I've been in Riyadh for 5 days, and I have to admit, I really like it. The first few days were really tough. This is the first time I've ever traveled alone. I've never even been on a plane alone until I was on my way here. The entire experience was pretty horrible. I chewed all my nails off and would have gone after my toes if I were better at yoga.
But now that I've settle into a more permanent space I'm feeling much better. Being alone is still really hard, but knowing that I can call and message you every morning and every night eases some of my agitation of being alone. The staff and teachers that I've met so far have been absolutely amazing. Everyone is so utterly welcoming and friendly it's almost hard to take in.
When I went to Salem (Sālim), the international program organizer, I was greeted by a large bearded man in a flawlessly white thobe (traditional men's garment) and a red Keffiyeh (traditional head scarf, see below). By first glance we would have been worlds apart on culture and world views. Until I said I was from Portland. Apparently, he's been several times because he sends students to Portland State University every year, and his son is currently in Portland. He asked if I was a Timbers fan and commented on how wonderfully lax the political environment was and that Republicans were ruining America. I felt right at home.
I'll leave you with some pictures I took with my iPod, the quality isn't great, but we'll pretend that was an artistic choice.
I love you and I hope all is well back home.