That one time I made myself homeless

I have reached the point in my adult life where I am pretty comfortable with who I am and what I’m about.  The good, the bad, and the naggy. So I’m pretty comfortable with revealing to the world that I am a terrible decision maker, as is evidenced by the fact that I got myself, for all intents and purposes, stuck living in Saudi Arabia. I don’t think things through. I get fantastic ideas and execute them immediately unless someone in my life forces me to put the breaks on. Despite knowing this about myself I cannot seem to fix it. But I embrace this part of myself and it has helped me to be really good about admitting when when I’m wrong. And I am currently camping out in the Land of Wrong.

Because of this chaming quality of mine, I’m currently kind of homeless. I know it sounds shocking, and I’ll go ahead and let you know before continuing any further that I am OK and safe and well fed despite this most recent self-inflicted pickle. Now onto the details.

Several months ago, despite there being noting wrong with the apartment I was living in, I made the decision to move. My best friend had a family hookup on a brand new building that was cheaper but much further away from the city. I weighed the pros and cons as best as I thought I could, gave notice to my landlord, and began to prepare for my move. I collected boxes. I packed all of my things. I disassembled my furniture. I had my guy arrange for movers to come and colect my things. My belongings were delivered to the new place. My keys were handed in to my old place. I was home free. Almost.

The new place wasn’t quite ready. Since it was new construction, electricity had not yet been hooked up. The water was not yet working. Odds and ends needed fixing. Air conditioners needed to be purchased. But I was excited to have a new place that would be in MY name and totally free from all things concerning my ex husband. I packed a bag and camped out in a hotel to await my place.

I spent several sweaty days arranging furniture and boxes and sweeping up piles upon piles of construction dust and debris. And finally, just as I was about to sign papers and officially move in, buyers remorse started to creep in. It was new construction and I would be the only occupant. There was a mosque across the street with men coming and going all day. Men who would see me, a single woman, coming and going daily. It was so far from my daughter…what would I do in an emergency? Could I really afford the extra transportation costs?

These fears were increased and compounded by friends and my ex husband when he came to check the new place out. “It’s up to you. It’s your place,” he said. “You can do what you want, but I don’t think it’s a good idea. I wouldn’t be comfortable sending our daughter here to stay.” And that did it.

I slept on the decision for a few stressful days in my hotel room. Costs were adding up, there was pressure to make a decision on whether or not I was keeping the apartment, and between my ex husband, my guy, and my endless hours of Internet searching, the frantic hunt for a place for me to live was in full swing. I looked at place after place, none of which met the holy trinity of Riyadh living: cost, location, and livability. There are a LOT of shitty places here, you guys. A lot.

Finally I found a place I liked. The catch was that it wouldn’t be ready to move into for a month. But considering it was holy trinity qualified, I put a deposit down, paid an exorbitant amount of money to a moving and storage company to collect and store my things, and decided to wait.

After two weeks of hotel living and refusing offers from every friend who offered me a place to stay, my savings was all but depleted. I swallowed my pride and accepted the offer from my friend/co-worker to crash in her living room. We have the same schedule, I’d get a free ride to work every morning, it was a convenient location. She doesn’t have a husband or kids so I’d get privacy and much needed quiet after a day spend around hundreds of children. And I would be allowed to have company. It was such an amazing blessing.

It’s been two weeks since I’ve called my friend’s living room floor home. We’ve shared meals and laughs and grocery bills and bathroom space and I think it’s going alright. I’ve never had a roommate as an adult other than my ex husband, so it’s a whole new world. And while it’s not a world I would like to live in long term (I seem to be living in a lot of those kinds of worlds these days), it’s working for now.

Going through this has of course taught me a few lessons.

1. I need a lot less space and things than I think I do. I’ve survived with one bag of clothes for like a month.

2. Fast food is evil. I’ve gained 10 pounds. I really miss my kitchen.

3. Money comes and goes. And it’s usually not as big a deal as you think it is.

4. Privacy is a blessing. I became so accustomed to living alone these past several years that I’d forgotten about that.

5. It’s ok to rely on others.

I definitely couldn’t have navigated this without the help of the incredibly loving people I have in my life. Offers for a place to live. Hours of driving around the city trying to find me a place. Invitations to countless dinners. And hugs…hugs and comfort and encouragement when I’ve been able to do nothing but cry about it.

So yes. My terrible decision making skills have landed me in a tough spot. But life is still amazing and lessons have been learned and in a few short weeks I’ll be homeless no more! Even if I’ve created the mess myself, I won’t let it get me down.

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9 thoughts on “That one time I made myself homeless

  1. I had an experience of a sudden “evacuation” to my home country for a reason without knowing if I would ever go back to US. I tossed / donated bags and bags of clothing, toys, new furniture……… That part of history in my life seemed to be not pleasant. What I learn from the experience is: I don’t need “stuff” in my life. I can live in a simple life without holding on “things” to memorize every single moment. Wish you luck in your new place.

  2. “It’s ok to rely on others.” That one of the biggest lesson I’ve had learn. As a single mom for 10+ years I had grown accustomed to doing it all on my own. It’s hard to accept help when you have the judgement of others who are just waiting for you to fail so they can say “I told you so.” However, allowing others to show their affection for you doesn’t not make you any less independent or a failure. It means means you have people in your life that you would do anything for, and when the tables are turned you can’t count on then to do the same. My relationships with friends & family have deepened because of this revelation.

    P.S. It’s OK to make a last minute good decision. Much more preferable to making a week thought out $h!tty one.

    • It’s a strange lesson to learn in a way. My parents, especially my mother, drilled independence into me so much that the act of having to accept help and depend on others is almost debilitating to me sometimes. But experiences like this one are a humbling reminder that we can’t do it all on our own.

  3. Hi Mandy, I’m so glad you decided to resume your blog. I missed reading updates on your life in Saudi Arabia. We all make poor decisions lots of times in our lives. And then those decisions end up ruling our lives. The important thing is to learn from them so that the next poor decision will be different from the last one!

  4. Yes, fast food is the worst. I noticed yesterday that a pair of jeans that were snug on me only two weeks ago were practically falling off me…the only difference in my habits is that I haven’t had any fast food for a few weeks! (Still love corn dogs, though…sigh.)

    Anyway, on a more serious note, I am glad your living situation is good now. If you don’t mind my asking, did you meet your husband when you had just graduated from high school? Is that why you say you’d never had a roommate previously?

  5. If we don’t make mistakes it’s because we aren’t taking risks. If we aren’t occasionally taking risks then we aren’t growing. This sounds like a good kind of mistake to make because though it is inconvenient, you and your daughter aren’t really hurt by it. It’s great to know you have friends who will help you. We all need help sometimes. In the long run, the peace of mind of knowing you can rely on yourself is a tremendous gift of empowerment.

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