You Chose It

You chose it, you wanted it, and most of the time, you love it.

Don’t complain.

The cornflakes that are poured into a bowl, the bread that pops from a toaster, the shopping cart and the franchise store – it’s all the same. Grande latte, quarter pounder, savings or credit, would you like fries with that?

But there are days where the differences are hard to comprehend.

It moves beyond the yearning for a farmers market, a grassy hill, the sound of a train and being able to walk on a footpath and hear the multiple sounds of suburbia. Birds, dogs, and postal delivery vans are somehow silenced.

The life that comes with radio banter and television gossip is gone, replaced with podcasts and downloads. I plan my news, my music and movies. My own discoveries come in reviews and word searches rather than gifts “here’s a new one from…”

I watched a maid in a uniform walking three steps behind two Abaya wearing teenage girls, she was carrying their shopping bags while they texted. My smile in her direction was pathetic, puppy eyed and useless – she returned it with a look of exhaustion and sadness. I saw a friend rush back to her car to secure a cardigan “I better put this on, even though it’s 40 degrees – don’t want to upset anyone”. A man asked to wash my car for the total of 5 Australian dollars.

Where have you come from for this to be a better option?

“So how’s Qatar?” my Aunt asked on a recent trip to Australia. She stands behind forty other How’s Qatars that have come my way in the past week.

“It’s good!” my reply is chirpy and short. I don’t want to have to reel the list off again.

“You’re very good at that. You’re very good at “it’s good!”

It’s always the first question. How is it? You want to push it aside, get on with the real stuff. A visit is limited and you can’t go through the same conversation again.

The list or reasons roll off your tongue with ease, you don’t bother to switch the order; the school is great, we’ve made great friends, the city is alive with opportunity, and G loves his job.

The macro. The predictable. Do you want fries with that answer?

How could I expect you to understand the micro when I don’t understand it myself.

I love the development, I hate the development. I love the culture, I don’t understand the culture. I love the opportunity, I worry about the opportunists. I hate the shopping malls, I continue to go to shopping malls for groceries each week.

I’m here to learn, I’m trying to work it out, I want to know more.

I chose it, I wanted it, and most of the time, I love it.

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