Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Feature- Where is "home"?

Asalamu Alaikum,

When I say "I want to go Home"(capital H), I mean I want to go to the States. But really I have no home there, no address of my own. Any mail goes to my mom's house, and that's probably where we'll stay when we get back, inshAllah. Mom hasn't seen Saad since he was about four months old, so she is threatening to chain me up when we get there anyway!

When we left America to come to the UAE, I came to a place that was so unfamiliar that it took me close to six months to settle in and call it "home". Shortly after I started to feel like it was home, we moved out of the large apartment building we had been staying in downtown, and moved to a little villa type place out in Baniyas(sort of a suburb of Abu Dhabi, about a 45 minute drive into the city).

I got used to it a lot quicker, and soon it felt like home. Another eight months and then we had to leave for Pakistan.

During our first visit to Pakistan, I never felt settled enough to call it "home", even though we were there almost six months. It was a pretty hectic time, with my sister in law's wedding and all the shopping/sewing/cleaning/etc. that had to be done.

When we came back to Abu Dhabi, it felt like coming home. I thought at the time that we would be staying a while, but we were here only about a month and a half. Then it was back to Pakistan for another wedding(BIL's in law's family). I thought that we would stay for a couple of months and then back to Abu Dhabi, but I was wrong again. We ended up staying almost two years. By the time I had been there a year, I felt like it was "home", even with all the difficulties.

We have now been back in Abu Dhabi about a month. I don't know how much longer we will be here. We could be here another week, or a couple of months(I am hoping for the latter).

But until we are ready to head back to the states, after our time here is up (here is something I never thought I would say), we will go Pakistan.


Thinking said...

hmmm....loved your post !

Nafisa said...

Strange life for us. I cant imagine such moving here there so often. First how to be with work and very first thing coming to mind - where to get means for living? Is it so easy to find new job in every new place in those countries?

luckyfatima said...

Although I have not moved around as much as you, I do identify with the feeling you describe. I must confess that as a US citizen, I never ever ever thought of the Gulf as home...local people don't want us to think of it that way, either. I enjoyed living there, don't get me wrong. But the dynamics surrounding nationals and expats mean that even if you've lived in the Gulf for 40 years or more, if you don't have GCC citizenship, don't ever start feeling like you have any claims on the place. Interesting that you started to think of Pakistan as home. It seems to be a place where women such as ourselves would be perpetual foreigners, but Pakistanis are very welcoming people. Do you think your DH would ever want to live in the US again? Could he think of your birth-home as his home?

Aishah said...


I don't have too much contact with locals, I think that maybe part of why I can feel like I am at home in the UAE. I know how they treat outsiders, Americans and other westerners at least get a bit of respect, but if you are Pakistani/Indian/basically any Asian country you may as well be dirt to locals(probably not every local thinks this way, but probably a majority).

In Pakistan, I had more contact with people outside the family and they don't seem to have the same idea of people not being born there not belonging. If you marry a Pakistani you belong there, you are his/her spouse.

Tariq already thinks of the US as home, and he wants to go back as much or more than I do. We are just waiting on some papers and he has some work to finish up, then we are out, inshAllah!