I’m obsessed with reason. I have to be able to explain things to myself;
to understand why things are. That doesn’t mean that my reasons are
rational, but I have to put it somewhere in the taxonomy of my mind.
When our house flooded, and the ceiling caved in, KAUST moved us to a
house five doors down the block that was identical in design, except
that it was the mirror image of our first house. To reconcile the
disruption in my mind, I decided that the reversed house represented a
turning point of the reversal of our experience at KAUST. From that
point on, things would be easier… the reversal of the frustration we had
We had a very frustrating time traveling back to Saudi Arabia after our
trip to the states for thanksgiving. Our flight from Indianapolis to
Chicago was delayed (picking us up) so our entire itinerary was
disrupted. We were rerouted on a different airline network, so none of
our new flights had any record of us. Andi’s ticket didn’t match her
passport (both via nicknames and married names), causing us to almost
miss our flight out of Heathrow after a nine-hour layover (three hours
of which was spent arguing that Andi should be allowed to board the
I spent a lot of time during our our last flight (Saudi Airlines from
Heathrow to Jeddah) praying to God that our luggage would be at the
airport when we arrived. We were returning to a strange country with no
house to go to, and no idea where we would be staying. We had been
through a lot of frustration in transit, and we were both frustrated and
frightened. Andi was falling apart, and, as always, I decided it was my
responsibility to make it right. To keep things together. If our luggage
was at the airport, against all odds, I would have evidence that,
through it all, God was watching out for us, and helping us through our
times of trial.
We landed at a strange airport with no luggage, no idea where we were,
and no driver to pick us up. I was crushed. I didn’t swear off my faith
or trust in God, mind you; but my reasoning went something like this:
God does everything for a reason.
God had the power to guide our luggage to us at the airport.
Our luggage was not at the airport.
There was no reason why we should get our luggage later, rather than
God must not need us to get our luggage.
We would never see our luggage again.
I had it all figured out, and I had doomed myself.
A week later, though, and we had our luggage back. Why? Because I was
driven back to the airport by a wonderful man named Arnold. The same man
who took Andi and me to Jeddah for Nerph’s first visit to the vet. He
told me all about his family back home, why he was working in Saudi
Arabia, and how he hopes to be hired as a KAUST employee so he can bring
his family with him.
Later that week, he came to my house and beat me at chess. Three times
in a row.