Goodbye, my lovely children

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THE month of March this year spells the end of long established family arrangements for a lot of expatriates, many of whom are from the Asian continent. It is in this month that the end of school year exams is being held, and it is in this month that many of the graduating expat children will bid goodbye to a land they have been residing in.

For parents it is an emotional time as families are being wrenched apart by the decision of the head of household to send them back to their home country, a decision that was heavily considered and taken bearing in mind the added expenses the expat had to bear for the allowance of maintaining his or her family members here.

While the host country deems the dependent levy vital to its goals, it is a burden for many expats who just cannot bear the added expenses along with the price increases in almost everything else. For this, they must have thought long and hard before finally deciding to send their families home.

To those children I have the following to say: It was not an easy decision for your parents to reach to uproot you from the society you have been living in. They must have tried to sort all the possibilities during countless sleepless nights and long hours spent in discussions looking at possibilities in trying to maintain your presence by their side but faced with the mounting economic demands they were simply defeated by the odds though no fault of their own. It’s going to be kind of hard for them to adjust, too.

Not being there with you, helping you with school stuff, celebrating your birthdays and scholastic achievements, not comforting you when you are sick, yes indeed it’s going to be kind of hard. But it’s something that they will have to find a way to adjust. Just keep in mind that all their years of toil and hard work in this country were so to provide you a better life and for the most part, the sacrifices they are giving are for your own benefit so make good use of them.

Some of you were born here and know no other home. Others came when very little and have no recollection of any other lands to root in. You grew up here, you ate and drank like the rest of us, you learned our language and adopted many of our customs and you have proved time and again to be impeccable residents in your host country. Many of you probably never envisioned that this day would come, comfortable in the knowledge that you were in the land that gave birth to Islam. This was your home after all and you knew none other.

Some of you may have no connections to your home country and may feel somewhat intimidated by the thought of starting all over again in a place that is alien to you. Even the culture and traditions of your parents may seem to be strange to you. After all, you have lived and breathed as a Saudi for all these years and now you are being thrust in an unfamiliar direction.

You will face some adjustment issues when you return to your native country but remember, you will be safe. Safe from having to leave your home because of external circumstances. In due time, you will adjust and excel as you have done here. And with your experience here you will be better prepared for adulthood than your counterparts in the home country.

Let me say this as a Saudi. Your presence here has brought color to our society. Through your activities, you have introduced diversity in our culture. You have largely been left alone to yourselves by Saudis but you will not be ignored. We appreciate the time you spent here and are genuinely sorry to see you leave.

Be brave then and set forth for new and challenging frontiers. May the Almighty give the strength and skills to face them. And let me say this to all of you. Thank you for being you.

— The author can be reached at talmaeena@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter @talmaeena


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