Well, here I am, a few days away from leaving Riyadh for good. I'm preparing to face the tempestuous hell of packing out... sorting out what goes into storage for another year, what goes to Washington, and what goes into my suitcases. For someone who hates moving and instability, I really think I'm in the wrong career!
Reflections on Riyadh might come later. I think I'll probably just be happier to shut the door on this chapter of my life and not look back. I've learned a lot here, much of it in the form of negative reinforcement. Getting back to DC for a year to learn Turkish has been the light at the end of the tunnel for some time - I can remind myself of what it's like to live a normal life when I'm there, without being beholden to motor pool for transportation, or dodging the religious police, or constantly being on the lookout for potential attackers.
In the meantime, though, I have mounds of books and clothing and cookware to sort through, as well as a minor administrative challenge in actually obtaining my travel orders - my legal authorization to pack up my stuff to leave. I'm dependent on some nameless, faceless paper-pusher in DC... god help us all!