Riyadh Still in my Heart

Nineteen years after my repatriation, I am finally able to return to Riyadh. I’ve got someone who is able to secure my visa, I’ve got a place to stay, I’ve got the time and the money, and even my health is still good enough to make this trip to the other side of the world, to the place I called home, to the place of the most eventful, romantic, dramatic and emotional periods of my life. I’ve pined after Riyadh for all these years, I’ve written about it in this blog, I’ve voiced my intention to go back someday, and that day is now this day.

Instead of planning a trip to Riyadh, I am planning a trip to the Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon? I’ve never felt any particular affinity for the Grand Canyon or for any other landmarks here in the Unites States. How did I get so sidetracked?

Well, I’m getting fussy in my old age. I fly business class for international trips. That’s expensive, even with discounts. I have arthritis, and I’m fat, though I go to the gym and might even quit overeating one of these days. I no longer jump on a plane with little preparation, like I did in my traveling years. I no longer even wish to jump on a plane without preparation. I’m also fussy about destinations, these days, no longer interested in countries  that are cheapest to visit simply because they are cheapest. Italy and Saudi Arabia are the only international destinations that get my attention now, though I’d love to see Thailand again.

The United States has many lovely places to see.  I’ll enjoy a photography tour of the Grand Canyon. I might even enjoy it enough to plan more trips to US destinations.  Flights are short and cheap to anywhere in the US (compared to international travel). There aren’t many time zones to navigate, so jet lag isn’t such an issue. As a senior citizen, I think I’ll enjoy seeing more of my own country, but I still plan to see Riyadh again.

Now that I can go back to Riyadh,  after years of not being able to do so, I’m specifying that I want to go back for Ramadan, not the chilly winter or blazing hot summer or even the Haj season. Ramadan is the month to be in any Middle Eastern country, especially if one is Muslim. Yes, I still intend to go back to Riyadh, but I want to go next Ramadan, inshaAllah. Next Ramadan…2018…and I’m planning for it. InshaAllah.

 

 

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About Marahm

At first glance, I may appear to be a middle-aged American woman with kids, grandkids, retired from a job in a hospital, gratefully relieved from the responsibilities that come with all of that. Behind the image, which is true enough, I am fairly unhinged from much of American mainstream living, having spent twelve years in Saudi Arabia, years that sprung me from societal and familial impositions, and narrow bands of truth. I have learned to embrace my sense of identity as a seeker, an artist, and a writer. I study Arabic and Italian language, because I love them, and I love their people. I still dream of spending more time in the Middle East and Italy, though the dreaming now seems more real than the possibilities. I am a photographer. I write, and sometimes publish, flash memoir, and now a blog or two.
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One Response to Riyadh Still in my Heart

  1. Mak says:

    Assalamu alaikum…

    Excerpts from this post—->

    1) Nineteen years after my repatriation, I am finally able to return to Riyadh…..
    2) Instead of planning a trip to Riyadh, I am planning a trip to the Grand Canyon…….
    3) Yes, I still intend to go back to Riyadh, but I want to go next Ramadan, inshaAllah. Next Ramadan…2018…and I’m planning for it. InshaAllah…..mm

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