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Friday, 25 November 2011

The One Where I Was Alone

It has been a while since I wrote on here, for many reasons, I had so much to say, but not enough words. Maybe writing this will help give me clarity.

We have been in Qatar now for three months and already it feels like a lifetime. The adjustment here has been far more dramatic than that of Saudi. You would think that going from the desert, abayas and world set 20 years ago to something so cosmopolitan in comparison that the move would be an easy one.

How wrong one could be!

Yes we can get a real glass of wine, salted butter and even pork now! Yes women can drive, we have all the shops we could find in any UK mall and every corner you turn there is another westerner.

And yet that still wasn't enough to ease the transition!

The cliche of a city being a lonely place is no longer a cliche for me.

Everything here is so big and busy. EVERYTHING! This city just keeps on moving, with or without you. The roads are busy, buildings are being built at an unbelievable rate and everyone is rushing to go somewhere. And you can stand still in the middle of all of this and get dizzy from all the chaos.

I have stood still but my mind kept racing and that is where I am writing from now.

Like I say I have struggled here. It is far more difficult to make the bonds that you can make in a place like Saudi. Where we were before we all needed friends, the friendships we made were lifelines. They were (here comes another cliche!) the glue that held everything together. We all missed things - people, food, familiarity. It was mutual and open and that is what held people from such different walks of life, ages and backgrounds so close. When we moved here I think I expected the same. Because even though we were obviously somewhere more comfortable, we were all still in the same situation. Missing home, missing people, missing continuity. And all of us are traveling to some extent. But having the comforts that we have here blinds people. All of us. It gives us a false sense of security that we are in fact no different to living back in our home countries. That everything is the same, we just have sunshine. But it isn't the case at all. We are all vulnerable. And whereas before in Saudi, we all came to terms with our vulnerabilities, opening the door for friendships, here we don't. Not even me. This is not in reference to people I know this is an observation of what I see around me - people are in groups, there isn't so much of a mix of people. We are all so separated here, in our own little cliques. Now I know this is not true of every single person who lives here, but I truly believe it holds true for most people, but maybe even to a certain degree for everyone. Everyone just keeps on moving, keeps on rushing and keeps on going regardless of those around them. This isn't a bad thing on their part. It is survival. That is why a city can be such a lonely place.

For me things have felt very much out of control since arriving. There has been very little time for my mind to rest. Some people can cope with that, I for one cannot. I become affected. For many reasons. And I then try to gain control. For many reasons. And I cannot. And that is why I become so affected.

Right now my head is spinning and I need to slow down in this busy metropolis. There is some peace here somewhere and I have to find it. I know where it is, it is in my heart and I know God will guide me eventually, but for whatever reason we are taking the long way round. Maybe I will get used to city life, maybe I won't. But what I will have to learn is the ability to be happy. This place has highlighted my weaknesses and made me crumble, what I now need to do is use this place to find my strength and allow myself to grow again. Because Qatar isn't a bad place. I don't have a bad life. It is me and only I am in control of what I am feeling.

I need to embrace this city.

I need to embrace life.

1 comment:

  1. Very honest and open. If you can look at it and recognise what needs to be done, you're already halfway there. I know that you will find that place of peace. Enjoy the journey