This is what happened. Two days ago, while in Abu Dhabi, I was waiting for the IT to come and help me with my non functioning computer – well just the email portion of it. I decided to use the search engine of my blog to see how many times Qatar had been mentioned – 162 times (by the way). I decided to look at the last one which had been posted on February 2, 2017 which is, by the way, five years ago. What is amazing is that it describes my current life style so accurately. I was in London, seeing a private physician for the last time. He had referred me for on going care to his Internist, Dr. Sandburg. I was crazy about Dr. Woolson and the feeling was mutual, according to Dr. Sandburg. So we are presently going back five years.
“Dr, Woolfson called my lifestyle Itinerant, such a perfect word. I looked it up for you; peripatetic, wandering, roaming, touring, saddlebag, nomadic, gypsy, migrant, vagrant, of no fixed address. So that is absolutely right on – well except for the saddlebag. I am not too fond of being called a saddlebag, I guess that is just me.
The other pearl of wisdom he gave was to appreciate the unique dilemma I am in. He said that he did not envy those people with independent income, with wealth accumulated so that they never had to work, the world being their oyster with countless opportunities beckoning. The problem he opined was the difficulty of making a decision and once made, sticking to it. I am a more humble version of that of which he speaks. My hard earned retirement benefit coupled with my lack of family (in the traditional sense) gives me countless opportunities. I felt I had his sympathy, others less gifted and blind to my true circumstance offer jealousy.
Then he switched gears and gave me medical knowledge. The subject was my arthritic knees. It is better to see a physiotherapist than a surgeon because it is less invasive – surgeons just want to cut. “Just want to cut” is my phrase not his. I know Dr. Woolfson is right because physiotherapy is more portable and with my itinerant life style, it fits better. I also have no one to wait on me hand and foot, this a necessity in the post operative state. Poor me”
I look back at that entry in sheer wonderment because it was written within the first ten days of the writing of this blog. I had already established the tone, the style and the writing which characterizes it to this day. Looking back it seemed I ‘grew into” the blog but, not so, it was present in the very beginning. That was extraordinary to see.
But, back to my life. I did have a break from being an itinerant. I travelled to Vancouver, planning to live back in the country of my birth. I stayed for two years until sheer misery propelled.me out of there and back to San Francisco with the intent of remaining there – Covid and the pandemic drove me from what would have been a good resting place. Then it was back to Marin County, which had been my home since 1973. But the horrible discrimination Imposed upon me as a (recent) Muslim woman forced me to flee to live in a Muslim majority country. My intention to live in Abu Dhabi forever was thwarted when the retirement visa, for some reason, was denied.. Thank goodness and my lucky stars for that!! Reasons for relief will be found on a later blog. Therefore, I am back to being an itinerant. It is not difficult with two passports and independent retirement income as long as the rules are explained (and followed) This did not take place initially when went to the UAE. Probably because they were eager to get people on board for Expo 2020. Nobody said nothing about nothing and the Internet was no help whatsoever. Other Middle East countries, including Qatar, make it perfectly clear and provide you with the method, means and opportunity of compliance. This is not true of Dubai where Illusion reigns. Abu Dhabi appeared to be a refuge but the two are hopelessly intertwined for reasons I am now beginning to understand.
It is most helpful to be a Muslim as peace and inner happiness is promised and delivered. Trust in Allah allays anxieties and fears and one is most welcomed by all Muslims – from every nation.
Once a month I get a reminder of what I am NOT missing. The monthly retirement association newsletter arrives via email and the ordinariness of my colleagues’ lives are revealed. Last month emailed a fellow associate congratulating her on her contributions to the newsletter. She suggested a write an article for their newsletter with limited circulation. (had formerly been the much criticized editor, people were always telling me how and what I should write.)
Me: Bit why would I write an article for your newsletter when the membership can read of my daily exploits – they can and thousands of others already do? An article contrasting your life and mine might be interesting as you have led a more conventional life.
She: (no response whatsoever but she did respond to my initial email and I thanked her for that).
The newsletter reports of ordinary lives – grandchildren being born, great grandchildren being born. A rather paltry scholarship program for the grandchildren of members, lunches that are called off because they can not get 25 members to attend. Paltry has, by the way, many synonyms: meager, trifling, insignificant, negligible, inadequate, insufficient, scant, scanty, derisory, sorry, puny, trivial, inappreciable, mere. Its antonym is substantial. Do admit that my major motivation in subscribing to the newsletter is to see who died. But it does fill my with sadness to see so many shall we say, slip away. Slip away is one of the euphemisms for die, croak, pass away. Euphemism is a mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing.
There is nothing unpleasant or embarrassing about dying when one is of the Islamic faith. My former friend Colette once wisely said:
She: You get the afterlife you believe in.
Me: I guess that is ok. When I die I just go into oblivion.
But that was years ago, before I became a Muslim. Now I believe that I shall go to Jannah when I die – if I keep behaving myself. I will be joined there by people I love who pray to be with me and I with them. That is such a comforting thought, I face death with no fear. But I do know that my dead Marin County colleagues did not die in the faith. I pity them and seeing their names in the In Memoriam section makes me wince.
But enough of that and now back to my rather extraordinary life. Things have not gone at all well since the writing of this blog began. Most of my travail has been witnessed by Instagram viewers as I have done reels and posts telling of my woe. Travail’s synonyms suggest all that I have been through in the past couple of days; trial, drudgery, ordeal. tribulation; trials and tribulations, trouble, hardship, privation, stress; toil, slog, effort, exertion, work, endeavor; sweat.
I went to the Hamad Airport on Wednesday to learn that my flight left on Thursday. Called Jerick the wonderful manager of the Plaza Inn who told me to come on back to my room and sent the driver to pick me up. It was back to the airport on Thursday armed with everything I thought. But my PCR from the hotel that got me out of quarantine was not ‘good’ enough to land me back in Abu Dhabi so I was refused entry. I had to go back to the Plaza Inn yet again, returning to get an expensive speedy PCR and hopefully I now leave this afternoon. But who knows? But I had a rather good time, learned a lot, made some valuable connections. Those you shall hear of soon. Some are truly amazing – I promise you.
The wonderful Manager, on the way to my room last night, pointed to an item on his phone. Apparently there will be no more quarantine in hotels beginning on February 28. We both laughed and laughed and laughed. My timing was just a bit off.
The photograph is of me in the hotel lobby looking most color coordinated waiting for my driver to give me a ride to get my expensive, speedy PCR. The hotel was so helpful and diligent – making sure that an appointment was not necessary and making sure that the results would arrive by check in time. I do love this place.