No Return

My last post in April has left a huge gap in information. I arrived in the States to somewhat chilly temps, and they quickly changed to the lovely summer days that I had missed while I was away. Tank tops, and shorts became my normal choice in clothes for myself, and Onesie’s for my daughter. We were able to go outdoors every single day and enjoy the air, the birds, and insects singing. Back in May while having my morning coffee, with Baby V. on my lap, I kept having this dread in my belly about going back to Saudi. It didn’t go away over time, in fact it got worse as time went on. One day (I believe it was in July) after reading three separate news stories on bombings in Saudi (not Hofuf, where I lived) I just felt like I had reached a point of no return. I was mad, and yes, fear was setting in. My gracious husband and I had a talk that night and he basically told me that I needed to decide if I was going to get on the plane in August (already booked flight) or not. I chose to skip the flight and not return. To him, it was a simple decision, and to me it was torture, I knew that going back wouldn’t be good for me, and I knew that not going back, meant being under my moms roof (I’m very thankful she has allowed me to stay with her) and being separated from my husband for an unsure amount of time. Also, he was missing our baby as she was growing up fast. After making the not so light decision to stay in the States for the rest of the summer, I literally felt so much lighter. I don’t have the dread anymore! I can enjoy the summer.

I wont get into all the details of good and bad about the life that I had in Saudi. Ill need to update my about post I think, but the wifeabroad name will remain the same as my husband and I and our little baby V. still plan to travel as much as possible. There are so many unknowns down the road for us. I’m nervous, and excited about it.

And I’m Thankful For…

The great Shawarma from Maze restaurant in Hofuf. The best in the entire city. If you haven’t gone there, go. Its not family, but if you are a lady, you can pick up.

The many trips to Bahrain. The escape from Saudi life, yet still close by.

The friendships. The only thing that kept me going sometimes were friends.

Having a baby, healthy and safe. Pick your hospital wisely, in my opinion there are some sketchy ones there too. I personally went to Al Moosa. State of the art place, with helpful staff. If I ever have another baby, I think a part of me will miss the visits to Dr. Zaynab. A part of me hopes she will read this one day. I loved her smile.

The doughnut runs my husband made for me, there were also many McDonald’s runs too (especially when I was pregnant)

Being creative in the kitchen and with the grocery shopping. Its fun and challenging when you may not have exactly what you are used to.

The many many laps walked around the shopping malls. Some days it was the only way to get any exercise in.

Constant growth of a city meant that there were always new shops or restaurants to explore. Some were duds, some were pleasant surprises.

I’m so blessed to have received a kind message just asking how I was from time to time, from fellow expats who knew that maybe I just needed to know that I was being thought of.

Towards the end of my time there, my family and a few others would get together on Monday nights for a dinner where we would all pitch in on the food (home cooked or bought) and it was such a lovely time of gathering together to laugh and talk.

I will always appreciate the young family who opened their doors to us on our first thanksgiving in Hofuf. Thank you JA and LA, for lovely dinners in your home and making a holiday festive when we were all abroad and missing our families.

I will always cherish the thunderstorms that would come through in the winter. It was such a treat to see rain and lightning in the desert.

We had an SUV that treated us good for a bit, but then when it finally died, we rented. I will never forget the car rentals that were always white, and sometimes beat up. There was one that had brown stains over the entire interior as if a soda had exploded. But they gave us reliable transportation to and from the grocery.

Always loved the get-to-gethers that we would have with friends. It helped get through all the rough days in Saudi. It made many insane days, saner (LM, you are a gem! Thank you for your friendship. I hope to see you again someday)

I miss my friends overseas. I will to keep in touch as much as possible, and hope to hear from them as well over the years. Some have already left Saudi, and have moved on to different places, while some are still there, working and raising their families. I think about them daily. I do love how social media allows us to see some bits of peoples lives. Facebook and Instagram is great for this sort of thing.

I’m so very thankful that this is how my married life pretty much started (living in Saudi). It helped us grow together, fight together, cry together, and love together and share many cups of coffee together.

In about a month we will most likely be on our way to another place…And I’ll post a photo of sand and ocean.

Until then-wifeabroad (from the States)

Becoming the person I judged

I have a confession to make. Maybe an apology of sorts.
As you know, (if you have been following the blog) I am living in Saudi Arabia with my husband. My home country is the U.S. I came over here shortly after we got married. Since September of 2014 I have been here.

When I was planning to move overseas and even after I arrived here, I had these thoughts about other women who had tried it here, and had left for one reason or another. Usually what went through my mind was that they weren’t very supportive of their spouses, or it can’t be that bad.

The thing is, I am now finding myself to be one of those women. I don’t like living here. I have tried to adjust to life here the best I know, and it doesn’t seem to be enough to keep going. I am fleeing the desert heat to go back to my home country for the summer. At the moment I am going to come back to Saudi after some time away, but I have also had to admit, that I really don’t want to do even that. Part of me really wishes that I could write my Farewell Saudi post.

Its tough, and I still am unsure of the future here in Saudi. Just wanted to share this little bit of information. Perhaps there will be a recharging that will take place while I am gone, Perhaps there will be a new frame of mind. Perhaps there will be a new perspective of life here that will make it possible to return with a fresh look at the place. I can’t know at the moment….

Would rather be abroad on a beach -wifeabroad

To my friends here: I will miss you while I am away

April arrived with a bang!

4/4/15

My husband and I went to Bahrain for the weekend. When we got there it was a bit chilly to me, so I didn’t take off my abaya right away. Was sort of wearing it like a jacket. It was actually raining and in the 80’s (F), but that made it feel a bit colder. We went to the liquor store to get some beers, and as we were walking up to the door we both were commenting on the fact that I still had the abaya on. As soon as we got inside I was confronted by security. Abayas are not allowed. We had a good laugh over that as I got kicked out for wearing it. The weekend was very chill and nothing over the top, as we stayed at a friend’s house and ate good food, and just relaxed. Here are some photos of pottery that I think are just lovely.

CAM00267 CAM00268 CAM00269These were taken at a roadside pottery market in Bahrain.

And a random photo of fabric with circles, because I’m a bit obsessed with circles. CAM00265

Sunday, was back to work for my husband. I woke up and realized that I had caught a cold over the weekend. The second hottest country in the world, and I had a cold. Yes, I am aware that it has nothing to do with weather, but I just wanted to throw that out there. On Monday, the temps got up to 104 (F).

On Tuesday a friend of mine invited me to go to the beach, so despite my runny nose and fatigue, I joined her. It was nice to get out for the day and enjoy a change of scenery . It is important for me to point out that this was my first time since moving here to do something without my husband for a day. In the States it would be taken for granted. My ability to just go and do something without him could happen at any time back at home. Here, not so easy or often does that happen. We got to enjoy the afternoon sitting in the sun, eating sandwiches and chips, or “crisps” as my friend calls them.

That evening we met up with my husband at the market. Him and I had a few things we needed for dinner the next night as we were going to have guests over for dinner. He mentioned that a roast sounded good. After a brief conversation about my ability to cook a roast, it was settled. At the meat counter I spotted the cut that looked good and told him what I wanted. My husband started laughing and explaining quite loudly in the store… “yeah, baby…way to be decisive!” Turns out, the cut of meat was quite pricey. 269 Saudi Riyals! Divide that by 3.75 and you get the US dollar amount. It was only the next day that I realized I had a bit of pressure on me to make that turn out well. I was a bit nervous that I might ruin it. I stuck the meat full of garlic cloves. I also mixed together a dry rub with a healthy amount of cyan pepper, salt, pepper, dry peppers, garlic powder, and cinnamon, and then I hoped for the best as it cooked for three hours in the oven.

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I must say, that I would do that again. It came out of the oven with this lovely crust that had a tasty kick to it.

Backing up just a little bit…I had done a bit of cleaning before the guests had arrived. This included washing the floors. I don’t wash the floors that often, since the dust is never ending here. Our guests had actually laughed because a sand storm was headed our way. They had told us that the following day it was due to hit. I heard a strange noise outside that evening (I don’t know how to describe it), and by the time the guests were about to leave, I looked outside the kitchen window to see nothing. All the lights and buildings in the distance were no longer visible. The Storm had already arrived, and it was by far the worst one I had ever seen in my life. The howling winds lasted all night and by morning, the inside of our apartment was covered in a layer of sand and dust. Everything was covered. All the cleaning I had done the day before had been laughed at by Mother Nature, and desert winds. I felt inspired to create this illustration for a little bit of cheer and positive thinking…

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Also, I can’t really describe the smell that permeated my nose. Even with the cold and stuffed up head, all I could smell was sand. It was a burning smell to me. And to be honest I don’t enjoy that at all. I also felt like the elements had won the next morning, as I sat down for coffee and decided that I really wasn’t going to clean at all that day. Luckily my husband came home early from work and tackled the majority of the filth on his own. I just didn’t have the energy.

Photos from the sandstorm.

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Yesterday the sky was blue again and the weather, lovely. We got out of the house for a bit and wandered around the mall. I have always been a bit surprised by some of the shoes here. I think I will take more photos as I find them, but here a few to show you. I guess it surprises me that the impractical and gaudy shoes are so readily available in the land o’ sand. These are just a tiny portion of some of the crazy ones that I see.

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I’m very thankful that my frugal husband goes to certain gas stations when the car needs a fill up. He usually brings home 3-4 boxes of free tissue with each fill up. That my friends…comes in handy when you have a cold!

This pretty much sums up my past week here in Saudi. April has arrived with a bang -wifeabroad

It may not seem like much…

3/17/2015

It’s about that time again when I give you all an update on my life here in Saudi… We had a pretty good weekend, actually, I will say it was great! There is something incredibly calming about being able to just relax and see a new place, and hang out with friends. It overrides the negative crap in my head for a while. Something that is both needed and very much cherished here in the desert. At least for me…

Thursday evening, we met up with friends at the grocery store to get food for the next day’s BBQ we had planned. We got our supplies and then headed to my favorite place for Shawarma’s. We then went to a nearby park to eat, since the restaurant has no family section. The weather has been really great so, the park was very full of families with their children.

Friday we got on the road about 8ish, and drove to this hidden gem along the beach. This place provided us with a sense of NORMAL life for the day. We shed our abayas, and the rules of Saudi, and just had a great day relaxing in the sun, feet in the sand, cold malt (alcohol free) beverage in our hands. And the men grilled meat for dinner, on little grills that were available for us to use. The kids and adults all had a good time. It was such a breath of fresh air. And I’m sure that everyone got home that night very tired, but a good sort of tired.

On Saturday we had another guest over for dinner. Our guest brought all the food and cooked it up in our kitchen. I didn’t have to do a thing! And it was super delicious. Bok choy, steak and rice. I will have to see if he wants to cook for us again, he can. Then after dinner we headed to the Eco Park. Half the park is still blocked off to pedestrians for some reason, but once again it was teeming with people enjoying the weather. The first time I had been to the park, the water fountain was empty of water and looked to be under construction. I had a desire to see the fountain in action while here, and I got to see it that night. The water was flowing and after dusk, the fountain came to life. It used to be the world’s largest fountain at one time. The water shoots up 73 meters according to what I have found on the Internet about it. We were quite surprised to find that it was set to music. Public music here is Haram (meaning it’s sinful or forbidden to some Muslims) but I guess once again, the rules are meant to be broken! Oh,…I almost forgot to mention that also, a surprise to me was seeing female workers at the park picking up trash! This is a first for me to see. I’ve only seen men doing this sort of work before. The women had their hair covered, but they were wearing pants. Not an abaya. Bring it on…! I want to add twenty exclamation points. I was able to play around with my camera a bit and get a few good shots, then figure out the video. So here is some visual entertainment for you to go along with my story of the weekend.

CAM00204 CAM00205 CAM00214 CAM00217 CAM00221 CAM00213  I loaded a video to You Tube of the fountain at http://youtu.be/78YBEzA8auc (I still have some learning to do on videos)

This may not seem like much to my readers, but to us, this was one of our favorite weekends. It’s amazing how small things can bring so much joy here in Saudi.

Last night we got to enjoy a lightning show and quite a bit of rain here. This was the first time seeing lightning in the desert, for me.

To all my readers both old and new, thanks for reading, and have a great day!

-wifeabroad