Leaving KSA

السفر قطعة من العذاب

Traveling can be trying, torturous, so many things.  My travels which began on August 8th were no exception.

I hadn’t been home in two years, so this trip to the states would be special.  I hoped it would be anyway.  As is customary for me, I spent the day before beginning my journey preparing.  I made sure I cleaned and threw out anything in the fridge that would spoil during the time I would be away.  I sat and thought from time to time as I wondered what it would be like.  As I said, it had been two years and I would also be traveling alone.  I didn’t sleep the entire night with the thought and hope that I’d be able to sleep once I reached Jeddah which was the first stop on my trip.

At 5:50am I anxiously waited for the driver to arrive.  My flight was at 7:40 and I wanted to be in the airport no later than 6:30.  It was 5:55 and I was tempted to call him for fear that he fell asleep or simply forgot and would be late.  But, lo and behold my BB said in big red letters “SOS.”  Oh my God!  Well at least I had another phone to use.  That’s what I thought.  I checked my other phone and it read, “No Service.”  Great! Just what I needed.  I took my bags outside and checked multiple times for the driver.  I was doing my best to remain calm.  It was 5:57 and I couldn’t bear it any longer so I decided to knock on my neighbor’s door.  I knocked lightly on the door, but thank God the driver was there.  It was 5:58.

I got to the airport.  Walking in I was holding my abaya up a little because it was too long.  Why I wore that one I’ll never know, but oh well.  I checked in, got through security and proceeded to the departure area.  I got to the escalator and stood for a second.  I was waiting for it to move, but it was not to be.  Darn! That meant I’d have to walk up the escalator.  Remember, I said I hadn’t slept all night.  I was not really prepared to walk.  After all it would require some coordination which I wasn’t sure I would have at that moment.  I started up the steps trying desperately not to trip over my abaya or on a step.  I had played the scenario in my head several times.  Picture it, halfway up I trip and come tumbling down like something out of Tom & Jerry.  At the bottom, a black ball with blinking eyes.  “This used to be Amal,” is what it would say next to the ball of mess.

Thankfully, I made it to the top without incident.  But this was only the first leg of my trip.  Fortunately, I was spending the day/night in Jeddah.  It gave me the chance to get some much needed sleep and rest to prepare for the second and longest leg of the trip, Jeddah to Washington, DC.

Next, a long and uncomfortable flight.

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