ready to begin again.

Oh, hello there.

I'm still here. It's just...on several occasions I've sat down to write, and found myself staring at an empty screen for quite some time.

Do you ever do that...realize you have absolutely nothing to say?

Or maybe realize that the things you have to say are in no way uplifting or exciting...they're a little sad or dull. So you tuck them away; you sort them out quietly with friends or loved ones, hoping the feelings pass and are replaced with something sunnier. But when those thoughts don't pass...it begins to feel like you're indefinitely holding your breath underwater.

And frankly, after ten months, I've reached that point here in Kuwait. There's something about this country that makes me feel I'm almost out of air...like I have nothing left in me. It's not the all-out sadness that plagued me shortly after moving here, but rather a sense of not being where I should be, of missing out on opportunities that could lead to something bigger. A sadness over being distanced from those I love. There are days I worry that life is passing me by, because I'm geographically in the wrong place to do the things that make me feel alive, and have spent months as creatively dry as the desert outside my window.

I don't run around sharing these jumbled thoughts with the general population of this country, but every time I meet someone new, they're bound to ask if I like it here. It's hard to delicately express my thoughts, both online and off, because without fail another expat in Kuwait will quickly ask, "Why don't you like it? You can do XYZ here! And we have all the American stores like Gap, Pottery Barn, etc...." or starts ticking off ways I can learn to like it here, starting with: "You can always go to Dubai!"

It's kind of them to care...but tricky to respond. Why doesn't a person like brussel sprouts? Or the color orange? Why do some people love one city, while others loathe it? It just doesn't suit their taste. It doesn't inspire them. No need to convince them to love it or assure them that they'll learn to like it in another year.

It's okay if we don't all love the same things. It's perfectly normal for us to have different inspirations! Really!

I'm not looking for answers. I've been here long enough and know myself well enough to uncover the "constant" behind all my jumbled feelings: I'm simply not inspired here. Every time I step foot outside this country--Destination: Anywhere But Here--I feel reinvigorated. Alive again. And not just a "vacation invigoration", but rather something makes me want to live again. A million thoughts go through my head...I want to start a business, to write regularly, to do something big + creative with my life. Crazily enough, in that moment I believe I can do those things, too. But within a day or two of returning to Kuwait...that energy and those dreams all disappear.

So, I've entered a period of holding my breath. I'm just waiting. Waiting for something else to come along for us...waiting for the next phase of life. Everything in me is so ready to move on, and to start a new life in a place I can breathe...somewhere I can rediscover that girl who used to wake up and really love life....even on the tough days.

And while my relationship with organized religion is difficult and therefore a topic rarely addressed in this space...my relationship with God is less difficult. And so I'm just waiting for him to show us what's next...

...and wondering if he can put a "rush" order on that request.


  1. feeling uninspired is the worst and it is good to just step away for a while to get re-inspired. I felt the exact same way about 4 years ago. We had been living in San Diego for a year and I was supposed to LOVE it. Everyone went on and on about how it is the MOST AMAZING city and it is amazing....but I felt lost and out of place and just blah here. It is hard to explain to people and I felt bad, like I was being a brat and taking for granted the opportunity to live in such a beautiful city.

    Over time, I felt less and less like that and even though I miss home (the midwest) and would love to move back, I am content here.

    Anyways, I think more posts like this would be wonderful. I love when bloggers just spill out what they are feeling/struggling with....it might even help you to feel inspired in other ways :).

    1. Yes, yes! Thank you for putting that into words. I often feel like a brat. While this place isn't exactly picturesque, it's fairly safe and most Western comforts are accessible. My life sounds like a breeze. I hang out at home with my cat while my husband works 12-hour days. I watch TV, read books. I cook. Occasionally I take a taxi to go shopping. And then once every few months, I book a trip to get away. It is the very definition of "easy".

      But it doesn't feel that way. I feel exactly like you did...lost and out of place. I'm so happy to hear that those feelings have faded for you. And yet I can understand missing the midwest. It's obviously the best there is. ;)

      Thanks so much for letting me know I'm not alone, and supporting the fact that I spill my mixed-up feelings all over the internet. :)

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Thanks a ton for your support, Rachel! Writing unhappy feelings is the worst. It feels like raining all over the internet's parade of "BE HAPPY!". But I'm always amazed that people come forward to say, "It's okay." :)

      So glad to hear others have the same feelings about organized religion vs a relationship with God. I had a very religious upbringing...everyone I knew or was related to existed in the same church. I left when I was 22...it was a little traumatic and not well accepted by some. So, I've had a hard time trusting organized religion since. But not a hard time trusting God. It's a strange thing to explain, but I feel relieved that others feel similarly. I hope someday to be able to find a community in which I don't feel those same doubts I felt years ago. :)

      Thanks a billion for your support...and for reading even when it isn't a HAPPY PARADE!! over here. ;)

  3. that is a beautiful photo. and i know how you feel. often some kind of vacation is in order - quiet, solitude and inspiration
    kw, ladies in navy

    1. Big, huge thanks for that suggestion! :) I am leaving next Tuesday for a little getaway. Sometimes a lady just needs to clear her head, right? :)

  4. Funnily enough, this post was inspiring! Keep posting, Bethany - even those tiny things you think your readers might find uninteresting. Because I doubt we will. :)

    1. Whoa! I did not expect to hear that! Thanks for reading the things I write when I am uninspired, and nudging me forward. I need it. :)

  5. Bethany,
    as someone who also moved recently (though to a much less jarring place) I understand how that can a person feel dried up. It takes so much energy - every. singe. day. - to just go about your life in a new place. Nothing is easy and there isn't a support system there when it gets especially hard. And you're in Kuwait, you brave girl! Deserts are decidedly hostile places ... whether or not they have a Pottery Barn.
    I moved out of my apartment the same month you did, and I loved that place (I was overly attached to it, ha!) I would have done anything to preserve the life I'd built in that adorable little studio, and I wouldn't have left without some sort of huge force pushing me in another direction. I miss feeling at home like that. But, in some small way, losing that feeling was a gift. Because it started me searching again. The world feels bigger and like there more to explore - especially when I feel disconnected from the place I'm in now. It's the "Anywhere But Here" invigoration you wrote about. Any time I go to New York or see a picture of Charleston I think "I should move there. Maybe, I could be happy there." I would have never thought that before I left my studio, because I was happy and I was terrified (rightly) of losing it. It's two sides of the same coin, I guess. Being unanchored let's us see new harbors.
    I'm rooting for you on your journey!

    1. Sam, You are so wise. I too have realized I was overly attached to my beloved apartment! Sometimes I rustle up photos...and sit here staring at every blessed corner of that pretty place. And then I cry. What is that all about?!

      But can I just shout a giant "AMEN!" to everything you said? Parting with almost everything I had (creatively and materialistically speaking) has pushed me into a place where I am forced to realize what I NEED. And it really has allowed me to have my eyes opened to new places or new experiences, because I'm not bunkered into my pretty little corner of the world where everything is just-so.

      Case and point: I planned a trip to Iran with a friend who has family there. I never, ever, ever would have found the courage to step that far outside my comfort zone pre-Kuwait. Even though we had to cancel due to serious family health problems, I was proud of myself for saying "yes!" to that opportunity when it was offered. And even sending my passport off to get an Iranian visa. Whoa!

      I'll never forget or regret this time in my life...even though I'm waiting for it to pass. It's been a time where I've gotten to explore new places, and wrestle with the unfamiliar. There is something HUGE to be said for stepping outside our comfort zones and into the unknown (and sometimes unpretty).

      Thanks so much for your wise words. And I love the idea of being unanchored as a catalyst to docking at new harbors. :)

  6. bethany, i'm a longtime reader. i know, that simple words can't help and i hope you don't think it's silly, but what you wrote about waiting reminded me of, well, dr. seuss. it's poem which helped me a lot in some occasions or at least made me laugh or sometimes also cry; but crying can be good sometimes, too, right? bethany, i send warm wishes from berlin, germany, and i know you will feel better. a hug from me to you!


    I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.

    You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch.

    You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump.

    And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.

    You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

    The Waiting Place… for people just waiting.

    Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.

    Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.

    No! That’s not for you!
    Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

    Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

    And will you succeed?
    Yes! You will, indeed!
    (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)



    1. Meret....I LOVE this. My mom got me a copy of "Oh the Places You'll Go", and I've always thought this portion was especially poignant, but never read it while I was going through a Lurch, a Slump or while playing the Waiting Game.

      I went back and read the entire text, and I'm just so amazed all over again by Dr. Seuss's ability to write honestly and charmingly. I love, love it.

      Thank you times a million for this. It's exactly what I needed. :) Many hugs back to you!!

  7. Oh, this resonates, both in itself and in the opposite. While Atlanta will always be Home and familiar and the root of all nostalgia in my life, North Yorkshire resonated with me the second I got out of the car from the airport. I'd never had such an immediate sense of contentment, and absolute delight in just waking up each day and opening the door, months before I had any friends, routine, or even our own bed. After having had to leave, I just can't settle. I have already found myself needling my husband over how long we'll be here (it's not definite this early) and I've counted down the percentage of time left (based on the expected time here) almost daily. I don't even know what's next- it could be somewhere that I truly don't fit (like Idaho), and not just a place that's "not England" (like NC). So it could be worse. But I daydream, I nightdream, I faux-plan our lives back in Europe. Preferably England, but Europe.
    I think you and I should talk off the record. I feel like we could find some common ground very quickly.

    1. Your tweet with Jay reminded me of when we arrived in our town in Southern Idaho. We drove in in two cars (I had the pets with me) and Paul had to go check in at work. I figured I'd explore the small town a bit, see which neighborhoods had a good feel, so I drove around. Within 10 minutes, I was driving down a road that became a highway entrance ramp- there was nowhere to turn around. After I got on the highway (headed West) the nearest exit was almost 20 miles away. By the time I got there, I was sobbing, turned around and headed East, and had to call my mom and have her talk me into getting back off the highway at our town and not just driving, driving, driving back to GA.
      And that was how I felt the entire 3.5 years there. BUT then we got England! And Jay got Norway! SO maybe, hopefully, all the fingers-and-toes-crossed, there's somewhere incredible next for you!

  8. Yep, you perfectly summarized the words to describe a situation that a lot of us can relate to at one time in our life or another.

    It's the worst having your life in a holding pattern, not really moving forward but not back in time, in a place where you loved to be. Maybe this is the time to reflect. Hopefully, it will all make sense why you are in this place now when you look back on it a few years down the road.

    Maybe a new creative outlet will emerge. Maybe sewing like me? I'm an enabler, getting everyone addicted!

    Anyways, now that I have my new blog, I find myself totally admiring how my favorite girls do it! By it, I mean stay so honest and still be fun to read. You are definitely one of a handful of bloggers that I look forward to EVERY post. I even found myself checking in on you these last couple weeks while you were gone, just to make sure my reader hadn't forgotten to update. Don't laugh, because I know that I'm silly. :)

  9. Sadly, I know the feeling! I'm so sorry Kuwait is not agreeing with you! How much longer do you guys have?

    (By the way, I emailed you about the dogs. Let me know if you get it!)

  10. I relate to this post. Although my current location is Australia, and not something hard like Kuwait, I still feel the exact same here. Exactly the same. And it's horrible trying to answer those "do you like it" questions, because what's not to like? It's a western country not dissimilar to my own, it's got beautiful beaches and lots of sunshine, the economy's good (even if everything is bloody expensive)......seriously, what's not to like? And yet, I don't.......

  11. I've been reading your blog and mostly lurking for a year or so, but as an archaeologist who studies dry places (they used to have water, really!) with a fiance in the army...I get the dislike of the desert and places that remind you not at all of home, no matter how 'cool' they are. I never really found a good solution, unfortunately. I just make sure to take oreos and peanut butter and my favorite music with me. You'll go somewhere better for you someday, and you're so brave for waiting! Deserts suck (especially the ones where your gender is a second class citizen), and that is that.

  12. I've been in your spot and I know it can be hard. I hope things get better for you.

  13. Bethany, I love your writing! Even if you have not felt inspired lately, this post is lovely. You have articulated something that so many people experience at some point in their life, but not every has the ability to capture it so well. I am sure a lot of people will read this post and think "yes! that is what I felt..." You always inspire me with your honesty and vulnerability to be a better writer, to write more truthfully and to try and be more accepting of the moments that in life that are less than pretty. Adding my prayers to all your other internet friends here that there's a rush order on something amazing around the corner for you!

  14. This is such a beautiful, honest and thought-provoking post. Thank you for putting it out there.

    Being somewhere you know isn't right for you is definitely hard. While I didn't feel it all of the time, I'd get to these moments in Gabon where I felt like I was being suffocated. The last stretch of time there was all about holding my breath and waiting it out. In hindsight, I wish I would have been able to breath more - to enjoy those last few months for what they were because life will probably never be like that again. But, in the moment, it just wasn't possible.

    What I did learn, though, was coming out the other side of it made it all the sweeter. I just can't help but feel so grateful for where we are now. Hang in there - hopefully change will come soon!

  15. A lovely post Bethany, thanks for sharing. I think many people can commiserate with the feeling of being somewhere they don't feel comfortable/at home in and having to field the gamut of "do you like it here?/isn't it great here?" questions on a daily basis. I sympathize with you especially as desert environments tend to be particularly harsh (in my view at least) because they have this tendency of being void of so many things. Finding inspiration in the midst of this absence/lack can be downright tortuous.

    On the days it's particularly difficult, try to pull in as much air as possible and hold fast. Change will come, it always does; and the darkest moments tend to come before the dawn. There is something on the horizon for you, it's just a matter of time...

  16. Thank you for your openness and honesty. It's not easy sharing the less-than-happy parts of our life, maybe because we feel like we've failed in someway. But you're doing something incredibly hard - living far from home, far from the familiar, and with masses of uncertainty. You're a strong woman for doing it for this long and I admire you.

    When my husband and I hit a hard patch in the road, it helps us to think about how much we'll grow and try and use it as a driver to improve ourselves. Life can be hard, but all bad things must pass.

    Here's hoping your hard time passes as soon as it can

    x Elena @ Randomly Happy

  17. I'm so sorry you feel this way. I felt the same while living in Abu Dhabi for over a year. It's painful, empty, and truly uninspiring. But this will pass. Your time in Kuwait will end before you know it then you and Gabe will be living a 'normal' life back here in the US. You'll look back on your time in Kuwait together with fondness, knowing it was the first step of the journey in your marriage.

    Wishing you all the best and a speedy return to the US. Or at least a speedy exit out of Kuwait :)

  18. I was so happy to see your blog pop up in my reader. I know all your readers love to keep up on your goings-on.

    I was once an ex-pat and I recognize your feelings- they are valid. I moved to a foreign country and left behind friends, family and the familiar. I found myself in a rut. I was stubborn and angry and I had decided I was not going to enjoy myself. I started shrinking.In that mess I was reminded that wherever I go, there God is with me. There is a purpose for my being there- even if it is to just learn to lean on Him, to have patience and trust. He created it all. There is beauty, creativity and room to grow even in the driest, most uninspiring desert. I hope you don't stop looking for it right where you are. Living overseas became my favorite adventure. It changed me in the best ways forever. I am daily grateful for the opportunities I had. I think one day you will look back on this time and feel the same way.

    Wishing you a joy-filled week!

  19. Glad you're back. I have missed you, and I appreciate your honesty with the feelings you are dealing with while living so far away. Sending you all the happy thoughts and warm fuzzies you need right now :)

  20. i am praying for you girl. you inspire me, you make me smile, you are amazing. i want you to know that i love your honesty and transparency in a world that is often filled with neither. i can't wait for you to breathe again, but until that time, take a deep breath and write. write in a journal, on a scrap piece of paper. although it may not feel like it, you will want to remember this time. i promise.

    " Maybe it doesn't matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark. Because while the path before me is unclear, the One who makes straight that path is not. "

  21. i am praying for you girl. you inspire me, you make me smile, you are amazing. i want you to know that i love your honesty and transparency in a world that is often filled with neither. i can't wait for you to breathe again, but until that time, take a deep breath and write. write in a journal, on a scrap piece of paper. although it may not feel like it, you will want to remember this time. i promise.

    " Maybe it doesn't matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark. Because while the path before me is unclear, the One who makes straight that path is not. "

  22. I have been so missing new posts from you and hoping everything was alright. Thanks for being so honest about everything NOT being so alright. Your feelings kind of summed up how I've been feeling lately too...like why aren't I as happy as I used to feel, why do I find myself waiting for something to shake me awake again... I think it's just around the corner for you girl...I really do! You are young and healthy and AMAZING and you pretty much have your whole glorius life ahead of you. More good times are surely about to fall softly down upon you....hang in there and keep praying,

  23. im feeling the same way about being here in singapore. especially now that i don't have a job, and finding a job is getting harder here. no matter how they advertise singapore as an "exciting" city, well, that's really mostly for tourists. for those living here, it can be boring, as it is a very small island. after a while, going to the same places gets really old. i'm also in a rut right now, so i'm trying to think of ways to amuse and inspire myself (books, magazines, reading blogs).
    what i try to do everyday is think that this phase will pass too, and stay positive. it also helps that my fiance is not pressuring me to get a job, and he wants to me to really think what i really want to do next.
    sending love and light to you!

  24. i'm so happy to hear from RR again!! i don't blame you for your virtual quietness, but just know i was so happy to see this pop up in my feed.

    i can't 100% empathize with you, since i've never had to move away like that, but i've had similar feelings about being a sahm. it's different, of course, but i guess i just say that to say that i don't think it's wrong to have those feelings. i don't think you should try to cover them up or 'convince' yourself that it's your fault for not loving it there and try to change. you said it perfectly - why do some people like certain things and others like other things? they just do. it's not that there's anything inherently wrong with the country - it just isn't you. and you seem like such a free spirit (that sounds hippyish, but i don't mean it that way)and it seems that kuwait doesn't really allow you to be. and it seems like you have found a way to make the best of it all as best you can.

    i don't know where i'm going with this except to say that i feel for you and i think it's fine to feel those feelings. you are doing your best there and it's not forever. don't lose the spark inside you - even if it's dormant now, it will be reawakened sometime and be stronger than before. you don't have to force it now. :)

  25. I am so happy to read a post from you!

  26. SO much love to you. limbo is the WORST. but, no matter what, it sounds like you're not alone - you've got us, for sure, but also especially Gabe and God and together we'll make it through limbo and then WATCH OUT WORLD :)

  27. Sending out love and thoughts and warm fuzzies... Ditto to everything Betsy just said

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