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A Problem Without a Solution

Piece By: Danyah Ismail


It’s been more than three and a half years since I’ve left my castle, where servants prepared my meals, stocked the kitchen with food, washed my clothes, and cleaned my room. Where I would be driven everywhere I wanted without thinking twice if I should use the public transportation to save myself from the headache of finding a parking spot. Where my driver took care of all my oil changes and car requirements without considering costs of repair since my dad paid for everything. Where I did not have to worry about my expenses and savings. Where I came home to find a family I could confide to, if not my parents, then my siblings. Where my biggest concerns revolved around school assignments and tests and meeting deadlines at work. Where diversity was very narrowed down, leaving me unexposed to how one difficultly reaches a common ground between an American and an Italian roommate. Basically, three and a half years since I left my comfort zone, but the question remains… has the US truly become my new home?

The answer to that question is more complicated than it seems. Usually when I attempt to navigate a maze, I try not to sweep aside the other half of the story. To cut to the chase, if you think it is the case of having a place called home away from home, then it is deeper than that. If you think it is about being burned out with responsibilities, then the context of my story is still unfathomable from your perspective.

Living overseas is unlike traveling, where you encounter the small details of the country’s pros and cons; where you confront not only situations but also people, where you keep losing yourself to finally find it, where you don’t know where to stand. Living overseas is being vulnerable to different ethnicities, cultures and backgrounds (the case of the United States), where all the rights and wrongs you were raised up with might be looked up differently. Living overseas means cosmopolitan!

At some point through, have you understood what I am trying to reveal? If not, I still can go on with venting, but I am afraid that this blog would never end. For what is worth, I have been contemplating about blogging. I have thought about posing the clockwise many times, and write but something inside of me held me back.

In this huge universe, I live in my itsy-bitsy bubble! If I’m in the US, I keep wanting to be pampered as I used to be in Saudi Arabia, I die a thousand times a day for being away from my family in life’s ups and downs, I starve the authentic food, I miss my home, friends and the easiness of life over there. On the other hand, if I were in SA, I would have given myself sometime to fulfill my family’s love tank, and then I’d miss my independency and being the master of my life and the decision maker all the time. I would feel like I’m wrapped to do my own things, wrapped to decide when, what and how.

Finding a peace within myself has been an ongoing fight because it is as simple as this NONE OF THESE PLACES ARE HOME TO ME ANYMORE. None of these places I feel I am loyal to over another. None of these places have accommodated me the way I desire. If only I could create this imaginary place in my head into reality and cluster the people I want to live with, interact with, and learn from, and take the best out of both cultures and traditions in literally one place, I would have known where I would truly belong. If only could this be true, I would have been out of my bubble long time ago!


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