I've abandoned this blog for far too long. The past 4 months have been a time of transition, change, goodbyes, new friendships, reconnecting with old friends and learning how to live all over again in the beautiful city of Washington, DC. I'm not even sure how to go about encapsulating all the ups and downs since I left Kuwait. But here goes, in the hopes that I can start blogging again regularly, although from a very different place in life...
Leaving on a jet plane: After shipping off about 500lbs of personal stuff, surviving the worst dust storm in 20 years (that hit the night before the movers came to pack my stuff, resulting in about 10lbs of Kuwaiti dust making the journey to DC), and the bittersweet tears of goodbye, it was finally time to board my last plane out of Kuwait. There was a slight glitch when the airport went on lockdown due to a security threat, but once the sirens stopped, we were allowed to board and I soared off to a new life.
Living the nomad's life: For the first two weeks after flying back to the states, I set some traveling records visiting Portland, Montana, Orlando and finally DC. My personal items from Kuwait were shipped in 2 man-sized boxes to my new place in DC, and my amazing parents helped me prep about 300lbs of books to mail from Orlando to DC. In mid-April, I finally made it to my new home.
Unemployment (aka: hours spent job hunting online, setting up life in America, going to interviews, re-learning the public transportation system, watching all 6 seasons of Bones, and enjoying a glass of red wine with dinner): I spent mid-April to mid-July job hunting. After spending way too many hours trying to find a suit that fits, the interviews began. Although it took longer to find the right job than I had thought, I am profoundly grateful for the number of interviews and offers received over those 3 months, considering the current economic climate. I felt strongly that God had the perfect job for me, so despite the dwindling savings, I held out for the right offer. This time of unemployment was a much needed opportunity to decompress, process my experiences, and learn that when the cashier talks to me and asks me about my day, that's just normal American friendliness. In some ways, culture shock was much easier than I had thought, but it still sometimes sneaks up on me. My new apartment and fantastically amazing roommate (who I met in Kuwait!) made the transition back to DC so much easier.
Employment (!!!!): Last week I was offered and accepted my dream job. So as of this blog post, I am the newest Program Officer for the International Reading Association's Global Operations Unit. I will be tasked with coordinating international affiliates in the hope of increasing literacy rates around the world. I'm absolutely thrilled to have found something that so perfectly incorporates my interest in nonprofit and education. And as an added absolutely incredible bonus, my job includes some international travel...an aspect that breathed new life into me after fearing that my nomadic days were at an end.
And so...there is most definitely life post-Kuwait. I find myself at times "homesick" for the Middle East, remembering the fun experiences, crazed driving, amazing food, and wonderful friends. But as some of you have heard me say, I also believe that Kuwait has the ability to suck the color out of your soul. And it wasn't until I had been back in America for a couple of months that I began to see just how true that was for me. Even as I experience moments where I miss the life I was able to lead over there, I find that color is slowly starting to seep back into my soul. DC is an amazing place full of so many opportunities to just live. From Jazz concerts in the Sculpture Gardens to dinners with friends to finding a new church to re-exploring the city with the amazing number of friends who have traveled through DC over the past few months...I had forgotten how beautiful color can be. I love little things like being able to call my family any time I want, and realizing that I can hop on a plane and celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with family and friends...color.
As I start this next journey in life, I hope to keep blogging. My stories might not be as interesting as they were in Kuwait (although once the work travel starts, I have a feeling there might be some fun stories to share!), but I love to write so I plan to continue doing so. As the chaos of transition has eased, I have begun to truly process my experiences in Kuwait...the good, the bad, and the ugly. I feel more of a freedom to share now that I am back in the states, so perhaps some of those thoughts will make their way to this blog. I am beginning to realize that there is still quite a bit of raw emotion from my time in the Middle East, and I know that will take some time to unravel. I was trying to decide whether to keep this blog name, or change it since I am no longer a Kuwait City gal...but I have decided to keep the name because my Kuwait experience is a deep part of who I have become. The desert experience (both actual and metaphorical) has changed me and shaped me. So for this Kuwait City gal, now also DC City gal, it's time to step away from the computer and go live a little, but more to come soon!