Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Back home, you can't threaten to leave because where would you go?

The truth is, you are already there, aren't you? Not so when you are an expat.

I keep telling myself this, because I find life in Abu Dhabi is quite like a roller coaster. Just when I think I am truly happy to be here – and I am – something not-pleasant happens and I immediately think "I want to go home". Though the happy-to-be here days are becoming a lot more frequent, all it takes is a sharp word from a boss or co-worker, or a missing package or a phone call to Canada that goes to voicemail when I am homesick or a mean taxi driver or a hangover or something equally insignificant, for me to want to get out of dodge. And when it hits, the feeling is powerful. Like book a flight tonight and count the hours until the plane takes off powerful. Then, suddenly, usually for no reason at all, I am quite content in my Middle Eastern adventure again.

I find this all very funny, because when you are living where you live, you never think like this. The option of leaving simply is not available, so it's not the first thing or even the fifth thing you contemplate when things aren't going so hot. I imagine this must be what marriage feels like, or so I hope.

Anyway, I think about this tendency every time I read a story about Michelle Palmer and Vince Alcors, those unfortunate Brits accused of having sex on the beach in Dubai. This event was said to have happened on July 5 – three months ago. The pair have had their passports confiscated, and have been cooling their heels there ever since. A writer from the Observer, who came to do the standard on-the-ground in Dubai piece about it last week even spotted Alcors drinking with friends in a bar. I mean, really, what else is he to do?

Anyway, imagine how much they want to leave here, every minute of every day? Makes my grumpy moments seem sort of silly.


Abid said...

This happens whenever you are in a non-permanent situation. The easiest way out is to run away. The thing with home (Canada) is that you cannot run away no matter how hard you try.

Trish said...

Now I will feel even worse than I already do when I see I have missed a call from you! And you can come home. Live with me, I miss you!

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