I was heading to my departure gate for my flight to Dubai (second last leg of my flight journey to Riyadh) and met a really cool guy, Karan (pronounced KAH-run), who was on his way to Mumbai. We were chatting and I mentioned to him that I was going to Riyadh for work and during the conversation that ensued I couldn’t help but think of how quickly everything happened to get me to this point in my Saudi Arabian adventure. Not just how quickly it all happened but also all the events that actually brought me here as well as all the people who came together to help make it happen as efficiently as it did. And so this, my dear friends, family, and blog readers, is the Thank You Edition of the “Leap and the Net Will Appear” blog. (I must pause in the writing of this blog to mention that my nice flight attendant, Carlo, just asked me if it was okay for him to lay out my sleeping pad onto my seat so that it will be more comfortable for me once I decide to lay back and rest during my flight. I love Carlo. Stay tuned for my Emirates Flight blog entry).
Gratitude has become a main staple of my life and my well-being. It goes without saying that my life is truly blessed. Even before this opportunity to travel and work in Riyadh came along, my life was truly blessed. There may have been rough days, and there most likely will be more rough days to come. No matter what, I can always find things to be thankful for regardless of how small or miniscule they may be. As far as I’m concerned, many of the circumstances that create the “roughness” in my life are really just first world problems. And as my friend, Liz, often says when random troubles get her down, “I should feel lucky that these are the problems I face in my life.”
Luckily for me, the last few weeks of preparations for Riyadh really went quite smoothly when we consider how quickly everything had to happen. One thing I noticed during the time leading up to my departure is that I never really felt the need to be nervous about moving there. There were a few reasons for this. One being that I had a number of friends, namely Crystal, Carleigh, Vicky, and Jen, who got me in touch with some absolutely wonderful people who live near Riyadh, namely Michelle, Danielle, Walter, and Lana. These friends of friends have been absolutely lovely to help me prepare for my trip and my move, and also made me feel as if I would be welcomed with open arms to visit them if I ever felt the need to get away and be with some Canadians again. Thank you for this, all of you!
Canadians in the Middle East aren’t the only people who have waylaid any potential nervousness about my move. Through the miracle of Google I found a fantastic social networking website set-up specifically for Expatriates that live around the globe called InterNations. I signed up hoping to get tips and tricks from the articles and forums on the site. I got just that and more. It didn’t take long before I was chatting with people from all over the world who are now living in Riyadh. My new friends, Omer, Saleh, and Evelyn have been great to give me advice. And, of course, Ridwan, who has become the ultimate guide for all the answers to the most miniscule questions that I could possibly have thought of from finding groups to bike and hike with, to getting me the contact information of fellow Canadians that he randomly met, to coaching me on how to dial an international phone number.
It’s not just the things that have happened recently that I’m thankful for. There are a lot of things that have happened over the course of my life that led me to this opportunity. And this is where I thank my parents for the independent attitude that they encouraged in me. Even though I’ve thanked you guys for this in the past I never realized how important it actually would be until now. You allowed me to be the independent person I was born to be. You always knew to just get out of my way and let me exist in the way that best suited me. Yes, luckily for you, I did a pretty good job of structuring my life into a nice little niche of school, ambition, and fun. I suppose it would’ve been a bit different if I structured my life around drugs and debauchery…. although I’d still be nurturing my independent soul, so all would not have been lost. I digress. Back to my point, I learned early on how to figure things out on my own. If this skill had not been instilled in me, there’s a good chance that I wouldn’t have leaped into this opportunity, mainly because I wouldn’t have known from past experience that the net always shows up whenever you need it. Thanks, Mom and Dad.
Of course, my family and friends back home must be thanked for the massive amounts of support through notes and e-mails and Facebook comments and reminders that I was being prayed for. I often thought through my preparations to leave that, if we harness the amount of energy being put into prayers for me said by my family and friends back home, the entirety of Cape Breton could have free electricity for at least a month.
How can I possibly mention family without thanking my West Coast parents, Sue and Ken. You both have provided me that foundation of support that kept me grounded when I was so far away from the ground that I leapt to BC from. Thank you for being the people I always know I can turn to when I have no idea what to do or where to go. Sue and Ken, you are peace-of-mind incarnate.
By leaping from my Cape Breton home to my British Columbia home I found a whole other family. You, my dearest and most fabulous friends, are the people who made my move from my home in Williams Lake so smooth. Thank you, Cristy for taking care of my lovely Sky while I’m gone. Thank you, Randy and Linda, for giving Jared and Chai a comfortable and loving home. Thank you, Rayna for taking care of all my mail and the selling of my car (and sweeping up my shredded paper, and for loading movies on my flashdrive, and for helping me through my last days at work, and, and, and....really, Rayna, it could go on forever). Thank you, Ed for getting me to the airport safe and sound and for the fun times snowboarding and eating and bonding during my last day in Canada. Thank you, Malgosia and Christina, for helping me find my abaya and hijab and for supporting me through my stress over the Christmas holidays. Thank you Ken, Randy, Jenn, Dave, Monica, Juliana, Parker, Gavin, and Lilly for helping me move all my stuff into storage. And, of course, thank you, Megan, for packing my kitchen, helping me to clean my empty and echoing house, organizing my going away party, and for taking me out on a tear for my last night in Williams Lake….and for just being a plain and simple absolutely fantastic friend.
And then there are the friends who simply made sure that I felt loved and that helped me to realize that I really did put down roots in Williams Lake (and in BC as a whole) and that it truly is my home. I know this because you all have told me how much I will be missed. Somehow, I made enough of an impact on your lives that will cause you to feel a loss when I’m gone. While this can be looked at in a sad way, I like to look at it in a happy way. I know that you all have touched my heart to such an extent that it will allow me to hold all of the love you’ve shown me close to me no matter how far away I am. But it wasn’t until now, with me leaving, that I realize I’ve touched your hearts as well. Thank you for letting me know this.
And thank you, British Columbia, the amazing province that has become my home and that I’ll be coming back to. I’ve experienced five years of exponential growth both in goodness within myself and goodness within my life while living in BC. There’s no place that I’ve ever lived that’s made me feel like I’m truly home. I’ve tried to put my finger on exactly what it is about BC that makes me feel so wonderful to be there and that allows me to grow so freely and so lovingly, but I can’t ever figure it out. I’ve resolved myself to the fact that I’ll probably never pin-point it because it’s not the specific things about BC that make living there so amazing. It’s the collective greatness of all the little things, like the trees, the expansiveness, the mountains, the lakes, the ocean, the rivers, the wildlife, and the people that hold my heart, that keep it safe, and that always will.