The backward glance

I was born and raised in Ohio, and I always say that Ohio is a good place to be from. Emphasis on the last word – the best view of Ohio was in the rearview mirror of my 1983 Honda Civic.

When you first move somewhere, you tend to romanticize it. And diss the place you left. Something like what happens with boyfriends when you’re in your 20s.

Seattle was so much better than Warren, Ohio. Until I realized that it took years to make friends in Seattle that were as good as the ones I had in Warren in the first few months.

Kabul was so much more interesting than Seattle. Until I was choking on the fecal dust and looking at my third straight winter day without hot water for a shower.

And Dubai was, of course, such an improvement over Kabul. Until the 100th time that I was blocked from using a legitimate web site – Google translation, or an Israeli newspaper, or Skype – by the UAE’s censorware.

Will Dili be better than Dubai? I have no doubt that it will.

Today I saw photos of the compound that has the office for the project that Tom will direct as well as our apartment-to-be. There’s a rooftop jacuzzi and mango trees in the yard. There’s a 90-something caretaker who comes with the place because he’s lived there all his life, and so allowing him to stay is just part of the lease. In Dubai, if you don’t want to pay two-thirds percent of your salary for a studio apartment, you’re s—-outta-luck.

But for now, I’m stuck in that in-between place. Where I still love Dubai looking at it straight-on, even as I start to turn away.