Wednesday, 17 September 2014

How did we get here?

It's a funny story actually. Ok, maybe not so funny. But it began a few years ago. 

Before I begin though, you must understand, dear reader, that I had at no point in my life, ever intended or wished to come and live in the KSA. EVER. In fact, I had a very long list of places I wanted to live in - from Colombia to Tunisia, and even Japan - but Arabia was never even on the list. 

This is mainly because all my life, all I ever heard from everyone in our somewhat warped misogynistic patriarchal society was how it was IMPOSSIBLE to even get here without a Mahram. And having no son, husband, brothers, uncles or really any male relative that I could count on in that sense, nor seeing any potential for that to change, I had long put away any intention or will to come here or to visit any of the holy cities. I didn't even entertain the idea on any level, shelving it to the abyss of dreams not bothered being dreamt.

And so it was, that day in 2011. I had just read Paulo Coelho's Brida, which I thought was absolute shit (that's 8 hours of my life I'll never get back), and I was at my wits end with just about everything in life, as I usually am at sporadic points in time. That was the first time I had a strange and mystic longing to be in the desert. It was inexplicable because really, if you don't know by now, I'm very much a girl of the high seas and seven oceans of the world.

But in some unconscious way, that longing grew because a couple of weeks after that; after being frustrated over something that I can't even remember now; I declared in a voice devoid of any meaning or intention (basically, I was just talking absolute crap) (or so I thought) - I told my Mother: "I'm going to the desert, I will find what I'm looking for there". And my Mother did what she always does, rolled her eyes and asked God why she couldn't have normal children.

After that, every time I was irritated or annoyed, I told everyone I was going to the desert. Sometimes I even added that I'm going to become a shepherd - for extra fun. And of course, everyone laughed (including me). And every time, these were just words, said in jest, with no real meaning or intention behind them.

I eventually got another job - swinging in the corporate jungle from one branch to the next like fucking Tarzan chasing Jane - becoming increasingly discontent; either running after time, or running out of time, or running around time like a headless chicken, constantly agitated, questioning what I'm doing with my life. And all the while, that absurd longing and yearning to be in the desert hadn't abated. It became a running joke and was too outrageous to entertain seriously, yet the thought of the vast emptiness of the landscape was strangely comforting.

So when I was asked if I wanted to work in Saudi Arabia, I said yes without even thinking about it. It was all a big joke by then, only it wasn't, this time. Before I knew it, in barely two months, I was sent packing with only twenty-four hours notice to get here. And as I type this out, a warm midnight breeze blows across an arid landscape, not too far from here, scattering the hopes and dreams of Nomads and Bedouins alike in every grain of sand.

The great debate now, is whether the words I had uttered had materialized (words are indeed powerful - that is true), or whether I had somehow predicted that I would be here. I'm more inclined to believe the latter for two reasons:

1. I've been talking about getting a million bucks for ages, and that hasn't happened yet.

2. When I was very little, I used to live with my Grandma while my parents worked, and I only saw them on the weekends. But one day, my Mother decided to leave work early and come visit me without informing anyone. That afternoon, I insisted my Grandma run a bath for me, telling her that I needed to be ready for when my Mother came to see me. My Grandma, knowing my Mother only came on weekends, didn't think much of it so when my Mother pitched up, she said "Weet jy, die kind bly my vertel ek moet haar bad..." transl: Y'know, this child kept telling me to bath her...

I think some unconscious part of me always knew I was coming here, even when I didn't know. But contrary to the way things seem, it hasn't always been easy... every day brings new challenges. I've been tried and tested in every way, still am. I'm learning new lessons, about life and my religion, in a way I won't be able to learn elsewhere. There are some days I feel ready to pack up and leave. And then there are other days when it feels like "home". There are days I'm convinced that I've died, and that this is Hell. And then there are other days, when I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather be. 

24 comments:

  1. Such a cool story, and sounds like it's time to add "The Prophet" in front of your blog's name.

    NYC was/is my desert.

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    1. LOL @Roving Retorter - if only it was that simple...there's still a lot of figuring out that I need to do.

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  2. You always seemed so unhappy before, but now you sound like at least you're gaining some bit of peace. Glad you got out of your mom's house though, because that seemed to be holding you back.

    Best of luck and fun in your many steps ahead.

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  3. Isn't that when we know we're really where we're supposed to be? When it's so wonderful and awful all at the same time? Or maybe that's just the twisted way I like things. That being said, I'm running away to the mountains

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    1. @rooth - yeah, if only I could find where I'm supposed to be "permanently" and not have to face everything temporarily... but I guess that's life.

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  4. I almost envy you a little. not the desert part, I liked my time in the UAE but could never handle the heat, but the part with you knowing what would work for you. detours are just part of everyone's life. I'm glad you got where you wanted to be. and who knows what comes next.

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    1. The thing about detours @Petra, is that they're not set in stone. Things have a way of changing as soon as you get comfortable.

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  5. It feels good for a reader like me to read something like this. It's like you've got it figured out somehow and here I am so inspired about your life somehow. I have plans to work in UAE soon and I hope to see you there! :)

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    1. Good luck getting a position in the UAE @Debie Grace ;)

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  6. I've been enjoying reading about your adventures and the pics have been amazing

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  7. Azzie becoming a shepherd... Dear Lord and heaven forbid. I would loved to have seen a picture of you among your sheep. Something tells me you would stand out. Not being a sheep. (Get it? ) ;)

    You know I'm tempted to say there's a third option (chance), but I won't. The interpretability of all things wondrous keeps us, you know, wondering.

    P.S. Did you say "fucking Tarzan chasing Jane"? You, did, didn't you?

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    1. Hahaha @Grumps, you know, I can bet I know what's that third option :P
      I like sheep - could never be one - but they're ok.

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    2. They're more interesting than some folks out there, I reckon... And when I say there, I mean in the entire world.

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  8. Amazing post, dear!

    theprintedsea.blogspot.com

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  9. Amazing post!
    Sometimes I feel you always are searching something:)
    Who knows?
    Akways I think God has misterious roads, blessing dear Azz!

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    1. Yes dear @Gloria. I'm praying my next road is even more blessed than this one ;)

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  10. First time visit; came via Blue Grumpster. Great article - I can so relate. In the desert you can see more stars... enjoy your time there.

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    1. Dixie... could you tell my cousin to send me a bit of sunshine. She's keeping it all to herself.

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    2. Sorry Blue - I almost suspect she's going to keep it for the entire month of October too. Azurah - where are you??

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    3. Oh I know whete she is, and I know what she is doing too, but if I told you she would make me spend some time in the desert too.

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  11. "Azurah" has been included in our A Sunday Drive for this week. Be assured that we hope this helps to poing even more new visitors in your direction.

    http://asthecrackerheadcrumbles.blogspot.com/2014/10/a-sunday-drive_12.html

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