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.