Wednesday, October 27, 2010


One of my neighbors dresses like this:

I don't really have very much interesting to say about it- nothing salacious or shocking. I just see her sometimes, pushing her daughter in a stroller and I think about her. She lives in family housing, so I'm assuming that she too is the wife of a graduate student. I don't know if she speaks English, I've never talked to her- I wouldn't know what to say.

I have to admit, she's often on my mind.

How does she feel, living in Silicon Valley? Every time I see her, I stare. I'm sure that every time most people see her, they stare. Does it bother her? Does it make her stomach churn?

I don't know her, so my suppositions may be stereotypes. I imagine she's far from home. I imagine that her husband is very busy like mine and she doesn't see him much. I imagine that she's uncomfortable here. I imagine she is lonely.

But what do I really know about her? Yes, she dresses in a full-body burqa. Yes, that's not something you see very much around here. Yes, seeing a woman in a burqa makes me feel slightly unsettled.

She's a lot braver than I am, that's for sure. She is different, and she has to know it. But she is still willing to go out there: out exploring, out meeting people, out making friends.

The move has been hard for me. I'm having a hard time looking at people and seeing our common similarities. Truth is, I've told myself that I'm different from people here, that I'm an outsider. I don't know why, maybe because I'm scared? I'm scared to settle in, to nail the last nail in the coffin of my previous life.

I find myself staying at home quite a bit. Some of it is because of Adam, but some of it is because of me. I feel different here and until I figure out why, I've kind of shut myself away.

The brave girl in the burqa makes me sad, but it isn't because of who she is.

It's because of who I am.


Natalie Curtis said...

Aww- Sarah, you are so likable!! Don't feel like an outsider. I'm sure once people get to know you, you'll fit right in!

Kenyon and Jeannette Petersen said...

Look here lady! You've got plenty of ties to your past! You chat with friends from Utah all the time...well you chat with me...I don't know about everyone else but anyway! You don't have to be in a coffin! I know what lonely can feel like...I felt that way when we were in Ketchikan! I know you'll figure things out! I love ya and when you're feeling lonely and Jeff and Adam just aren't cutting it you can call or text me!

Fresh and Feisty said...

This is a very open post! I'm so proud of you. Looking within yourself to see what you're feeling and perceiving is the first step in changing yourself in a positive way!

The Kims said...

Very insightful post. I like the way you wrote it. I'm sorry the move has been hard for you! I miss you being closer to me. I wish you the best of luck with figuring out your life there. I think that sometimes it just takes a while to get settled in emotionally. You'll do it though, you're a brave girl. Love you.

Karlie Ann Ady said...

You know, if you both move to DC then neither of you would be outsiders. Plenty of Muslims, plenty of us. Think about it. Also, to quote one of the most knowledgeable people I know, Cindy Dewey always says "awareness cures".

Marni said...

So go make friends with the burqa girl. You need some California friends.

P.S. My word verification is "phochum".

Ashley said...

I really like this post. Its meaningful. Its very much looking deep within you. Its very well written. It has eloquence to it. You're a great writer.

Megan said...

Please, for my sake, and your enjoyment, get to know her! I have several friends like her and miss so much hanging out with them. You will be pleasantly surprised to see what she's like in her own home.