Is This The Biggest Mistake We’ve Ever Made?

This post may contain affiliate links where we earn a small commission from each sale.  Find out more in our disclosure.

It’s 6:15 am and sweat is pouring out of every pore on my body.  “Faster Jessica, faster”, shouts my boot camp instructor.  Sprint, push-ups, squats, weights, stair-climbs.  I feel like he’s trying to kill me.  Yet I keep pushing.  As much as I want to hate this man for insane workout he’s laid out before me, something deep inside tells me to keep going.  

Before I left, I checked the temperature.  It was 89 degrees, but with the humidity it would feel like 99 degrees.  I”‘m a mountain girl”, I tell myself.  I don’t belong here.  I need cool, crisp air.  I’m uncomfortable, yet I keep going with sweat dripping off of me in ways I’ve never experienced before being here.  No, I can do this!  My muscles scream at me to just hold still, but I fight back – pushing.  

I should have stayed in bed, or at the very least, curled up on the couch with a blanket to read.  This was a mistake.  Yet somehow, I keep going back for the brutal workout, day after day.


This constant inner battle could easily describe my daily life just as well as my workout.  I find countless reasons to want to run away.  To jump on a plane and go back “home” to where things are safe and comfortable.  To where the air is cool and the views are spectacular.  To a place where I don’t need to push myself.

I constantly ask myself “why did we move here?”

It’s hot, dusty, and dry.  I love the Sea, but I could do without the rest of the country.  I loathe wearing my black polyester abaya, which in this heat, feels like a prison (though I am thankful I don’t have to wear it often).  The inefficiency and frustration caused by how slow things move here makes me want to scream and fall into the role of an “angry American.”

I long to see the mountains.  To jump in a cool river and sleep out under the stars.  I want to talk for hours next to a campfire with my friends while my kids are snuggled deep into their sleeping bags.  I want to be able to take off whenever I want and go out hiking with my kids.  But, I can’t – I’m here, in Saudi Arabia, and I’m a woman.

Then, just when every fiber of my being screams at me to give up, I find the extra push to keep going.   As God pulls me up and making me stronger.  Despite my early parenting ideas that when kids get older, they will be easier, these four of mine just keep demanding more and more of me.  I now know it’s not going to stop.  I must become stronger.  And I am.

I have no choice, which is often the best way.  We’ve chosen to be here.  It’s often uncomfortable and painful.  Yet, just like my exercise, I keep getting better and stronger.  As much as I want to hate it, it feels good to stretch like this.  Though we are enjoying our time, my heart longs for the things that I loved and left behind at home.  It’s a journey in self-discovery if nothing else.  Often the hardest things require the most work, and we have big goals we’re reaching for.

Was this move the biggest mistake we’ve ever made or our most defining moment?

Only time will tell…



  • Suzi says:

    Sending cool mountain thoughts your way. Big hugs. Every experience has their moments of doubt, however in the end I think that they let you grow in ways that you never imagined. They bring you to the next place in your life that you’re meant to be with the tools to tackle it. I hope you find your place for you and your family. And remember nothing lasts forever, this too shall pass. 😉 take care.

  • Sara says:

    You are amazing. You can do it!
    Thanks for sharing the whole picture, the highs and the lows.
    I’ve thought of you and your crew often.
    We love you. -Sara

  • Raeshell Sorensen says:

    Thank you jess for writing. I found this article very inspiring. I may have to read it again a few times. I chose to sleep this morning instead of get up and sweat and I know I always feel better after I push through, I never feel better after I slept in and did the easy thing. I fear I have been fighting this uphill battle by trying to run downhill, it’s not working. You’re article made me realize that I have to run uphill and figure a way to enjoy it. You’re amazing!

    • bringthekids says:

      Keep on pushing Rae! I love the visual imagery of fighting an uphill battle by trying to run downhill.

  • Debbie says:

    I loved this. Thanks Jess. It was very inspiring and a great reminder of how we can all do hard things, and they just make us stronger. Just as I’m sure when you look at your four month postpartum rockin’ bod in the mirror it makes boot camp worth it. 😉 In a few weeks as you’re traveling the world experiencing the grandest adventures you’ll be reminded of one of the reasons you chose to turn your life upside down. Sometimes reminding myself WHY I’m doing something helps me to get through. Miss you!

    • bringthekids says:

      Yes, the WHY helps. Oh, and just in case you’re wondering, there’s not much rockin’ about my body after 4 kids!

  • Audra O says:

    I’ve been following your blog for some time now; and, although I don’t know you other than your blog, I wanted to share something that came to mind when I read this. In times of doubt, challenges and frustration, I repeat a phrase that I read in a book almost 20 years ago: “I am bold, brilliant & beautiful.” So, when needed, close your eyes, take a breath and say to yourself “I am bold, brilliant & beautiful.”
    Audra O

  • Abdullah says:

    Dear Jess ,
    Thanks for sharing the whole picture,
    I found it difficult to u , I found the same of past when i leave SA to Texas 🙂
    but the lovely thing that Texas was hot 🙂

    I think u can have more enjoyable time here , try to visit old Jeddah town . try to visit Riyadh old City ( Dryaah ) KSA have many place that u must visit ..
    and as u said before : it’s adventure , and ur kids will have many things to talk about it in there future 🙂

    love ur blog , ur experience , and hope that u and ur family be happy here 🙂


  • Lindsey says:


    Thank you for your wonderful blog! My husband and I are from Salt Lake City and thinking about moving there next fall for graduate school. Would you be able to email me privately and I could possibly ask you some questions? Thank you!


  • Aleks says:

    Thank you for your blog. It looks like you have an interesting life. I spent over ten years in KSA in Eastern Province. We left about year and a half ago. Our two children were born there. There were some disadvantages living there but there were many things which we miss. We met many great friends and the community was multicultural. We are currently living in Poland and getting ready to move to Denver CO. We are looking for a good area to move, good elementary schools, safe community, music schools, etc. I read that you moved from Denver, where you grew up. Would you have any advice for us, where to look, school names (private vs public?) areas?
    Any comments appreciated.

    Thank you,


  • Amazing, You are a wealth of information, and this article will help many people. Thanks Very useful information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

× 5 = thirty five

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.