I Didn’t Know Her.

While I was living in Saudi Arabia, there were many many times when I would get bored and frustrated. I didn’t have a ton of things to do. I didn’t have a car to go drive when I wanted. Most of the year was too hot to comfortably go on walks and most of my time there, I never really felt safe to do so. The frustration that came along with that was constant. Even in good times, it was still there just around the corner. Now onto my point…
I spent a lot of time reading on the internet. Searching out interesting blogs, and sometimes falling down useless rabbit holes. One blogger that I followed was a girl younger than myself, married to a Saudi and living in Riyadh with their (toddler) daughter. She was a woman of many words, and her entries either made me relax and feel like I wasn’t alone or they fired me up because I didn’t agree with what she was saying. Normal stuff while reading about another’s life…
I really was able to understand some of the frustrations she felt being in Saudi, and found her stories so interesting. I understood the conversations in her post regarding her living in Saudi and the sometimes, odd questions and surprise that others would have. I read, with interest, her posts on motherhood, as I was pregnant while living in Saudi myself. I wanted to meet her when she wrote about her family both in the Ozarks and in Saudi. I wanted to debate her when I read about her conversion and some of the things she did because of her religion. But in general, I sorta felt like I knew her through her blog.
Last summer I read that she was having another child and I was feeling good about reading how a second child would change her life stories. Blogs and people can be curious things. Its kinda like getting a letter from someone when the email notification comes up. Get that cup of coffee ready, cause you know its gonna be a long read, kinda thing.

Over the past couple months I have been wondering what had happened as I hadn’t gotten the notifications anymore. Today while eating my lunch, I looked up her blog and read the last post. It was full of pain and doctor visits (here in the States. Her frustration with the medical policies she kept running into, and her travel back to Saudi to be back with her husband and get medical (affordable) treatment in her home of Riyadh. As I was reading along I thought the pain seemed odd. and then she signed off stating that she would post more later. I do the same thing. But there wasn’t one… I scrolled down and started reading the comments and discovered that she had died of cancer last fall. She had her baby and three months later died. I have no idea if her children are living in Saudi (most likely they are) I have no idea if she died in Saudi with or without her parents by her side. Things like this hit me harder since having a baby, and this is another reason why I still struggle with living abroad. Because I wouldn’t be near my family if something happened. I, still even typing this later, can’t keep the tears from flowing. I never met this girl. but my heart is broken over her death. And it breaks my heart when young babies lose their mommies.

I want to send her parents a card.

Giving my daughter a longer hug when she wakes up from her nap-wifeabroad (living in the States for now)

 

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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

I had a baby in Saudi

The date was Jan 27th, 2016. I had gone to bed a bit early and woke up about 11pm with pain in my belly. I laid there for about 30 minutes thinking to myself that it wouldn’t be long before I would be giving birth to my daughter. I was excited since I was already 40 weeks and one day. I was ready to hold her in my arms. I was feeling a little bit scared because I knew nothing of what was going to happen. First baby nervous. Does it get better or easier after the first one? I got up and decided to keep busy for as long as I could. I wrote down the times when I felt each contraction start up. I was hitting the refresh button on Facebook and hand quilting my rooster quilt to keep myself occupied. I wondered to myself when I was going to get sleep next. I had no idea how long the labor would last.

I finally woke my husband up around three am I think. I told him that I didn’t think he would be going to work that day. I enjoyed his excitement over my condition at the time. He was calm and collected. I told him that I didn’t want to be that person who would show up at the hospital only to be sent home because it wasn’t time yet. I think we waited till about 4:30am before we left the house. We decided to get some McDonald’s Egg Mcmuffin sandwiches (they aren’t open at that hour) before and even go walk around at the grocery store since we figured that it would be the only place open. They actually had the doors locked at Tamimis when we arrived. They are open 24 hours, but were putting stock out and cleaning floors so they had the doors locked. We went and sat in the car for a bit and then my husband went to approach an employee who had come out to smoke. He straight up told the guy that I was in labor and we just wanted to walk around inside. So the guy lets us in the roam the aisles of the grocery store (and use the toilet) while I had contractions every 4-7 minutes. That will always be a good memory.

Arriving at the hospital for the birth of a baby involves getting checked in at the emergency room first. Strange to me, but whatever. Then they take you up to the birthing floor to be checked out. Turns out I was only dilated maybe one or two centimeters. After being monitored for contractions and fetal heartbeat for an hour, they told us to go home. It was too early. They told us to come back if the pain got worse, or there was blood, or water. Specific, yet vague instructions for a return trip. Turns out, I was that girl who arrived too early and got sent home. McDonald’s was open at this time, so I finally got my breakfast sandwiches on the way home.

I don’t really remember much of that Thursday. Only that the contractions remained around 3 to 7 minutes apart all day and just kept getting stronger. I was able to get in a much needed nap after being up all night. We just chilled at home, and around eleven PM, we headed back to the hospital. The pain had definitely increased and I didn’t know what level to expect for hard labor. This time I was wheeled up to the birthing floor in a wheel chair as part of protocol. Again I was checked out and monitored to see how things were progressing. And again I was told to go back home. I felt rather frustrated at this point because the pain seemed more intense, yet I hadn’t even dilated much at all. Again they gave me instructions regarding my return to the hospital. If there was water, blood or the pain was worse. I think I asked how much worse the pain should be and they said intolerable. Another reason for sending us home was that the insurance was only going to pay for a certain amount of time outside of the delivery, so me staying there early on would have been money out of pocket. I was crying out in pain on the way home this time. There was no sleeping for me this time once I got home. My husband was able to get some rest, but my contractions couldn’t be slept though.

I think I woke my husband up around 3:30 am Friday morning. I was crying from the pain at this point, and there had been fresh colored blood along with the mucus plug. This gave me hope that I had in fact dilated more during the night. So off to the hospital once again! I remember very little cars being on the road this go around. My husband was speeding and even ran a red light because there was no one else on the road. He had said we were staying this time even if they suggested we go home. He even thought maybe if we didn’t hurry we would have to name our daughter Elantra, after the car she would be born in.

The wheelchair ride to the birthing floor was a little bit funny. I would have laughed had I not been crying in pain. The nurse pushing me kept saying “no no no,not yet.” I had to tell her I wasn’t having the baby, just a contraction. I get up to the room and get checked out only to discover I’m only four centimeters dilated. I was so unbelievably frustrated and concerned because I was really reaching a pain level that was too much. But this time they admitted me. They hooked me up once again to the monitors and would come back in the room periodically to check on things. I couldn’t get over the pain level. I should mention at this point that I had no desire to get an epidural. I didn’t want any pain medications really. I was thinking I would get the gas to breath between contractions and a last resort I would probably be willing to get the pethedine to ease the pain. I had my fears that I wouldn’t be able to do this on my own and that I would have to get a C-Section because of drugs that I was given. I wanted to avoid all of that. I was relieved to be in labor at this time, because they wanted to induce me the following week if I hadn’t had the baby, and that wasn’t something I wanted either.

Back to the delivery room: They had put me on oxygen at this point. And I’m not sure what time they did it, but they gave me a shot of pethedine at one point. Its supposed to ease the pain, but you will still feel everything. I am still of the opinion that it didn’t do sh** for me. I remember thinking “okay, twenty minutes and I’ll start feeling better.” It didn’t do anything! Little did I know that my husband had noticed that the contractions were registering around twenty on the monitor before the shot, and after the shot, they had gone up to eighty and ninety.

After some time the Dr. came in and asked me about getting an epidural. I at this point was glad she mentioned it and was all about hearing what she had to say regarding the procedure. My husband however was like, hey no one has checked on her in a couple hours. I think she needs to be checked on. He knew I didn’t want the epidural of course and he stepped in to be my voice of reason in a time when I was out of my head. The Dr. then checks me out and tells me that I am going to start pushing and will have a baby in twenty minutes. I was thinking really? I don’t have the desire to push. I don’t know how to push. And I sure as heck was scared of the pain level that I hadn’t had yet. But pushing time was on, so… The Dr goes to get changed and comes back and tells me to push every time I have a contraction. I’m telling you, I had no idea what I was doing. She would give me instructions, and I would tearfully tell her I was trying. Putting a catheter in she tells me that “that takes care of that problem.” (I had peed a little during a push. It had bothered me to not get a warning at least. If you have never had a catheter put in, they don’t feel good. She wasn’t about to be all kind about things either, she was very to the point and businesslike at this point. Like a drill sergeant, telling me, to stop crying and push! Or stop yelling and push! And put your hands on those bars and push! I didn’t even know if I was pushing right. I just wanted to baby to be out at this point. I wasn’t about to keep quiet when I started to feel her giving me an episiotomy. I had mentally prepared myself for it to happen at some point ( was told months before that it was procedure for first time births). Is mentally preparing oneself even possible to do when it comes to your genital area? I think not.

I think I had maybe three more pushes after that. At one point I had a cheering section of the Dr, my husband and the five or six nurses all yelling push! Push! At the same time. Finally with a great sense of relief, our little daughter came into the world at about 7:20am on Friday, January 29th.

I am grateful for the fairly short labor. Wednesday night, to Friday morning really isn’t too bad in my opinion. But I was also very exhausted at that point too. I didn’t even have any fight in me to protest the nurses taking the baby to the nursery right away, when in fact she should have been on me. Thankfully after getting stitched up, they brought her back into the room. I had planned to breastfeed exclusively and felt that the sooner she was on me the better.

Two hours after having the baby, I was able to be moved to the recovery room. The nurse wanted me to put on my abaya. I thought, and said out loud…”I just had a baby, I’m not putting on an abaya!” So she grabbed the blanket off the bed and covered me up with it. The recovery rooms were nice. A nice bed for me and a pull out chair bed for my husband to use. The food wasn’t terrible either. The constant flow of nurses or cleaning ladies was a bit too much though. The nurses from the nursery would also come in from time to time to take the baby “to check her vitals”. I would get annoyed if she was gone too long. I had informed them not to feed her, but they kept asking me if they could, even arguing with me at one point because they said she would get hungry if she didn’t have enough from me. “that’s why her and I need to work together at this” I had said in response. The learning part wasn’t immediate, but I was one determined mamma! Turns out that during those vitals checks at one point, she was being vaccinated. Good thing I wasn’t one of those anti vaxers because they never informed me or asked about vaccinations for my baby until we were getting discharged the following day, after they had already given her shots. I still get a little annoyed by it though.

I was one very happy lady when I got discharged the day after giving birth! I so wanted to just get home and start working on getting our own routines as a family. Three weeks later, we are still working on that. Every day seems to be something new and I’m okay with it.

My story is a bit long here, but I do need to add one more thing before I close. You know how I mentioned the catheter the Dr. put in? Well the first night at home, about 3am, I woke my husband up again to inform him this time that I probably needed to go back to the hospital because I had a UTI! Of all things, A UTI on top of just giving birth wasn’t my idea of a good time. But I knew my body well enough to know what was happening and I blamed the Catheter being the reason for this. I didn’t want to get put on antibiotics with a brand new baby though, so after some talking and looking on the Internets, I decided to try to eliminate the UTI naturally with cranberry juice, lemon juice, baking soda, eating certain foods, whatever would work and not cause the baby to get anything unwanted through the breast milk. My efforts were not successful however. After five days I woke up feeling lower back pain and really had had enough. Back to the hospital we went. A nurse asked us if we had someone at home to take care of the baby cause the air in the ER wasn’t good for a newborn. I might have snapped a little bit in response to that. It’s not like I had wanted to be there! I wanted drugs to clear up the infection and to be sent home! My white blood cell count turned out to be over 100 (I guess its supposed to be under 10) so they said I had to be admitted. Tearfully I asked if my baby could stay with me and they said yes, so I agreed to stay. Ended up staying in the hospital the whole weekend! I needed antibiotics and fluids to get me hydrated. They had to hook my IV up to a machine to push it through, since my little vein kept closing up. At least I didn’t have an issue with my blood clotting. But I had to push a button every time I needed to pee so that I could be unhooked, and then when they hooked me back up, they usually had to flush the vein to open in back up. You might think that I would have been able to get rest at least. Not the case, as the flow of nurses and cleaning crews were again a constant during my visit.

I am once again grateful for the continued healing and hope to be back to myself soon. I still have some pain that I hope will diminish in the next couple weeks. We are still learning every day here, and enjoying the process even if it involves tears on my end at times, because I am just exhausted or I’m hurting or just don’ t know what to do to make my baby stop crying. We are thankful and totally in love with our little girl.

That is my birth story from abroad. Signing off for now -wifeabroad.

Being Pregnant

I can hardly believe the year is almost up. Its amazing what has changed in just a matter of months. My husband and I celebrated a year of marriage, and took three vacations that required flying, along with a closer to home vacation a few hours away. I have made the one year in Saudi milestone. We have had some trying moments along the way too. I have wanted a number of times, to just leave this place, and my husband didn’t always know what to do in those situations. He was close to putting me on a plane a few times with a one way ticket. But we made it through all that and add a growing baby (not yet born) to the mix, and its been pretty eventful!
I’m almost done brewing the little one. She is due to arrive late January. She takes up more and more space everyday as well. Not just in the womb, but also outside too, as we are now in the process of adding little baby clothes in pretty feminine patterns, and tiny stuffed animals that are just adorable are being added to our lives.
Being pregnant has been such a strange and cool experience. I think some days as of late, I want to be done. But I also, wonder if I will then miss it once its over. My husband has been such a support through it all. Taking me to appointments, going out to get me ice cream, or cheeseburgers when it’s actually his bed time. Two nights ago, he didn’t even complain or argue about his need for sleep on a work night as I lay in bed wide awake, instead he and I talked about stuff and held hands while the little one bounced around inside of me.
We have had fun moments pretending to want  items for the baby, like a Cinderella carriage bassinet.
CAM00792 This was  NEVER going to go in our home, but we had a good laugh over it. We didn’t necessarily laugh over the talks where my husband just wants to use a cardboard box for the baby on top of a deep freezer. We don’t even own a deep freezer, but he sees this as an opportunity to get one.  That to me is trashy and ridiculous, and our baby doesn’t need to sleep in a box! I can’t help myself, when I want to get a normal crib that I will not have to deal with issues like, rolling, falling or starting to pull oneself up. Clothing. ah such cute little clothes! Everything for a baby seems to be so darn expensive. But I have done quite a bit of looking, and have found some cheaper options here in the city we live in. They might not be the best quality, but if they are just being worn for a couple months before being grown out of, it’ll do. As for me, I’m wearing a few items of clothing out myself. I have been enjoying a life of maxi skirts, leggings, and tank tops. Going out in leggings is not something I would ever do back home in the States. I find modesty to be quite lacking while wearing leggings outside of the house, unless said wearer is also wearing a long enough top or dress over them. So, the fact that I have to wear an abaya when I go out, solves that one right there. The general public has no clue what in underneath my black dress. I have also enjoyed my maternity clothes too. I don’t dress casual everyday. I have a feeling that even after the baby arrives, the maternity jeans will still be worn for a bit. But speaking of clothes for the baby…Look at the incredible baby shower in  a box that my mother in law sent over!
CAM00813So incredibly blessed to have this as a starting point for dressing our little girl. I love the colors that were picked out. And the little animal feet on the pants in the middle of the picture made my husband use the word “adorbs”. Love it!
I’ve had such a great appetite (second trimester, on…) and have put on some pounds. Some days it has made me feel quite self conscious, but I have tried not to let it get to me too much. I have had an unusual love for sweets, desserts, and candy. When my candy stash is getting low, I am looking for more. Okay, every trip to the grocery store I find something that needs to be had. Last night it was Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Those large old fashioned lolly pops are good too. Jelly Belly’s, Runts, oh, and cake. I love cake. The down side to some of this incredible appetite has been some incredible heartburn. Holy cow! I brought a thing of Tums with me from the States while I was there in the summer. I think there are two left and I have two months of pregnancy left. I had to stop relying on them since I knew I couldn’t get more here. But the Dr has given me some other prescription to take, so that has helped tremendously.
I’m still dealing with the anxiety of having a baby far from my home country. Its been okay so far. I’ve cried a few times, thinking I might be slightly insane to do this. There are still things I don’t understand about how things are done here, but the way it looks, I should be okay. I mean, women have babies all the time here. This is a baby making place! I think I will switch my Dr this next week, as I haven’t seen my original Dr in over a month due to vacation time when I go in, and the one I have been seeing has felt a bit more comfortable, as she explains things to me in more detail. I like details. I like information. Not just “everything will be fine”. I don’t imagine doing this without some pain management. It looks like laughing gas is the preferred method here.  When I asked my first Dr about drug options for birth, she mentioned that she had given two epidurals. So, yeah, no one who has done this twice, goes anywhere near my spine! Perhaps the topic will be covered again once I am closer to my due date. Between now and then, I guess a little more internet research will be done. I hate internet research on some topics, because the exposure to the terrible side of things is right there with the good and its a balance act as far as what a person can then trust. My husband would tell me to not to look up information on the subject matter, but he is not the one who is going to push our little girl out of his _______.
-a very pregnant wifeabroad, signing off for now.

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…

SAUDI ON-01

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