I have found a surprising trend regarding notions of 'home' on the website. I received the following anonymous text through one of the submissions from the UAE:
"I moved to America to study under my country's scholarship program and decided I didn't want to move back. In all honesty, I was surprised that more people didn't do what I did. I guess it's because unlike many of my friends and Khaleeji colleagues, I didn't feel as homesick for the superficial place we call home. I needed to be somewhere where I didn't have to be sucked into social politics and keeping up with appearances. Every time I went back home during school break, my rejection of that lifestyle became stronger. I must say that I fought myself for years trying to think otherwise and try to accept it. But alas, college was coming to an end and I had to make a decision. Today, I am making a life for myself in America and no one I know back home understands why. They deny my actions and say that I am destined to move back. That this is just a "phase". I haven't spoken to my dad in a long time because he refuses to communicate. Perhaps he is just processing the information in his own way. Or perhaps I am an embarrassment. A brain drain. A runaway. To me, I am just following my heart and doing what feels right. I live in a place where I wake up ever morning and feel immensely happy. I am allowed to be happy, right? No woman should be confined to one country, one lifestyle, one reality. Khaleeji women should be able to freely roam the world and find themselves without judgment. It's a big world out there with so much to see and so many cultures to experience. I am already planning my next adventure, why stay in one place? I am young! I am free! But I am a Khaleeji woman and this behavior is frowned upon. It's abnormal, I should feel guilty because what I'm doing is wrong. I should be pleasing my family by moving back into my parents' house and waiting for a handsome young Khaleeji man to find me. So we can spend our summers being tourists in Europe. So I can drive the newest car and hold the most fashionable bag. So I can wake up in the morning and wish I had followed my heart. So I did."
A few weeks earlier, I received the following anonymous submission from Saudi Arabia:
"'It's not that bad', they say. 'You'll get used to it', they repeat. 'It's your home, you can't runaway forever', they laugh. I cannot call a place that regresses instead of progresses 'my home'. I will not call a place that drains my soul 'my home'. Take me back to where I have a purpose, take me back to my real home."
Home, within a Khaleeji women context, is turbulent. There's a longing for a home in which the Khaleeji woman is accepted. I have received a lot of anonymous content, but it's definitely anonymous with controversial, self-critical content such as this. I imagine if more time was given to the project, I'd receive more along the lines of a troublesome relationship with home.