There is a feeling I get when landing back in Riyadh, which is like sitting back in your favorite chair that has moulded its self to your body perfectly. Everything fits into the right place. It is an enormous relief, no matter how much fun we were having, to be back home where I know where everything is if I need it.
When I am traveling I feel totally disconnected. My life here revolves around my family – ‘my tribe’ as I call them. This is not only my ‘mini tribe’, consisting of my husband and children, but of my whole tribe of mother, father. sisters, sisters in law, brothers in law, cousins, aunts and uncles. It is a foreign feeling to be somewhere without the them for a long while.
Although we live our lives separately we also live them in union. Yes, we all live in our own independent houses and have our own routines. Yet during the week we have lunches and dinners together, cousins come back from school to one of their aunts houses, and little ones have sleep overs and weekends away together. And if there is ever anyone who is ill, God forbid, or needs support, then we all come together without a second thought.
The whole always comes before the individual.
I remember when I was 15 and at a sleep away summer school I would speak to my mother every day. My room mate looked at me one night and said “You know, you really have to cut the apron strings. It’s not healthy to speak to your mother every day!” What would she say if she knew that so many years later (well not so many but a significant number of years), after marriage and 4 children, I see my mother at least 5 times a week!
I am hoping the invisible rubber bands that keep us all together will start pulling everyone back home soon. Or pulling us to them. I don’t mind either way! But I am a bit lost without my tribe.