Post Dubai Reflections
It's been nearly 2 months since I returned to the States. I, of course, jumped immediately into work, LCK Productions had a technical rehearsal 6 hours after I landed, the event later that night. I gave a speech about 13 hours after deplaning, left the venue, and promptly collapsed for the next 12 hours. The next days brought new shifts at my part-time job, I spent 2 week traversing the East Coast to visit family, puppy sat on the upper east side, and now, finally, things feel a little bit calmer and I have a moment to reflect. It's been an adjustment resettling here, the time change has (almost) turned me into a morning person. I used to be up until wee hours of the morning working, talking, reading, or just enjoying the late night quiet. Now I start yawning by 11 pm and have been up past 3 am once, considering my body now wakes me up at dawn with or without my consent, the next day was rough. It hasn't happened again.
I'm also discovering how much I need a routine in my life. I was lucky to be hired back at one of my former jobs, but the hours are only in the evening during the week. When I have nowhere I need to be until 6 pm, no homework, no deadlines, or time-sensitive responsibilities, it can be really hard to get moving on anything. I spent an embarrassing number of days reading or browsing the internet in my room until the need for food forced me to venture out. We are subject to physics after all; objects at rest tend to stay at rest.
There were, of course, a few more shifts, one friend referred to it as "Reverse Culture Shock" and another, perhaps my favorite, called it the "Dubai Hangover". You forget how loud it is here, how in your face American culture really is, and how we communicate is vastly different. I found myself missing some of the bluntness of the Arab world.
And the food. I miss the food over there way more than I was prepared for, my eating and drinking habits changed as a result of my time over there as well. I've been forced to keep a lot of them based on how much body has reacted to being back on American soil. I have a much more plant-based diet than before, and I'm feeling healthier than when I left.
(Note to anyone who spends a considerable length of time abroad; be careful about the consumption of processed food immediately upon returning... Two days back I succumbed to my old bad day cure of Kraft Mac & Cheese and a glass of wine... which found me in the bathroom not too much later. The differences in food composition overseas is no joke.)
I think the hardest part for me is the openness of my schedule. I don't have a purpose anymore, my days aren't dictated by problems I have to solve, the only routine I have is the one I make for myself and I am absolutely struggling at what I want that to look like.
I won't know for a few more weeks if I'll be returning to Dubai or not. In the mean time I'm looking into flexible alternatives for work. Managing an event here, consulting there, or laying out groundwork for something new entirely...
More changes are coming, stay tuned. Even I am not sure where they'll take me.