Thursday, April 30, 2009

Where in the World Should I Go?

I asked you, earlier this month, where you thought I should go. Here's what 31 of you readers said:

Bangladesh 2 (6%)

Egypt 3 (9%)

Oman 2 (6%)

Morocco 4 (12%)

Qatar 0 (0%)

Saudi 4 (12%)

Turkey 2 (6%)

U.A.E. 4 (12%)

U.S.A.--don't go! 10 (32%)

OK, so most of you thought that I should stay. I hear where you are coming from. I have family in the States and I really do love them.
On the other hand, I am having trouble getting employment and child care. I have run out of money. I need to leave my apartment and move in with my mom.
So, leaving for me, while sad, is also an exciting possibility.
I did get interested in Saudi and Oman before, but the harsh realities of living in either country didn't keep me dreaming of those places. I am perhaps too free-spirited to be in a very restrictive Muslim country.
Qatar isn't really sending a beacon of light to welcome me.
Morocco is less restrictive, but doesn't pay enough. Yemen is both restrictive AND doesn't pay well.
Bangladesh? Man, I feel for those brother and sisters in Islam, but I don't want to live there. I don't. It's too much deprivation AND strife.
Turkey really isn't interested in having hejabi teachers. Even though I didn't put Tunisia on there, the same goes for that country. So, wouldn't that be the pits to make hijrah only to end up in a Muslim country that makes it difficult to be Muslim?
Soooo what haven't I mentioned? Ya, it's the one place I really feel like I'm going.
Why Egypt?
I went to Egypt in 2002. Ya, it was a dream. I was reunited with AbuBoo in Cairo and married in Port Said and spent my two-week honeymoon there in a kind of happy daze.
But, I'm not planning to relocate there in the hopes of finding memories of the man I once married.
I'm hoping to go in order to find myself.
Since my trip there, I have not traveled overseas. That is CRAZY to me, as I readily identify myself as a traveler. I love being the "fish out of water" and feel the boundaries and explore where I stop and my world begins.
Every time I thought of leaving the U.S., it was to go back to Egypt. In all those years of struggling, you'd find me lying in bed at night dreaming of being back in Egypt. My TEFL certification was obtained so I could someday teach in Egypt.
Every Ramadan I wanted to be there. I felt so strongly about it this past year, that I actually bought tickets for us to go. I wanted and NEEDED to be there. It's been a powerful pull on me.
Sure, it's partly the people. I need to see Mr. Boo's other grandma. I might not have an Islamic obligation to do it, but I feel the burden on me nontheless. I want her to meet her grandson. I want to hug her again. For years, I would pray for her and her husband in my fajr's sujud. I loved them deeply as my family. The divorce forced me to re-examine that. The death of my former father-in-law made me feel the finite nature of our relationships.
And there's aunties and uncles and cousins. I have never felt more a part of a happy family than when I belonged to that family. Honestly, I feel like I still do belong to them, through Mr. Boo, as I am UmBoo.
But, people are not the whole story. There are the number of schools wanting an experienced teacher (but not needing a Masters). There's the amount of pay versus the cost of living. There is the moderate Islam I would be able to practice. There are fun places to go and the freedom to go to them.
When I was sending out a high number of cover letters, I would never cut and paste. I wrote each letter from the heart. This one particular letter was different from the rest. I ended up writing this:
There is nothing I would like more in the world
than to be hired to teach in Egypt.
I found myself writing that. When I wrote it, I stopped at thought for a moment. I had written, "Wallahi." Did I really feel that way?
Yes, I did.
And I opened myself up to God with my heart's desire and God rewarded me.
Hey, Gang, wherever you thought I should go (or not go) please make du'a that our trip to Egypt be the beginning of goodness.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Sister,
Be careful. If you take your child. and your ex chooses to take him away. to give to his family to raise. you will have alot of problems. and might not be able to get him back.