Perhaps it's the shortened days as we approach the winter equinox. Maybe it's that Christmas is two weeks away, and soon it will be the end of another year.
It could also be due to a discussion about family life I enjoyed yesterday in my home, an experience I know I cannot duplicate in the U.S. It was during my book club. I was one of two Americans in a group of nine women.
"We are both from Africa," my friend from Sudan said to my friend from South Africa when they were introduced. There was also a friend from Switzerland, one from England, two friends from Wales and one from Jordan. It was terrific.
Whatever the reason, I'm increasingly aware that our time in Abu Dhabi is going fast. Before I know it, next summer will be here. I'll be standing in a room full of brown boxes, sighing as I think how bare the walls are without our prints hanging. We'll be moving home. This is something I long for and dread at the same time.
Last weekend my eight-year-old was accidentally hit in the head with a hockey stick. When I first saw his handsome blond face, his nose and mouth bloody, my heart did a leap. I thought the skin under his nose was cut straight through to his mouth.
I get strangely calm when my children are hurt, but as I wiped his cuts and discovered they were not serious, alarms still rang in my head. I wished we were home. I've made two visits to emergency rooms with my children thus far in Abu Dhabi, and the care was excellent both times. But I still wished I were in my own country.
Of course the main pull towards home is missing friends and family. Recently, too, one of my best friends back home experienced a tremendous loss. The distance between Abu Dhabi and New Hampshire was heart-wrenching. These are the times I long to blink my eyes and open them to see pine trees and snow.
Most days, though, I like Abu Dhabi so much I know it will break my heart to leave. When my ten-year-old tells me about the nice boy from Yemen he's made friends with, or my 16-year-old arrives home, as he did yesterday, energized by a school competition in Cairo, I think I could stay forever.