Yesterday, I was in a mood, and it hit me: this is the reality of moving abroad.
Moving abroad seems to hit (me) in stages. Stage 1 is AH MAH GAH MY LIFE IS SO MUCH BETTER HERE THAN IT WAS AT HOME, which is true because back home a perfect storm of external factors were brewing on US soil to make the past three months really really shite for ya girl.
–except for having some of the best friends in the world, hands down. And as someone who’s done a little traveling, I can say that with even more certainty. Being home was such an amazing chance to reconnect and bond with friends whom I will never ever give up, sorry guys you’re stuck with me–
Stage 1: AH MAH GAH MY HOST COUNTRY IS PERFECT MY LIFE HERE WILL BE SO MUCH BETTER THAN HOME
Stage 2:…..cracks in the surface.
Yesterday, we new teachers had to get our medical done, so our morning consisted of us rushing around Doha getting poked and prodded basically. We had to get bloodworm drawn (testing for HIV/AIDS); we had to get a chest x-ray, then we had to go to a separate facility to get ANOTHER prick (on the finger but it hurt! walaah) to verify our blood type, because obviously they couldn’t test for that when they were testing for HIV?
Welcome to being in a foreign country folks, where shit just don’t make sense sometimes.
Your first lesson will be being dropped somewhere crowded with an important task to accomplish and no guidance. For us, this was at the medical center. Our transport (and honestly, it was above and beyond for them to even provide transport; I’ve been handed directions in Korea and told git’er done) dropped us at the medical center, and our group of ladies just kind of stood till someone figured out where we needed to be.
We completed the pony shuffle of phlebotomy and chest x-ray, where I saw a little side boob because most of us ripped our bras off right there in front of each other (it was all ladies), then went into the x-ray room, where some random woman came in with a nauseatingly sweet-smelling incense to burn the stink away.
After, we headed across town to get our blood type verified in a place that smelled faintly like the projects: stale piss and concrete. I spotted a plug and began charging my phone immediately, which was down to 6% at that point (anyone noticing a pattern here?). The guy and woman teachers were reunited at this point, so we got to chill and talk shit for a while, but our numbers were literally coming up–one by one we were called to go into the back office and get a prick on the finger, which doesn’t sound nearly as foreboding on print as it actually was.
“Broney?” they called, and we all laughed.
I went back there and the guy jams a needle into my poor, tender, sensitive ring finger, and that shit hurt, I’m sorry. Giving no fucks, he then squeezes some droplets of blood onto a glass slide and sends me on my way with an alcohol swab and a shrug.
I come back out commiserating with the only other woman who has nerve endings at the end of her fingers; everyone else was like “that didn’t hurt at all” but I swear even typing this now is inflaming my poor sensitive finger lol.
Anyway, after all that settled in, I was kind of in a mood.
Then, one of the women was talking about her plans for the evening and all of her friends and all of the places she’s gone so far and how she’s met some man who’s super into her already,
and that shit just hit me: Stage 2. Cracks in the surface.
It’s funny what comparing ourselves to others does to us, right? Like here I am, sailing along, deliriously happy to have a job and an apartment and a friend or two,
Then this chick is just casually talking about her weekend plans and my brain starts going YOU’RE INADEQUATE.
And then my brain goes REMEMBER HOW NOBODY TOLD YOU WHERE TO GO FOR THE MEDICAL CHECKUP THIS MORNING. REMEMBER ALL THE TIMES IN KOREA WHERE NOBODY HELPED YOU WITH STUFF AND YOUR COTEACHER WAS SO MEAN? IT’S CUZ YOU’RE INADEQUATE, LEST YOU FORGET.
But of course in the moment I’m not smart enough to realize I’m just reacting to this lady; I’m just suddenly pissy, right? So we go home and I’m pacing my apartment thinking about every boy who didn’t call me back, until I decide I need a nap. Then I wake from my nap and I’m still sitting here like “it doesn’t matter that I only moved a week ago! Why isn’t my life perfect?!” (although, let’s be honest, it pretty much is).
So I go for a swim, because at this point I’m figuring out that it’s something inside of me and I just need to put this energy somewhere. So back and forth, back and forth, I’m lapping around this pool, hating everyone who’s come to sit and enjoy the lovely 100-degree weather (no sarcasm–after a heat index of 133 for the past two weeks, 100 degree weather is downright balmy), until it’s time for dinner.
That’s right, the whole time I’ve been sitting here woe-is-me-ing, I’ve had dinner plans with some awesome fellow noobies. So I go in, take a shower, and get ready to meet them. We head to the traditional market (called a souq) and walk around outside, watching praise and worship (for lack of a better term) at the Islamic cultural center and eating traditional Syrian food for dinner at the most gorgeous restaurant I’ve ever been too–swooping textile cloths covered the ceiling, and beautiful lights stringing around wooden poles for the closed-off balcony. Then we got to watch a traditional Syrian dance as we were leaving.
And in the end, we friends were standing outside the exit of the souq, talking about our dreams, and I realized that I didn’t have much to contribute because I am currently living mine. Teaching at a college, living in a fancy apartment in an exotic location within walking distance of the beach. Traveling. All I really want to do now is get this book published and I will seriously be hitting on all cylinders as far as professional dreams go.
And I am so thankful for that. It’s a really cool place to be at 29.
But living out your dreams doesn’t mean every moment is easy. It just means every difficulty is worth it as hell, because you’re wading through the bullshit to live the life you’ve created especially for yourself.