(Personal Reflection) Think of a time you stood up for something you believed in. What were you willing to risk? What was the outcome?
Thinking of a time I stood up for myself. Growing up, coming from a broken home was awful on my self-esteem. I was always trying to fit in after that. Throughout my life I moved around the world with my single mother. I lived in several different country's and cultures. I remember in Saudi, I was fifteen, I attended Sais-r Saudi Arabian international American school Riyadh. I remember how much different I was from all the other kids. I was the only kid in a school of a couple thousand that lived with a single mother. I'm really not sure what she did to get me into the country but she got prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz to sign my visa. I was the only western child who lived without a father in Riyadh. I came from a tougher background, because I was fifteen and coming from Edmonton I had already been exposed to lots of things like drugs and alcohol. Then showing up in one of the worlds best private schools, I was different. The peer pressure was to do well in school, not to smoke the weed, or to get drunk and have sex. I wasn't the very best student. One thing that separated me from the others was that I had long hair. I was the only boy in the entire school with hair down to his shoulders. I loved it but I was often told that the culture there does not accept it and I should cut it. Well, that wasn't happening. I was of course a hard core Cobainist. lol. I only spent one year going to SAISA-R. After the 9th grade all Western children have to leave the country to finish their education. Most of the kids ended up moving to Switzerland and getting hooked on drugs because there were never exposed to anything aversive in Saudi. It was an artificial situation. Rich kids getting good grades, never really being exposed to actual Western cultural diversities. I remember sitting on the bleachers, actually I slept on the bleachers during the ressess. The main reason being, because my mother was a women who got me into the country without a man (Husband) I was to be kept on a workers compound. Saudi is built on social class. Saudies being on top and then American workers, then Canadian and British people, so on and so forth until you get to the working class. My home compound was called K3. It was on the out skirt of the dessert that surrounded Ryhad. My mother was forced to live there because the other women and western people were not suppose to see a single women raising her child on the western Compounds. I spent 16 months on that compound. I slept on the bleacher because I had to take 3 buses to school. My journey to school began at 5:45 am every morning. I woke up to the Prayer call. At my buss stop I would often watch my bus driver finish his morning prayer and I would start my day moving to school. By lunch I was exhausted. The school was tough. I went almost every day. Again because my mother was a women the king fahd national guard hospital would not pay the enormous bill the school sent home once a month. I think it was like 13 thousand American dollars a year. Not bad. Any man (who made more because of his sex) would also have the tuition paid by the Hospital, but my mom paid. Looking back she made some enormous sacrifices to have me there with her. So I slept on the bleachers almost everyday. I was a a renegade, I went to school with kids that were really naive to the real world that they were going to be put in. I remember how unhappy I thought I was at the time. I blamed my mother. I was such a blind little fuck, but I did sacrifice my old lifestyle to expose myself to a new culture. Well by the end of the year I was a stress case. I had transitioned from a rebellious little kid who never got good grades into an honor student who hated living in Saudi. Looking back on that time puts a smile on my face. I appreciate the sacrifices my mother made and the risks I took. Both me and my mother grew. Honestly if it was not for my mom who had to deal with a 15 year old boy who was trapped on a Filipino compound in the middle of nowhere, I would have gone back home, probably to fail school and end up like all the other kids who are only exposed to the same old same old. Now with the way the world is turning Im happy to have lived in the middle east. Im happy I was exposed and forced to deal with cultural differences in a way that no one else was. I was one of the most unique prospectives on the world as we know it that Im actually aware of. Its always hard having that knowledge that I have,and the prospective that I have because know I have to sacrifice myself my offering information that often is not typical in western cultures. I have that knowledge though, and I know the truth in my mind. Living in Saudi was one of the best experiences of my life.