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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

When you’re crazy in love.

Submitted: June 26, 2018

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Submitted: June 26, 2018



“She’s crazy, especially when she gets mad.” One student said to another as I walked past them heading to class. I instantly knew that I was the object of their gossip, but I didn’t scold her for fear of confirming what she wrongly assumed about my sanity. To tell the truth, yes I did, unintentionally, get angry at my students but only for that one semester. I was never this kind of teacher throughout my entire academic career, but I had my reasons that made me behave this way which I’ll explain shortly. As far as I know, I have always been, according to the multitude of students that I have taught in the past, one of the kindest educators they have ever had. I didn’t know that that was bound to change anytime soon.

It started after I finished my master’s scholarship from the United States and had no other choice but to go back home. At that point, I was even more attached to the US than ever before that I was completely unwilling to leave. I was in denial. In my mind, I had already established my whole life in the States. I was crazy in love with the American lifestyle and enamored by the friendliness and open-mindedness of the Americans which caused me to experience a culture shock upon returning home. Despite the fact that I had lived in Saudi my whole life, the Saudi culture felt so alien to me upon my return.

I resumed teaching as soon as I arrived in my country. I was appointed to teach English writing skills to Arab female college students. I have always loved English as a language and writing (only in English), but what I didn’t like was being away from my foreign home. To be honest with you, going to work every day felt like torture which resulted in my poor students becoming victims to my sudden change in temperament. In fact, I wasn’t angry at them, I was merely angry because my dreams of living in America were abruptly crushed.

You need to know that since I was a child, I have always been fond of English. It was my favorite subject at school and I was my English teachers’ pet. I grew up listening to American, Irish and British pop stars which resulted in me acquiring a great deal of English vocabulary and learning the correct pronunciation of many words. After finishing high school, I majored in English linguistics and literature at the Women’s College of Education in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. However, my original plan was to study English in Orlando, Florida because it’s the birthplace of The Backstreet Boys, my idols as a teenager. Unfortunately, I was denied this wish of mine because I was deemed too young to travel by myself, so I brushed it off and decided to study English in that Saudi school instead.

Upon graduating from college, I was stuck in a dead-end job as a secretary in a hospital in my hometown for two long years; two years that proved to be the darkest in my whole life. By working in that place, I had the honor of witnessing firsthand and interacting with a misogynistic doctor who doesn’t “take orders from women” to polygamous men who cheated on their wives with veiled "virgins".

One day as I was sitting lifelessly on the swivel chair in my small office, I received a phone call from one of my old college professors. I was ecstatic to hear her voice after all this time. She told me that they were looking for outstanding students to work as instructors at the English Department in the same college I graduated from, but I had to pass the job interview first. The job interview was a breeze. Two weeks later, my nightmare, which seemed endless, of working as a secretary in that hospital was finally over.

Working as an English instructor at the same college I received my bachelor’s in English from was a dream come true. Interestingly, my new job requires that all newly-appointed instructors at the English Department pursue their higher education in either English linguistics or literature in any English-speaking country of their choice. It wasn’t long before I started the process of applying to schools in the United Kingdom and to others in the United States hoping to be accepted into the Linguistics Department in one of those schools. Eventually, I received my first acceptance letter from a school in England, but I was strongly determined on going to the US to study that I waited for three years until I was finally admitted to a school in the States. Before embarking on my long-awaited journey to the US, I had to pay a visit to the American Embassy in Jeddah to obtain my Student visa. I kid you not, I began screaming with joy as soon as I laid eyes on the American flag fluttering on top of the embassy’s building! I was then officially ready to be an international student in the United States. In the spring of 2012, I arrived in Long Beach, California after a sixteen-hour flight which I cherished every minute of because I was on my way to my dreamland. Once there, I was introduced to a whole new way of life which I became addicted to. Most importantly, I was surrounded by the people who speak the language I have adored forever as their mother tongue.

Sadly, the harsh reality of life stipulates that everything must come to an end. In 2015, with a heavy heart, I had to reluctantly drag myself back home.

It’s been three years now since my return from the US and I still haven’t adapted to the Saudi lifestyle yet. And in all honestly, I don’t plan on doing so at all. Every day since then, I still pray that one day I’ll be able to return to the US and create happy, long-lasting memories with the people I love.

Now that I think about it, that student could be right. Maybe I’m crazy….crazy in love.


© Copyright 2019 Razan Badawi. All rights reserved.

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