The smell of sweet peas,
I could sense it building towards the last week of holidays. It could have been the surroundings. How can you not want to be outside taking in all the beauty of Vancouver Island?
The grounds at the Bed & Breakfast where we stay in Qualicum Beach.
The natural, majestic land at Long Beach. Quiet beauty of trees, ocean and mountain surrounded by mist.
I couldn’t get enough of it. I wanted to be outside. Walking. Breathing.
Now that I’m back in Qatar I wonder what it is exactly that I crave, here, on the other side of the world.
I’m not sure people back home get it when I talk about how you can’t walk here. Well, you can in a couple of places. I can drive 30 minutes to an hour to the Corniche (waterfront) where there are sidewalks, sea and actual trees, grass and flowers planted alongside the road. I can drive 10 minutes to Aspire Park and walk along the paved pathways there. Though security staff there will swiftly tell you not to wander, let alone play, on the grass. The added bonus at Aspire is the piped in sounds of birds chirping. I can walk round and round and round the inside of our compound, though this makes me dizzy after a while. (Just kidding.) I used to run this path but even then the monotony of it was overwhelming.
What is it exactly that I long for?
Is it the sights or smells I experience along the journey or is it the ability to just leave my home and go for a walk, that I miss?
Is it the difference in air you get when there are trees, water, life growing around you that isn’t to be found here in the city of desert, construction and dust.
Or is it freedom?
Freedom to have a place to walk.
Freedom to wear what I like when I walk.
Freedom to walk without being constantly stared at by men in a country where the ratio of men to women is about 3 to 1. Three times higher than most any other place in the world (UAE is closest, at about 2 to 1).
Or is it just that underlying sense of living in a land where freedoms are not quite as available as those I’m used to?
I’m still not sure.
But this is home. It is where I live. It is my life.
And rather than waiting until the next vacation rolls along to enjoy it all again, I need to figure it out and find it here.
I think, perhaps, it is all of the above !
me too, for sure. all of the above!
I also think it is most likely all those things with a little bit of your nature vs your surroundings. Let me try to explain this thought. I believe, Jody, that you possess many wonderful natural qualities – enthusiasm, empathy, a sense of humour, beauty, casual sociability, groundedness and a desire not only to grow but to flourish. And, while these traits come naturally to you, the same cannot be said of your immediate daily surroundings. Whiie Qatar definitely has a beauty of its own, it is not one lush with the same traits you possess. It is not a reflection of the things you value in yourself but rather, more often than not, contradictory to them. However, like a rare bloom in a desert, you belie the contrary conditions and remain vibrant and flourish – as a woman, a wife, a mother, a teacher and a friend. So, freely miss the fresh air and freedom, see the contradiction Qatar provides to your own nature, actively seek what you may but if you ask me you are, by nature, the very oasis you are looking to find. It’s a matter of creating a reflection of your natural self and, to-date, I think you have a great start with your blog as well as the classes you will teach. I am looking forward to seeing how far you can go in creating your own fresh air and freedoms, your own blooming oasis, for yourself and others to experience and enjoy.
And that is more than enough rambling, in-my-opinion, babble from this side of the world :p.
You’re all probably quite right in that it’s likely a combination of things. However, it helps me to realise once I write down how I’m feeling and the choices I have, what my course of action needs to be. Which is – acceptance and gratitude.
Acceptance that this is my life and where I live so if I desperately need to walk outside I need to pick and place and go walk. Quite simple, really. To be thankful that I not only have three places to choose from but I have the time and the physical ability to go for a walk. And finally, that when I do go home on holidays, what a beautiful, wonderful, country I get to go home to.
With regards to the rambling, babble from the other side of the world….. I thank you for your very kind words, support and encouragement. And you’re right that it is a part of my nature.
Although I often sense your desire to travel, I think your family and friends are truly lucky to have someone like you, there, right by their side.