IT DOESN’T MATTER WHERE YOU’RE FROM
Something that I have immensely admired in my short observations of the community that we are apart of is, everyone is on a mission. I have seen people spanning from India, Kuwait, Thailand, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, England, Canada, Italy, France, Australia, and of course Bahrain and America. It is so refreshing to see everyone intermingled in grocery lines and eating food together. Growing up in a small town of Washington State and then moving to the South, I am thoroughly enjoying watching people that have their own stories and missions with a lack of care from where each person is from. Maybe it’s my bias in recently leaving the South, but it truly makes me realize just how many Americans separate themselves from other cultures and their inability to view everyone as a citizen of the world.
REGULATIONS ARE THERE FOR A REASON
While Bahrain is still growing industrially, being here allows me to truly appreciate the regulations that countries like Europe, Canada, or America have on their communities. There is very little policing that I have seen, here. In that, traffic signs seem to be nothing more than a suggestion and sidewalks are viable parking spaces to the public. It shows by the broken sidewalks and amount of chaos regarding traffic. However, it does open internal compassion for many foreign drivers in the States who are not used to such social jurisdiction.
STOP THE “FLUFF”
I am a woman of many words - if you couldn’t already tell. While most people in Bahrain know the English language, that does not mean they understand the amount of “fluff” that I put into my vocal sentence structuring. When I speak out loud, I naturally talk in circles with my phrasing. I’ve come to recognize that is due to being afraid of saying the wrong thing. People from America already have a hard time listening to me ask questions or tell stories - “GET IT OUT” is usually what I hear yelled at me.
So, just imagine my first few days in this country, trying to ask questions to a thousand different dialects. No one understood me! But this slowly made me realize that minimizing voiced words is essential in conveying a message.
Example conversations while calling real estate agents:
“Hello, my name is Candice. My husband and I just arrived in Bahrain on military orders and we are looking for a home in Juffair. We would like it close to the base, and we have two animals - a dog and a cat. The dog is 45 lbs and the cat is around 12 lbs. We will be needing to move in by the end of February. What do you have available?”
“Hello. Looking for apartment - Juffair. Navy. Close to base. Two pets - cat, dog.”
You can imagine my excitement on the third day when I realized people could understand me finally!
At first, I almost felt like a racist (for lack of a better term). I understood that the people spoke English, and I did not want to treat them like they were dumb - so, I just spoke how I normally would. It wasn’t until I was hilariously laughing with my best friend in telling her this that she stopped and reminded me of us, in many, who speak Spanish but cannot understand the language unless we are spoken to with the words we know - “Dos mascotas. Un perro. Un gato” (yes, I had to Google Translate that).
Um...why didn’t I think about this, before!? Of course, that makes sense.
And it was one of those beautiful moments where I realized just how excitedly out of my comfort zone I was. There wasn’t a part of me that wanted to only speak to those who knew my language but genuinely wanted to meet locals on their level - remembering, I am the foreigner. Maybe it’s me sending out good karma for when I travel to Italy and need someone to explain directions in very sloooow Italian?
YOU MAKE YOUR HOME
While I am thoroughly enjoying different cultural experiences, I have found myself exhausted within the second hour away from the inside of our doors. I started out the first few days afraid to leave our hotel and wanting to go home within an hour - so I am definitely growing in time away. However, I am learning to be kind to myself when I have hit my limit. Being prone to panic attacks, these are the tools I have learned through therapy in not punishing myself too hard.
We don’t have a home, right now. But, what we do have is two beautiful fur children that meet us at the door when we do return home from a trip. Picking them up after an overwhelming time away and feeling their soft love is the best way for me to combat foreign discomfort.
Soon enough, I will be able to transfer that feeling and draw on my own inner strength to bring me “home”, wherever I am. But until then, I am so lucky to have my husband and loves by my side.