I couldn't sleep last night from the excitement. And also the anxiety. I haven't seen my friends in almost a year. I'm different. They're different. How do I catch them up on all of the insane things that have happened to me this year? Or explain my day to day life in this strange land?
There is no way to explain how normal it became to hear a call to prayer five times a day. To talk to a mother in a veil. To have a boyfriend who sprinkles his sentences with Arabic phrases without thinking twice about it. To avoid going outside for fear of heat rash. To maintain a Western lifestyle in an Islamic country. To run the line between appropriate to people of this country and appropriate to me. To teach children with whom I have nothing in common with, culturally. To see the date palms as they ripen.
My American friends are never going to understand. But I can't wait to see them all the same.
(I will be back in Abu Dhabi the second week of August. It's likely I won't update until then. Apologies.)