It's been brought to my attention by a handful of the very lovely ladies who live in my building that for a newcomer to Saudi Arabia, I seem way too upbeat about living here. I have to admit that I'm not sure how to react to that accusation, so I usually shrug and say, "Well, this isn't the hardest place that I've lived."
I am guilty of declaring that my abaya is awesome after realizing that I don't have to dress up at all to go out (sidenote: you might have to come here to understand why; I'm not slovenly, I promise). I think that it's cool that my kids can choose any fancy beverage from a restaurant menu to have with their lunch instead of having to hunt for the non-alcoholic offerings. I am quite happy to read a book while in rush hour traffic rather than navigate through it.
My family is in a minority here because this isn't our first overseas assignment. We are also unique because we've repatriated once and then moved across the ocean again (albeit a different ocean). I know to expect that many of my frustrations about KSA won't go away, but that I'm going to find that many of the things that I love are going to outweigh them. And I know not to idealize life in my home country (thank you very much, repatriation reality-check). That last point is probably the hardest thing to let go of.
When we first left Canada and moved to Thailand, I know that it took me months - at least nine - before I emerged from my deep funk enough to even realize that I had been in one. Maybe this is why I don't know what to say when my friends and acquaintances tell me that I seem bizarrely happy with life here; I could be fooling everyone right now without the self-awareness to realize it!