

The world is changing quickly.  The sands we stand on here are ever shifting and feel more charged than before.  I bought my first Niqab the other day with one of my best friends.  She wore it after shopping and said the anonymity of the experience was liberating.  It feels deliciously ironic to state that wearing a full face covering is liberating but after a year and a half living under the constant, sometimes penetrating glare of Saudi’s and expats alike it sounds beautiful to slip below the radar.  

We were under lock-down for almost four weeks.  The compound walls got very close and I was happy to escape for two weeks for spring break.  You become so quickly accustomed to Saudi that leaving seems to be like opening the doors at the beach when you arrive.  The sounds and the smells and the light are intoxicating.  You unlearn some of the habits you have grown accustomed to here. And it is weird because you catch yourself unlearning at random moments; putting up 5 boxes of cheerios and leaving with only one, worrying about a male staring at you as an indication that your body is showing and then a lady in a bikini strolls by, and marveling at cars staying in their lanes.

In many ways it is getting harder and harder to return to KSA.  The uncertainty of our predicament here, the willingness to leave the freedoms of the world behind for the confinement gifted to us by this country, and, in my case, shouldering the yoke of unquenchable responsibilities.  I can fully understand why international relocators classify Saudi as an ‘expert’ level assignment.  You can certainly survive it, and if you are in the right compound possibly thrive here, but you will certainly leave with more lines and cracks in your body and your mind.  67 days until summer break, counting down the days.