Lifestyle

Where do you think you will live happy?

Batu_Feringghi,_Penang
Batu Feringghi Beach in Penang, Malaysia

I lived 15 years in Kuwait, I hated it. I dreamed of moving to Jordan. After I moved with family to Jordan I felt entrapped and bored all the times. I wanted so badly to leave the country. I went to pursue a Masters degree in Penang, Malaysia. A beautiful island that is a tourist attraction all year round. But, I was counting the days to finish my program and leave. I left as soon as I passed my viva (thesis defense) before even receiving my certificate. I have been in the Mid West for 12 years and I know I don’t want to live here any longer. Hopefully, one more year and I am done. I just can’t live any longer away from the coast.

So, it seems at 40 I am still not decided, yet, where I want to live or where is my happy place. What about you? Do you know where you want to work or live?

I wish countries don’t have these visa and immigration issues. I would love to work for a year or two in Europe.

The following excerpt is from the book “The Road Less Traveled.” The theme here is ‘responsibility.’ That is, we should accept responsibility for a problem before we can solve it. It is strange to what extent we can go to find lame excuses not to enjoy our life or adapt to a new place, culture or environment.

Sea_kayaking_Zamami_Okinawa
Sea kayaking Zamami Okinawa

A young wife, also in Okinawa, cut her wrist lightly with a razor blade and was brought to the emergency room, where I
saw her. I asked her why she had done this to herself.
“To kill myself, of course.”
“Why do you want to kill yourself?”
“Because I can’t stand it on this dumb island. You have to send me back to the States. I’m going to kill myself if I have
to stay here any longer.”
“What is it about living in Okinawa that’s so painful for you?” I asked.
She began to cry in a whining sort of way. “I don’t have any friends here, and I’m alone all the time.”
“That’s too bad. How come you haven’t been able to make any friends?”
“Because I have to live in a stupid Okinawan housing area, and none of my neighbors speak English.”
“Why don’t you drive over to the American housing area or to the wives’ club during the day so you can make some
friends?”

Furuzamami beach Okinawa
Furuzamami beach Okinawa

“Because my husband has to drive the car to work.”
“Can’t you drive him to work, since you’re alone and bored all day?” I asked.
“No. It’s a stick-shift car, and I don’t know how to drive a stick-shift car, only an automatic.”
“Why don’t you learn how to drive a stick-shift car?” She glared at me. “On these roads? You must be crazy.”

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6 thoughts on “Where do you think you will live happy?

  1. That is a loaded question. Happiness changes over time. Being content with who you are and your circumstances is key. Doing work that you believe in makes life a worthwhile journey indeed.

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  2. Oh, I will miss you being in the Midwest, but I totally understand wanting a change. I hope you can find a place where you will feel more content – hopefully somewhere warm and near the water.

    I sometimes wish to do something different. I am where I grew up, and near family. I love that aspect much of the time, but sometimes I do wish to experience something different. But when I’m tempted to be discontent with my lot in life, I think of my Syrian friend who wishes to be with his family, to visit his home, and cannot.

    You could apply for a visa to work in Europe. I think some areas are not that hard to get into and since you have lived in the US, maybe that will be helpful.

    I’m glad no matter where you go, we can keep in touch online! 🙂

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    1. Usually the birth place of a person is what most of us consider home. We have beautiful memories of our childhood in that place. For many immigrant Arabs in the Gulf countries we don’t have such thing. We were born in countries that deny us. The children of immigrants in these countries are forced to leave the country as soon as they are 18.
      Last summer, an Indian friend, who is doing his PhD at Johns Hopkins University (one of the top universities in the States), was denied a visa to Saudi Arabia to go see his parents. Although, he was born and raised in Saudi Arabia and although his parents and family are still there they denied him entering to see his parents.
      So, you see I was born and lived in Kuwait for fifteen years but I feel ZERO nostalgia about that country. I am 41 since of yesterday but I only lived ten years in Jordan. Am I Jordanian because of my passport? I only consider Jordan home because my parents are there.
      Unfortunately, from my experience in changing places my happy place is where I am not at. Indeed content is the key but I yet to find it.

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      1. I’m really glad you shared that about yourself, Jaraad. For some reason I thought you had warm thoughts on Kuwait. Was life difficult for you there? I did sometimes wonder why you lived there, but guessed it was due to your father having work in Kuwait that he didn’t have in Jordan.

        I was surprised to read you were bored in Jordan and wanted to leave the country! I had a different impression of your life there. It does seem as if you are searching for home somewhat. YOUR home. Where you feel you belong and are content.

        My Syrian friend wasn’t born in Syria, but grew up there so he does feel a huge connection to Damascus. Yet he has been out of the country for over four years, and now can not go back. And like your friend who was denied a visa to Saudi, Samer has not been able to get a visa lately to visit his family in Dubai. And most of them cannot visit him in Germany. So that is frustrating.

        Life is just a struggle for so many people! I appreciate your sharing your heart in this matter. I enjoyed learning more about your thoughts and feelings on this subject.

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      2. Back in the 60s and 70s when farming started to disappear, Jordanians started looking for jobs overseas. Some went to Germany and some others to the Arab Gulf. My father worked in Kuwait for 22 years.
        Okay, I think I wasn’t totally fair about Kuwait. I had a wonderful childhood. I loved every moment of it. It is just during teenage period, -like any other teenage- I hated living there. I was 15 when we left Kuwait. During the three months summer school break we used to go to Jordan and Syria and we loved being there. I and my sister felt we belong there more among cousins and relatives.

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