My American Quilt

“Mom, can I have fries with my shawarma?”

My American experience is unique. Born in Houston, my parents moved me to the Middle East when I was four years old. My dad’s job transferred him. The move changed our lives. It wasn’t just the food we ate, the roads we traveled or even the fact my mom could no longer drive those roads because women weren’t allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. That move opened my eyes to opportunities. My world literally became bigger.

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Samosas, Soy Milk & Sadness: Picture Proof

A few of my favorite moments:

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I packed one carry-on & a purse (the camera bag fit in the purse) for this week-long excursion. I didn’t think I could do it, but I’m glad I did. I actually could have packed a little less, making the suitcase much lighter. Will remember that for next time…

And we’re off!

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The Journey Begins.

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Samosas, Soy Milk & Sadness: Going Home

Today, we have the luxury of programming frequently called numbers into our cell phones. I suppose I’m dating myself, but I remember dialing my grandmother & grandfather’s number by heart.

A few years into our relationship, Rasheed and I realized we didn’t really know each other’s numbers or anyone else’s for that matter. Since we were dating long distance and often drove hours to see one another, we knew it could be important that we at least memorize one number to call in case the unimaginable occurred so we memorized the other’s number. For years, his were the only numbers my brain could string together from memory. In the case of an emergency (or sheer joy), I dialed his 10 digits. To this day, his is the only number I know by heart.

A few weeks ago, that fact smacked me in the face.

I had to write down my emergency contact on a doctor’s form. For five years, that had been Rasheed. In an instant, it changed to my parents. I’m beyond grateful I have such amazing, supportive parents who are still around to love me and help me right now, but I’d be lying if I said that new reality didn’t hurt.

It hit me again just before boarding the plane home from India.

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Samosas, Soy Milk & Sadness: Day One

I wanna go to place where I am nothing and everything
That exists between here and nowhere

I wanna got to a place where time has no consequence oh yeah

The sky opens to my prayers

-Lyrics from India Aire’s Beautiful 


Two days ago I hopped on a plane with one carry-on full of wrinkled clothes, snacks and hope.

I’m an expert over-packer so the very fact I was able to fit a week’s worth of stuff into one roller bag is a miracle. But I must face the facts. I’m now the only one who will carry my bags. I’m now the one who will hoist them into the bins above. My “Big Arms” are getting the rest they deserve.

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