Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

Tomorrow, when our world changed

One year ago, on the weekend that has just ended, we went camping. It was the first night of the season in New York for state park camping. We found a great site at Treman State Park. We set up the tent, gathered some firewood, read books around the campfire, and cooked up some dinner. That night was literally freezing cold. All four of us slept in a huddled bunch under multiple sleeping bags and blankets to keep warm. In the morning, we ate breakfast cookies, went hiking, packed up camp, and went home.

That family camping trip was such a wonderful experience, one of those rare times where you don't need to wait until afterward to recognize its wonderfulness - you realize it even as you're experiencing it. To this day, all my memories of our little camp in the woods seem to be cast in a soft, cosy glow, the perfect embodiment of everything we loved about Ithaca and how hard we'd worked to get there.

The next day, Jeremy received a job offer from the American University of Sharjah. In a moment, everything changed.

And you know what? I yearn for The Day Before, that day of camping when everything was as it was, and always would be. When we were happy in Ithaca with no reason to think of leaving. When it was just us and upstate New York, a happy future stretched out in front of us for at least another year or two.

I'm not saying I wish we'd never left Ithaca, and that's what makes my yearning for The Day Before so impossible. We are happy here in Sharjah and we made the right decision, but I treasure those halcyon days when we didn't know the UAE was a brilliant option for our family.

I don't miss living in Ithaca as much as I miss living in Ithaca in a state of blissful ignorance of what was to come. Do you see the distinction?

But you can never get it back. You can never go back to The Day Before.

There are other Day Befores in my life. They are usually a treasured moment before finding out some piece of news that closes a certain door forever. The Day Before finding out I wasn't pregnant, when I'd already picked out maternity clothes and calculated a due date. The Day Before we learned we'd be in Cairo, not Alexandria, when my dream of a Mediterranean Summer could still have come true. The Day Before I decided not to go to law school, and grad school slipped (almost!) out of my reach.

Am I the only one who looks back on these moments of beautiful impermanence? What are your Day Befores?

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