The second big thing I'll miss is the travel and time off. Of course I'll keep traveling, and I have a decent leave policy by US standards at Pima Community College but there's something about being situated in a tiny country with a big fat airport in a region that includes "middle" in the name that has led to some really excellent journeys to unexpected and sometimes exotic places. It'll be hard to keep up that pace and style of travel out of Tucson. It's OK, there's another kind of travel- the epic road trip- that the US lends itself to perfectly and I'm due for a bit of that.
Then there's a list of smaller things that I'll miss when I leave and some things that I'll be happy to leave behind (or maybe more accurately, a list of things that I've missed all during my 3.5 years here).
I will miss the specific soft purple color of the sky near the Burj Khalifa right after sunset as best (but not only) viewed from the garage rooftop pool at my apartment tower. I will miss having a guy who will wash my car overnight where I park it home 2 times a week for less than $30 per month. I will miss ladies' lines, fresh Arabic breads, moutabal, desert dune camping, camels- especially camels in trucks, don't know why but the sight of them lifting their heads up over the truck side to see where they're headed always makes me smile.
I will miss the way the flame trees burst into glorious orange bloom right around the time that the heat outside becomes unbearable- a kind of visual consolation prize for losers in the weather game. I will miss intricate and geometric Islamic design touches in the architecture around me, dates (the fruit) like you've never had dates before- so sweet and soft, the call to prayer sounding (when you're not right next to it but you've got a little distance), the free white sand beaches being enjoyed by all kinds of people in spring when it's snowing in other parts of the world. I will miss carpet shopping, but it's probably good for my pocketbook that I'm getting out now!
I will not miss the limited drying options on my combo washing machine/ dryer, namely "spin some water out" mode or "run for 3 hours at such a high heat that your now tiny shrunken shirts are too hot to touch" mode. I will not miss the guesswork connected with moon-sighting-dependent Islamic holidays, I am too much of a planner to ever become totally relaxed about not knowing which day a vacation will start. I will not miss the crazy and changeable road system with it's round-abouts and highway exits where there are no re-entrances and I'm constantly getting lost. I will not miss humidity. I will not miss so much mall-centric entertainment.
I am looking forward to being able to open the windows in my bedroom especially at night, to having outlets in the bathroom, and easy access to candy corns, haunted houses, pumpkins and pumpkin ale in the fall. I am looking forward to having an address and home mail delivery- though it has been incredible, I must admit, to not get junk mail. I am looking forward to pork carnitas and bahn mi and grilling in my backyard- I look forward to having a backyard!
I am so lucky to have had the chance to be here in this rapidly changing young country at this point in time and with the amazing people I've come to call my friends. It has been every bit the adventure I hoped for.