I've been thinking about it for awhile, and I'm convinced now that my decision not to go to Qatar had bad reasons.
- My being left handed, while always a minor issue, is something I could've easily dealt with. I'm close enough to being ambidextrous that this really wasn't an issue to begin with.
- My wanting to visit Israel sometime could've also been dealt with - my understanding of relevant policies was incomplete on this
- My obligation to be a pretty face for CMU was something I could've dealt with while there (and while it would've been a burden, the learning experience would've made it worthwhile). After leaving Qatar, it would have neither legal weight (if they made me sign anything) nor moral weight (being against the public good, any agreements of that sort would be null on their face). I had legitimate concerns on both legal and moral concerns here.
- Learning more about cognitive modeling and neuropsych - I'm still learning this stuff, and I like it, but my interests are too varied to specialise enough to come to know as close as much as my coworkers. I'm still a CS Geek at heart (even if my interests stretch far beyond there)
- Some continued development of friendships - good stuff, true, but I've also had some fairly serious regressions on this front too, which hurts me more than I can express.
- Park time - Occasional trips deep into local parks to sit for a few hours, alone, is very nice. I'm not sure if doing that in the desert would be safe, or permitted, or as relaxing
- American rights, resources, and pleasures - in my research on other cultures/societies, namely Europe and parts of Asia, I've come to understand that the United States (and Canada) are really well off in some ways. Some of this is unfair (neocolonialism makes our society a bit like that of slaveowners), and some of it is overdone (American attitudes towards autonomy and government seem broken and childish to me), but in a number of ways, America and Canada are really well off - giving up some of this would be tough. That understood, Qatar (and Israel) has a lot to be said for it - they're the most advanced societies/states in the region (I am tempted to include Egypt as a third).
Well.. shoot. Oops. Maybe instead I can get an awesome job with Google somewhere in Europe sometime late this summer.. some part of me, maybe based on moving around a lot before I was 7, has a mix of fear, excitement, and sadness at the idea of moves, but I really need this.