Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Monday, September 8, 2014

Silent Expat Secret

It's just a part of the deal. You will be new and scared. You will be helped. You will learn the ropes and grow stronger and more confident. Eventually you become an all wise and experienced resident expert (usually within a year or less). Then you must pay it back. No one ever commits to the deal out loud it's just how it works. It can be fun to share the new tricks you have figured out with someone new who is grateful. All in all it's fulfilling to be helpful and focused on serving other families like you were blessed when you arrived. I believe we come preprogrammed to want to connect with people, lighten anothers burden and serve each other.

I was in a very happy, stable place in Singapore. I knew the ropes. I was a "helper" after more than three years there. As I contemplated the move to Saudi there were two things I thought of a lot. One was that panic feeling of "what if" and "where do I go if I need" stuff. The other was "they will help me" because I had a knowledge as firm as a mountain that the women in my new community would see me, grab me, love me and help me. They would reach out and make sure I had been to a grocery store. They would know where to go to get an abaya altered. They would tell me where to go to buy turtle food and who can cut a white girls hair. And even call me when cottage cheese was at the store for the first time in 6 weeks so I could call a driver and go over before it sold out.

I still wish I was the know it all. But I'm accepting my place as the newbie right now and feeling grateful for the women that stop when they see me on the sidewalk around the compound and remember my name. Next year I can join their ranks and help someone new to Saudi Arabia.

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