If you are counting the days, you should have around 45 tick marks since I started my transcontinental adventure. In this time, I have learned a great deal about life, Epic, culture/people and, mostly, myself.
Just when you think that have a solid grip on life, it shows you a maneuver that you have never imagined. Whether it is in your personal or professional life, this fact remains true for most every human on earth. Even hearing that, you may be thinking “come on, every person knows that.” But I challenge you to think about the times in your life when life has really altered courses on you. We as a human race have an option to handle these times in several ways. If we live our lives as a constant sequence of reactions, we will never fully learn and grow. To do this, we must think one-step-ahead. The assumption that status quo will continue, is a sign of blind ignorance.
Okay, so I am rambling… But my point is that life has pitched a whole variety of situations my way. I know I am nowhere near perfect, but I am happy to know that I am growing and maturing in my decision process.
Within the realm of EMR software, there are many options. I am lucky to have worked at Epic and to have received knowledge of the market leader. In my time since I left, Epic has grown and evolved. Many of the tools that were seemingly lacking when I was in Verona, have been enhanced. It is awesome to see the tools in their current state. And now, I am excited to learn more about these tools.
This is the main thing I want to talk to you about tonight: Cultural Differences. If you were to take a slice of my life from July 4th, 2014 and compare it to July 4th 2015 you would think you were watching a DirecTV commercial. Sure both people look like me, but almost everything about their life path is different.
Moving to Saudi Arabia brought about many changes in my life. As I prepared for my move, I read a lot of websites and blogs trying to get an idea of what to expect over here. Some seemed to have a proper grasp of the ways of life, but others miss the mark. I did not pack any printed tee shirts or shorts for fear of the religious police. But Khobar is a more relaxed part of the Kingdom.
I am also learning a lot about Arab and Muslim culture. These two things are different, but they are often used interchangeably (and incorrectly) back home. One of the big things I have learned is that religion and faith plays a HUGE part in all areas of life here. Women all wear abayas in public and most will wear a hijab. Even though some women will wear a niqab, this is not required; instead it is a personal choice.
I found this image searching for “niqab,” and it shows examples of different veils and coverings. In Saudi Arabia, these are all black.
I grew up in the south and Texas. I have experienced many different “blue laws,” but now, I understand the difference between “blue laws” and a government that is religion-based. In America, Chick Fil A and a handful of other businesses are closed on Sunday. Here, everything is closed on Friday/Jummah: malls, restaurants, services, etc. During prayer times, everything must close. Noone can enter restaurants. This took some getting used to for sure. But in trying to understand these differences I have been able to learn about their culture and their lives.
Another thing I am learning is that Saudi is pronounced Saw-Oo-dee not Soww-dee. It is kinda cool to know these things.
I appreciate every bit of my upbringing and life so far, but I am alo so grateful for these experiences. I feel like my capability to understand people and love others has grown exponentially.
My beliefs on home have further developed as well. I am sure at some point in my life, I will settle down; I doubt I can be a nomad forever. But I am finding more and more that my home is better served as the places where I am.
I read a quote from Warsan Shire tonight,
At the end of the day, it isn’t where I came from. Maybe home is somewhere I’m going and never have been before.
I feel like this is very appropriate for how I view things currently. I look forward to the many adventures to come.
This week I will be flying back to America to spend some time in New England. I should be able to get a post or two in while I am there.
Until next time.