Friday, 22 February 2013

Back to the Future!

“Never be afraid to trust 
an unknown future to a known God.”

What wise words Corrie Ten Boom, a Dutch Christian who helped Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during the Second World War, spoke! If only I could be so brave in stepping forward in my own life.

Life As We Know It 

Since I last wrote in December, a lot has happened. As usual, I’ve been keeping busy with work, extra-curricular activities (very FUN and exciting ones that I’ll mention later!!), housework, a trip to Toronto to visit my family last month, and trying to make a big decision.
Decisions, decisions, decisions!

I can be a decisive person when I’m very, very sure of myself. Other times, I fall victim to just letting life happen to me. I know that’s not the best approach to life; successful people grab life by the horns, know exactly where they’re going, and take control. They make it happen! In certain situations, I’m certainly like this. Not all decisions or paths are so black and white, though. This is especially the case once you are married and want a family! A given decision suddenly affects so many people.

Stepping into the Unknown

See, the “big decision” I’m trying to make is one that I don’t feel I am—or DH is—completely informed about. Back in October, I applied for my PhD in English. In Canada. I was accepted to a superb program back in 2011 immediately after my master’s, but turned the offer—and an excellent funding award—to move to Saudi Arabia. I know I made the right decision in making the move, but at the time, I kind of just “went with the flow” since DH was already here, and I wanted to pay off my undergraduate student loan.
Now that that goal is nearly achieved—alhamdulillah!! (Arabic for “praise God”)—DH and I are trying to regroup and plot out the next step. Stay here or move home? Find work in Canada, or return to graduate school (both of us? one of us?) Try to have a baby soon, or wait until things are more settled? So many questions!!! It`s stressful, unsettling, and making both DH and I lose so much sleep!

Trusting in God

I’ve been trying to continually remind myself of Corrie Ten Boom’s words above...that I need to trust God. The future is uncertain, but God’s plans are already perfectly planned. I’m constantly praying about what`s best for me, for DH and I, for our future. We were in Mecca last weekend and I prayed that God would guide me to the best thing. Immediately after I finished this prayer—I kid you not—my phone beeped and I received my first offer of admission for my PhD in Canada. It seems so clear: DO MY PHD!!!! But what if that means DH doesn’t have a job in the city I move to? What if I am in London, ON, and he finds a job in Toronto? That’s a three hour drive...too long for either of us to commute every single day!
If I don’t accept one of the offers for the PhD and DH gets a job in one of the cities I’ve been offered admission, I will never be able to get over it!!! I have a tight time frame: I think I can stretch deadlines for my decision until the end of March, but likely not beyond that.

Also, re-entering academia most likely means putting plans for a family on hold—at least for another year or two. We can definitely deal with this, but it would be a sacrifice. Would I be able to be a good mother in the face of such a demanding program and an equally—if not more—demanding future career?
Mecca during the Friday prayer, mashallah!
Back to the Present 

For now, I have to sit and wait and see what happens next (and no, I’m NOT being indecisive; I want to be informed!) I want to more thoroughly research the schools to which I’ve been accepted and check out maternity benefits (if any!) and what options I would potentially have for maternity leave. After all, William and Kate are expecting their first baby this summer, and DH and I were married only a few months after them. We have to get on it! Lol
Embracing the Present
I suppose this entry, after all this time, hasn’t really been about things related to life in Saudi Arabia, but it does demonstrate the struggle that expatriates here—or in any foreign country—face when trying to plan the future. It’s not easy to uproot one’s entire life for an amazing opportunity, have a great, tax-free salary, benefits, job stability, and a comfortable life, and then contemplate moving back to an economically-unstable home. We want stability, careers, and something certain to which we can return! But alas, for this moment, we have to keep trusting in God’s plans. When we have such an uncertain future, we can find solace in a certain God! Alhamdulillah!

Next Time: Production News!

Last but not least, I’m now thrilled to give a little “sneak peek” into my next post: I’ll be writing about my current production of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. I am co-directing this play with a colleague and a wonderful, energetic group of university students here at my university in Jeddah.
The Taming of the Shrew
Stay posted on details about how we casted the play (all girls!), how rehearsals have been going, and details about the upcoming performance date! So excited to share this up and coming project with you all!

Until then,