As I write this we are on our flight back home to Canada. Earlier this week, in an effort to stop forgetting our flight dates, I entered them into the calendar on my phone. I wrote: “June 29 – fly home” and “August 28 – fly home.” It only took one year to get confused about where “home” is.
Reflecting on the last year, while flying away from it was fun.
As we sat on the runway we reflected on the last leg of flights we took to arrive in Qatar. The heightened nervousness. The flight where the gentleman at the back of the plane had a full on panic attack, gasping for breath, screaming like someone was hurting him and then was wrestled off the plane out the rear door. We’d been flying all night, we were exhausted and it was a breaking point for Honour.
Today, she laughed as we revisited that moment when all the jitters and deep fears that had been bravely pushed down came to a head and sprung forth in tears. As we chuckled at the memory she said “You were scared too! Admit it!”
We were not afraid of going to the Middle East as some would expect but we had no idea what to expect for Honour, what she would face, how she would react, whether she would stand out too much and what that would mean for her.
She faced many challenges this year, as I’ve mentioned before, many stresses and so many new things it would be hard to tell them all, and my telling wouldn’t do it justice anyhow. Dave and I would check in with each other at these moments and say “do you still think we did the right thing by coming?” “Yes, I still think the benefits are outweighing everything else.” We did hit one moment were I said, “Now I’m not sure, maybe this is too much for her.”
I am happy to say that at every single turn she rose to meet the challenges and didn’t buckle under a single one of them. Her cross cultural report card at the end of the year is A+++ and I can safely rescind my moment of doubt and say – this was a great decision – for ALL of us! I love to hear tales of her and her friends from all over the world. She asked if she could spend ½ the summer in Qatar – thankfully the tickets were already purchased.
Dave has grown equally as his job has been an obstacle course and a marathon all in one. He was also pushed to the point of “I’m not sure I can do this!” and yet finished with flying colours. He has no small task teaching Humanities to Arab children whose worldview has been…well, fairly insulated. I think I could safely say, ethnocentric. He is the perfect person for this job, with his (usually) kind and gentle ways and his open accepting spirit.
We have all grown so much this year. It has been life changing to say the least.
On the drive to the airport this morning Dave, watching the dry dusty landscape go by, said, “I would be really sad if we were leaving for good right now. I’m not done with this place” Honour quickly said “ME TOO!” – We’ve come a long way baby!
We are not coming home barely making it over the finish line and desperate for familiar things and for our time in Qatar to be over. We are happy for the holiday. We are looking forward to spending time with friends and family and we are looking forward as well to coming back to Qatar.
Here are a couple of shots of the view from our balcony at dusk and dark. “Home” in Qatar.