While I still use the 'Lauren of Arabia', I have left the location. My reasons for doing so were both psychological and financial, more so of the latter.
A year in Yemen was intense, and after leaving the country I am beginning to realize how intense it was. When put in a situation, you must adapt...which is what I did while I was there without difficulty. However, after a year of fundmental Islam, lack of bookstores, lack of movie theaters, lack of nightlife, questions of my nationality, questions of why I was in Yemen, questions of why I wasn't Muslim, constant poverty, political injustice, government wire tapping, being unhappy with my job, crazy foreigners, watching my Yemeni friends live in place they want to leave, and most importantly missing my family...I found it was time to leave. Yemen is a special place that words can only scratch the surface while describing its lure, but it can take a toll on the most hearty of psyches.
Upon return the States I had a much needed reunion with my family and friends. However, I have found that after having been away for two years there are some changes in a lot of the relationships I have there. I still view everyone as I did two years ago, as if my life in the States is on hold in the States. The reality is that life continues on for everyone whether you be in it or not. I found the majority of my friends and family to be te same, unfortunately I was faced with a few which I had drifted apart from. C'est la vie.
I have friend in Taipei, Taiwan and am able to make quite a bit of money with a very low cost of living, which is why I have chosen to live as an expat in Taipei for the next year. I have moved in with my friend and her Korean roommate. I'll be teaching English and doing freelance writing on the side. The beauty of it all is I work half the time I did in Yemen with twice the money :)
Plus, I never have to question whether I may receive a negative response when I tell someone I am from American because this country pretty much depends on the States for its very existence.
The language barrier is irritating me as I'm so used to being able to speak the language. I'm enrolling in language classes by the end of the month so all should be okay. I'm already picking up the language just the way I learned arabic...throwing anything againt the kitchen wall to see what sticks. My 'mafeesh mushkeela' is now a 'may won tee' both meaning no problem in English.
More to follow...