When I purchased my tickets in September for my December vacation, I remember thinking, “If when I go back to the States it sucks to leave after the two weeks, I will know that coming to the UAE was the wrong decision. On the other hand, if after two weeks, I am ready to leave like how a person feels at the end of long vacation, I will know I made the right decision.”
The funny thing is that by the time I got on the plane in December, I already knew how I was going to feel. It was wonderful seeing my family and friends and getting to spend Christmas with them. It was great chilling with my kitties. It was nice knowing where I was going, listening to English music, having a dryer, being understood when I spoke English, eating familiar food, and not thinking about work or feeling like the foreigner. But the reality is that in just a few short months, Al-Ain has become a home to Kassandra and me. Not our HOME, but a home all the same. Being in the U.S. felt like being a visitor. A visitor in my own home, with my friends, with my family… a visitor in my own life. So by the end of my two weeks in the States, I was ready to pack up my heavy and well-stocked bags and get back to Al-Ain.
Of course now that I have made the journey back to the UAE, I am already wishing that I had had one more night. One more night of dancing with Heather, one more game night with my family (really?! I have to go the next six months knowing that Jake won the last game!), one more night cooking with Mohammad, one more night to eat all of the food I can’t eat here, one more night at the casino gambling with Kate, one more night with my cats sleeping at my feet, one more night laughing with all of my friends, one more night walking through the rain (oh wait… strike that one… it is 77 here and I love it), and one more night knowing that my mom isn’t missing me.
In the end, the vacation was good for me. It helped me remember that there are advantages and disadvantages to both places, but for now, Al-Ain is my home away from home. I just wish I could get everyone to come visit me here then maybe it would be like having the best of both worlds.