24 July 2018

I wrote this before we left Riyadh but never posted it.

I’m writing this a few hours before our plane leaves.  By some miracle, I got everything ready to go with six hours to spare.  We need to find a way to eat dinner, and my husband still has to pack his suitcases (and, I fear, he’ll need to go out and buy another suitcase for all of his stuff).  But I am done.

Saudi has not been a place I have much liked living, which is very disappointing since there is a lot to love in this country.  I am leaving with at least as many regrets as good memories, which isn’t ever what I want in any country.  But I couldn’t do anything about it.  I am so ready to move to a place where I am allowed to live my life again.  Saudi sucked almost all of the enjoyment out of the many things I love about living overseas.

I hate the inequality here.  I felt bombarded with stories about friends being accused of crimes they didn’t commit, friends living far from their families, friends leaving the country because of Saudization.   I’m constantly discriminated against.  It’s always very polite, but it’s always, always there.  

The heat is oppressive.  I know, I know, it’s a dry heat, but a heat index of 102 does not beat an actual temperature of 113.  It’s not even close.  And it’s hot here for month.  You get used to it in many ways, but it’s still oppressive.  Like so many other things here.  

So yes, I’m more than ready to leave.  The abaya is in the trash can.  We’ve said goodbye to all of our friends and I hope to see them again someday.  We did end up having to get another suitcase, but it’s manageable.  And maybe someday I can live here again when it’s allowed to be me.

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