In a contemplative essay, Lebanese poet Zeina Hashem Beck considers her time in Dubai before a move to Paris, and explores the idea of home and finding one’s place in the world.

I dread Paris, though I’m aware it must be more forgiving than Dubai. Isn’t that why we’re moving? We repeated the reasons every morning to each other last month in our December-cool garden, as if we were trying to convince each other and ourselves, as white flowers from the tree whose name I don’t know fell on us like dead bugs: Something about job security, residency, education, the arts, the future, nationality and the possibility to root ourselves, though we’re not entirely sure what we’d be rooting ourselves to. Something against transience. The song about autumn I was looking for in the car this morning says things disappear gently, without making noise.

Cheri has been an editor at Longreads since 2014. She's currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area.