USA: Giving thanks from afar
As Thanksgiving approaches in the USA I am looking across the Atlantic from the Arabian Gulf in Abu Dhabi. Many of my workmates will fly home on their return odyssey for the first time in more than a year. The shock is profound no matter how you mentally prepare yourself.
They will get into a car and not fear for their life as maniacal drivers play Formula 1 games in their high powered vehicles. They will walk down their hometown streets and see males and females in equal proportion comfortably laughing and interacting. The clothes will be colorful and expressive of the individual who chose to wear that unique attire that day. The food on the table, the water in the tap and the ability to relax and have a drink even will be unfettered. Ex pats from the Gulf region are very thankful at this time for the freedoms that they experience on home soil.
Until you give it all up to support your family in these tough times you may take it for granted. In Abu Dhabi we are grateful for the work and welcome the challenges. Yet we also recognize the personal costs of these lost freedoms as we are interlopers in a private society required to abide by their religious doctrines, clothing restrictions, Royal decrees and the ability to send us home at any time. So be thankful all those who have managed to stay on home soil. It could be a universe apart like the UAE.