Last month was a month of reflection for me. It was time to make the decision to stay in Saudi Arabia for another year, or to head home to British Columbia as originally planned. It wasn’t just the need to make this decision to renew my contract that got me reflecting, however. It was also because I was finally able to understand, with real coherence now, that I was beginning to see my life in Saudi a little more clearly. Something that definitely became clear was that I always knew I would stay for a second year, but I was too scared to admit it to myself. It was obvious that I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of staying but intuitively I knew it was going to happen. For the first nine months in the Kingdom, I was searching for a way out of this gut feeling telling me I was going to stay. My soul was often so sad and I was blaming Saudi Arabia for all of it and so that feeling of being okay with staying was simply not surfacing.
But the blame for my sad soul can’t be laid on Saudi. Sure, this place isn’t the easiest place to get used to but, like anything I experience, I get to choose how I perceive it and react to it. And, when it came to how I perceived Saudi, I was convincing myself that it was not home, would never be home, and it was just a stopover until I could go back home. How I reacted to it was to reject all possible good experiences as fleeting bits of fun and dwell on all the negative aspects of Saudi Arabia. The funny thing is, I knew better than to do this.
I think the reason that I didn’t recognize that I was sabotaging myself was because I was holding on to BC with a death grip. I just couldn’t let go of all the amazing things happening there that I was missing out on. The road trips with friends, the mountain bike races, the music festivals, the camping, the lounging on the dock at the lake, the bike shop talk, the kayaking, the random outdoor workout sessions, the hiking in our backyard forests. I could go on. When I left BC I had felt for sure that it was my home and that no place could ever be better for me. This is most likely because during my time in BC I healed and grew in ways that I never imagined possible. For me, BC is a place of clarity, peace, and love. It is has a heart that wiggled it’s way deep into my soul and psyche. It put me on a frequency so high that only good things could ever happen to me there. I was sure that BC was the best place for me and that I needed to get back there, ASAP.
Yet, who am I to decide that there is only one place in the world that is the best for me? I am only capable of perceiving the tiniest amount of life that is happening in this present moment. My perception is limited by the experiences I’ve had thus far and by what my imaginings entail. In reality, there are no limits for what my life holds for me. So, who am I to say that the only great experiences for my life will happen in BC?
When I talked to my best friend, Megan, about Saudi and my resistance to letting go of BC she promptly told me, “It’s your moral obligation to make money and see the wonders of the world for those of us who can’t. Once you’re done with that, which could be 10 years down the road, then you can settle into a home. Until then, take Saudi by storm.” (After which she bounced into a texted rendition of House of Pain’s “Everybody Jump.” Love that girl!) It’s odd for me to ever feel the need for permission to do something, but I definitely needed it in this case and Megan gave it to me. It was humbling to recognize that, while I often feel like I’ve got shit figured out, sometimes I need my friends to shake things up a bit and show me that I can be just as lost as the next person. Megan woke me up to the knowledge that BC is wonderful, but the world is also an interesting and welcoming place and I am lucky enough to have been given the chance and the means to explore it.
Now, I’m definitely not saying that I won’t ever be back in BC. My heart of hearts feels that home is ultimately there. It just isn’t quite time to go back yet. I’m not sure when it will be time. Heck, I’m not even sure if Saudi will be my last stop before I head back to BC. I want to give myself the freedom to “go where the wind takes me.” This can be difficult because I do have obligations back home. My horse and my cats are there and I often find myself feeling horrible for not being a proper pet owner to them. But, they are being cared for and, somehow, I am keeping tabs on their well-being. All I can say is Thank You to whatever powers that be for my friends who have been so kind and generous to take my fur-family into their hearts and homes.
So, while my fur-family is happy in British Columbia, it’s time for me to be happy here in Saudi and wherever else I find myself in the world. And I am happy here. Finally. I’ve stopped resisting leaving BC behind and I’ve accepted Saudi Arabia and the world surrounding it as a place that has a welcoming heart and is well worth exploring.