This has been a busy month. I’ve been travelling constantly.
(Literally my last thirty days has been: Riyadh> Barcelona> Montreal> Cleveland> Washington DC> Riyadh> Jeddah> Riyadh> Dubai> Muscat> Dubai> Riyadh).
Couple that with the fact that this was my birthday week and birthdays are always a bit somber for me, I did not think that Saudi National Day would mean much to me this year…
I was wrong. I got to thinking about how much I love this country and how blessed I am to be able to spend my time here working and having incredible opportunities and friendships.
See, Saudi means more to me than most people. Saudi is the birthplace of all of my dearest friends. It is the place where my religion was founded. It is the country that my beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws) spent his years.
It is nearly an impossible place to visit as an American - even harder as an American female - and even harder still as a 24 year old. However, I moved here as a 24 year old and spent over two and a half years within its borders in all.
Saudi is my home. Not just my home away from home. No, Saudi is where I feel at home. The first time I stepped off the plane in Riyadh my soul felt like it was home. My heart had a sigh of relief. It’s inexplicable, it’s serendipitous. It just is my favorite place on earth. When I leave I miss it terribly and I can never wait to come back.
And I love everything about this country.
I love its traditions. Amazing food. Old school culture. Unique clothing. Different regions. Diverse accents. Deep Islamic roots and values.
I love its modernism. Women’s rights including driving. Forward-thinking technology. Mixed events. New media sources and outlets.
Congratulations to the progress made in the country this year. Women are driving (including me). Movie theatres are opening. Tonight I went to an electronic music concert that even had a mosh pit. There are new opportunities on the horizon and I pray I stay in this country to witness them.
Is it perfect? No.
Only Heaven is perfect.
But it is a beautiful country filled with rich traditions, a changing population, and love for Islam.
And, there’s no place on earth I’d rather be.
From Khobar to Hail to Mecca to Abha to, of course, my beloved Qaseem and Riyadh - I love every inch of this place. May God continue to bless and protect Saudi, its leaders, and its people.
Thanks for having me.