The point is, I didn’t go to the DR and I haven’t been back to China, Kuwait, or Guatemala… until NOW. So I present to you:
Five Reasons You Should Go Back to a Country You’ve Left (in no particular order):
1. Old friends. This weekend I got to catch up with two of my friends from my KLT days (Kuwait Little Theatre… or That Which Shall Not Be Named… and that is a story). It was only for an all-too-short hour but it was so wonderful to catch up with people I haven’t seen in seven (WHA…?!) years. And when you meet up with friends like that, friends you haven’t seen in so long and have not really had much communication with except through Facebook likes and comments, you worry Will we have anything to talk about? What if we sit awkwardly, drinking coffee, trying desperately to think of something to say… what if we have nothing to say after all this time?
But we did. We talked about my kids, our careers, the problems with our schools and theatres and how teaching drama and directing theatre in a Muslim is really, really challenging. And we laughed and we joked and we caught up as best we could in such a short time, drinking only coffee, and I was left with a smile on my face for the rest of the day.
2. New friends. I was going to Kuwait to do a Color Run with L but, in true Kuwaiti fashion, it got cancelled after I had already bought my ticket so… I went anyway. And I got to catch up with a few new friends who I’ve met because of L. It’s amazing how the traveling world, especially the international world, brings people together. You can be friends just because you do the same thing, and a lot of the time, it’s enough.
It’s also really helpful if new friends are hysterical, a little sassy and sarcastic, and just fun to be around.
3. Revisiting the old stomping grounds. I could not find my apartment building. There- I’ve said it. L and I drove down to Mangaf where I lived for three years and it was so different, so built up, that I couldn’t even find where I lived. Of course, I recognized some big landmarks- the mall, the Hilton, the McDonalds. I found the building where we used to buy our DVD’s, which also had a six-lane bowling alley in the bottom. I saw the Applebee’s where we ate WAY too many dinners. We went to the mall that was new when I was there- it was a little more run down but still just as crowded and just as sparkly. It was fun to share memories with someone new. It was amazing to see how changed it all was.
4. Remembering why you loved it. Going back to Kuwait brought back all those memories of meeting the Rugby Star, being in various KLT productions, going to rugby matches, watching the world go by from our Mangaf apartments. I remembered sand storms and having the bakala deliver ice to parties. There were sunny days spent at the Hilton pool and cool evenings hanging out at the villas after giving guitar lessons. Even though I didn’t find my apartments, it brought me back to a time when we used to BBQ down by the pool and the RS’s favorite weekend pastime- putting a chair in the shallow end of the pool and reading his book in the water.
5. Remembering why you left. Truthfully, I wasn’t really ready to leave Kuwait when we did. I really loved my job and my students and the colleagues I was closest to weren’t leaving yet. The Rugby Star was ready to go- he needed to be able to watch sports at a pub and play on grass again. The funny thing is, once you’ve decided to go, you do start to notice all the terrible things about the country you’re in and by the time you actually get on the plane, you’re pretty okay with leaving. I have glamorized Kuwait in my mind because it was such a happy place. But, after being there for a weekend, I do remember why it’s okay that I moved on.
It was a good weekend with good friends and I’m really happy I got to go. I don’t know if I need to go back again. But now it makes me more curious to revisit the DR and Shanghai (maybe- for the massages anyway) and, in a couple of years, good ol’ Guate.
How do you feel going back to a place that used to be ‘home’?