Place Your Bets

10/14/16

The heat, as I had mentioned in the previous post is intense. I sweat, the baby sweats, we all sweat. I’m trying to keep her cool in front of the fans (one will go to another apt next week, so we will be down to one floor fan) Baby V. has had some heat rash. The manager has put up a blue tarp in front of our unit to help give us a bit more shade. She has even been asking the owner for umbrellas for the property to help with the issue. Even the managers daughter is so kind in this, she brought us a used walker one day for the baby to use. This has freed up our arms as any parent knows. It gives her independence, which is so important.

There has been an arrangement for a neighbor to take us to town on Tuesday mornings now too. Its so helpful, and the Super Polla has veggies on sale that day, which we love. The kindness has been so appreciated. The driver who had picked us up from the airport has stopped by to see how we were getting along, plus he took me to the market one day as well. I did have to pay him that day, and he isn’t cheap. He charges about 8 Dollars each way. So that is not really in the budget to happen often.

My expectations of this trip seem laughable, as I am having a hard time adjusting. An apt furnished (we have) with air conditioning (we don’t have). Near a beach…Well, mileage wise, yes. Walk-able, no. We have a pool, which is awesome. No town within walking distance. The main road is about a mile away, downhill on the way to the road, up on the way back. Then you have to hail a taxi or Coagua ( a small taxi van, and I’m not sure its spelled that way). Being out in the country is peaceful, which I love, but its also very isolated, which I don’t love. The ants bite. The gigantic spiders shorten my life span. There have been three in the apartment so far, and if it wasn’t for my husband being here to kill them, I think I would have moved out already. You should see me going into another room sometimes. Scanning the walls and corners for them before I even step into the room.

Co-sleeping with the baby has been hard for me, The bed space isn’t big enough and I don’t really sleep well at night. Plus I have this guilt over the fact that now I will have to train her to sleep on her own.

The afternoon thunderstorms are lovely. The Horses next door are also. The property here is so peaceful.

We had a ride to Sosua the other day and walked to the beach. Its really a nice beach with tons of shade from the Palms. The area is lined with vendors selling food and things like bathing suits, kitchy stuff, paintings, dresses, towels, whatever… I got a blister on my foot that day, so I haven’t wanted to get back that way due to all the walking.

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An illustration I did one day based on the pool here

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Sosua beach and business

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Baby V is somewhat of a celebrity when we go out.

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This is baby V and her Daddy at the beach

Things I am thankful for:

  • Spinach and bacon in my eggs
  • A shower
  • Fans (we may need to buy one this week)
  • Clean laundered sheets
  • The coloring book that my friend Debbie sent with me
  • My husband watching the baby as she sleeps so I can have some alone time
  • Drawing
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Cheese
  • Cold beer
  • Pool

I miss my family and friends.

Who wants to start placing bets on how long I will be able to stay here? -wifeabroad

The Dominican Republic

10/13/2016

Last Wednesday we arrived in the Dominican after 8pm. Behind schedule due to an impossibly short stop in NC that didn’t allow us enough time to get to the other gate for our next flight. The gates were closed and we had to be re-routed. They sent us to Santiago airport instead of Puerto Plata. This also was putting us even farther from our destination. However, we were able to arrive at our destination the day before Miami canceled all of its flights due to hurricane Matthew. It all worked out well, because if we had stayed in Miami it would have been days of being stuck.

This is a glimpse of traveling with a baby in an airport.

 Fortunately we were able to get our ride to come out farther. I had looked up an estimate for taxi fees online, and it was going to be about 150 US Dollars. Our ride (Angelo from Manitoba Canada) agreed to pick us up for 100. Plus he was friendly and educated in the area, so there was no confusion as to where we were going. It was a two hour ride from the airport. The downside was that it was at night and so we missed the fantastic mountain views.

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The sign when we arrived.

We arrived at our new home for the next few months late at night. Tired and exhausted from the travel, we basically just wanted to rest. The apartment (studio style with a bed and mini fridge and bathroom) was as I had expected it to be with the exception of a lacking door to the toilet. This was not my idea of comfortable accommodations. It was hot, no fan, no ac,…hot! About thirty minutes into the stay my husband did say that it wasn’t going to work for the next three months. I was relieved.

1475778788455The one room studio.

The next day we made arrangements with the manager to move to another unit. This did mean more money out of our budget, but it had a kitchen space and stove to cook, a small fridge to store our food, and a futon. Plus a bedroom and bathroom, with a door. And it had fans! This is what I would consider a more adequate space to live in for a family of three. I’m so thankful for the floor fans that keep the air moving.

The porch and view of our current apartment.

I had purchased a kid-pod baby bed tent that is good for traveling. But thanks to the temperatures, it doesn’t work here. So, we are co sleeping on a queen sized bed. I have never missed the Pak-n-Play as much as I do now.

I have underestimated the heat on an island for the second time in my life. Sri Lanka, and the Dominican Republic…Its bloody hot!!!

More to be posted soon from the Dominican, aka paradise -wifeabroad

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)

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

Broken down by fours

2/25/2015

One week I feel great, and am explaining how I have gotten used to the abaya. The next week, I’m a total mess. Okay, maybe at times it can be broken down by hours, not weeks. And maybe a total mess is really just a nice way of saying that I may have just gone manic.

If someone asks me how I am doing, they will get the same answer most of the time. “I am fine.”

  1. I am smiling, but gritting my teeth
  2. I am on the verge of tears
  3. I may just go on a rant of exaggerated dislike for almost everything
  4. I really am fine

I’m trying to be thankful for things that are good in my life to counterbalance the stresses

  1. So thankful for my husband who keeps on loving me, even in the ugly moments
  2. I’m thankful that my health has been good. I even traveled to a country (cough, cough… the U.S.) that reported epidemic like flu outbreaks and never got sick.
  3. I’m thankful that I have things that bring me joy (all things art)
  4. We are always well fed

New things that have happened in the past weeks

  1. Trying home cooked Vietnamese food
  2. Meeting a Vietnamese ambassador and his wife
  3. Laying out in the sun by a pool, in a Muslim country
  4. Giving up my flip flops because we (the ladies in the group) had all worn high heels and did touristy stuff that required a lot of walking. I think the ambassador’s wife needed a break from the heels as well, and I didn’t have the heart or the nerve to tell her she had my shoes on. It was a really funny moment. I’ll never forget it.

Things I really need to work on as an expat.

  1. Not shutting down
  2. Every little detail is important or not at all (need to avoid extreme thinking)
  3. Generalization of things is often quite unfair to myself and others
  4. Keeping the bad folder underneath, and not as stocked full as the good folder

If it wasn’t for my being here in Saudi for the past 4 months, I would not have been able to have the experiences that I have been able to write about, and for that I am also thankful.

CAM00147 A view of Bahrain

CAM00148 The patchwork camel needed a scrub down

CAM00156 Old and new

CAM00150 Cool art at the old fort (also has patchwork)

Saudi is not going to change for me, I have to change for it, or I have to leave.

Working on perspective, and tossing around ideas in my head for the next steps in life

-wifeabroad

A fish market pervert, a Saudi wedding, and a few close calls.

12/14/14

I need to warn you that the first part of this entry is not pleasant! The weekend started out like most weekends here. My husband and I always have new energy on Thursday nights since it starts the weekend and we never really know what kind of fun we can have for a couple days. We had a few errands to run before we headed out of town for a trip to Jeddah to attend a wedding. I needed to return a dress that I had decided against, and my husband needed to pick up some clothes that he had dropped off for repairs. The return of the dress went pretty smoothly and I was able to explain that I didn’t want the dress without anyone understanding a word of the other’s language.  Then they gave me a credit towards the store and motioned for me to go shopping. I didn’t need anything right away, so I was able to get the cash back after asking a few questions and a few more gestures regarding the credit receipt. Then my husband and I headed to the old town to pick up some alterations. Being a Thursday night here, the streets were bustling with people and cars. I decided to wait in the car for my husband to walk maybe a half block to the shop and back. He left and just a minute went by and I glance over and see this guy who seems to just be “adjusting” himself. I mean, most men at some point or another have to do this…so no big deal. Keep in mind, I am directly in front of a large fish market and there are pedestrians everywhere. I look about and then glance back towards the store front and the same guy mentioned before is there again, looking at me and then I notice he is not “adjusting” himself at all! He is getting himself off, exposing himself, right there while staring at me! I instantly panicked! I locked the doors and instantly grabbed my scarf to “hide” myself. I kept checking the side mirrors to know where the man was, as he kept walking around the truck and around a few other cars in the area. He probably made it around the truck five times before my husband made it back. My husband gets in and asks why I have my scarf on. I didn’t have any words at that time, but my mind was screaming “Go, Go, Go!” I just wanted him to get me out of there! I had never experienced something like that in my life! Even now, I fail to find the words to explain how that sick man made me feel. The things I could have, or should have done flooded me afterwards. In the moment I had sort of froze besides locking the doors. Still now as I recall the experience, I wish I would have been able to jump out of the truck and beat the guy, and leave him in public shame. He deserved it at the least! I just looked up on Google to see find that Pepper spray is legal here for self-defense. Perhaps I should get some. Only a month or so earlier, I had been talking with a friend who had told me that she had heard that some men will act in very inappropriate ways when they see a foreign woman in the flesh. I had been surprised by what she had said, and sort of laughed it off thinking, “wow! Glad that won’t happen to me…” Well, guess what? It did!

I really wish this had not happened to me, or any other woman for that matter, but the sad truth is, there are some sick beings in this world. I am thankful the situation was not worse, and I have learned that if it were to happen again, I need to cause a serious scene and get as much attention as possible. And I will no longer just wait in the truck by myself in areas like that.

Now…on to the better parts of the weekend!

We left the house early on Friday and headed to Dammam Airport for the trip. Morning traffic here is always much calmer. Thankfully there wasn’t an issue with fog that morning. The airport was pretty calm as well, since we were only flying domestic. Getting on the plane was different due to the fact that a quarter of the passengers were men in preparation for Umrah. Umrah is a Muslim pilgrimage to the city of Mecca for Muslims during non-Haj months. From what I have read about it, clothing worn during this time can’t have seams. The men getting on the plane were wearing towels. Just towels. One wrapped around the waist and another over the shoulders. Seeing men dressed in a way that is far less modest from the traditional thobes was very different. I have to say, that after the previous night’s experience, I felt a little grossed out. I couldn’t help it, but I kept it to myself.
About half way through the flight, I look up to see a guy in the row behind us doing CPR on an older gentleman who was passed out. I thought that the plane was turning back at this point to go back to the airport. The flight attendants did a great job keeping the man on oxygen the rest of the flight and we actually ended up flying the rest of the way to Jeddah. Once the plane had landed and the EMT crew was on board, one of the daughters of the man sat down next to my husband and explained to us that her father had recent heart surgeries and that they were not going to get to go on Umrah at this point. She so kindly expressed her concern that she hoped we weren’t late to our own thing, while her own father was on the brink of death. Once again, I was so thankful that the situation was not worse, and that the man seemed to be stable as we got off the plane.

My husband was able to negotiate a lesser fee with a non-official “taxi” driver to find our hotel from the airport. Turns out, that first driver was the nicest of all the taxi drivers we had while in Jeddah. The Hotel (actually a one bedroom apartment with a living room) was really nice. We took a much needed rest and then headed out to the corniche on the Red Sea to enjoy the setting sun. Our walk took us along a street filled with large sculptures and grassy areas occupied by families enjoying picnics. We weren’t lost, we were exploring! J We ended up walking quite a bit that evening in what seemed to be 95 (F) degree heat and 80% humidity.  By the time we decided to get a taxi back to the hotel, we were both drenched in sweat and very thirsty! The kind taxi driver gave us a small bottle of water to drink. We must have looked pretty miserable.

We then got ready for the wedding that evening. It didn’t start until 9:30 P.M. We are usually ready to call it a day by that hour, so this was very outside our normal routine. We got all dressed up and hailed another taxi. We arrived at the wedding, and while my husband knew the groom, I didn’t know a single person there. One of the groom’s friends came out to meet us and show me where to go. There I was left to go inside by myself and attend the wedding, Saudi style. Women in one part of the building, and the men in a completely separate part. I went in and stood in the entrance for a few minutes trying to figure out what to do. I’m pretty sure I was shaking with nervousness.  A sister of the groom finally spotted me and told me where to check my abaya (events like this allow the women to be abaya-free, since there are no men around) and where to sit. The hall was decorated and all fancy with tea, Arabic coffee, chocolates, and cookies on the hundred or more tables. My new guide seated me in the front of the room near the stage by myself! Already out of my comfort zone, I really started feeling even more uncomfortable. I tried the Arabic coffee and some chocolates to keep myself busy while more female guests arrived. A cousin of the groom was eventually “sent” over to chat with me for a bit. She was nice and spoke English. I used the word sent, because it was quite obvious to me that since I was the only white girl there, the English speaking relative, was told to go keep my company for a bit. She explained that the groom’s mother would sit by the entrance to the hall and greet guests until maybe two in the morning, that the groom would arrive around three-thirty in the morning and that everyone else would probably not leave until four A.M! We were both quite shy and didn’t really know what to say to each other. She made her escape shortly afterwards, telling me she needed to go speak with her mother. The table where I sat started filling up with other women at that point, all of whom sat at the farthest end from me. I felt like I was being talked about continually, but I couldn’t be sure since I didn’t understand a word they were saying and was quite nervous myself. J Oh how I wanted to not be an obvious white foreigner or crawl under the table! At least I had dressed well for the occasion. A friend here had loaned me a dress to wear, but at the last minute I had decided I wanted to go shopping for a dress of my own. I found a beautiful floor length gown in bright orange. It’s my favorite color and the price for the dress was only 100 riyals. That’s close to twenty-five U.S dollars! It cracks me up that after buying a gown, my husband looked at my cross body purse that I normally carry and said, “You can’t wear that purse with that dress!” I found a great evening bag in navy blue for forty-five riyals.  A couple days later, and I am still entertaining the idea of going back to the mall for the same dress in other colors because the price is so affordable.

More women started arriving to the table where I was and even started greeting me. I shook a few hands, told them my name and said nice to meet you, even though none of them told me their own names. They just smiled and greeted me in words I couldn’t understand. After a few of these, I noticed that the women are greeting with hugging and kissing (I was counting the number of kisses on the cheeks as I observed) and in my awkward position I decided that I should at least return the greetings with a little more than a handshake. Oh my, even with the previous counting, you can never tell who will give you one kiss on the cheek or one kiss on one, and three on the other side and so forth! I still don’t know the proper way to greet a Saudi woman! J The variety of dresses was pretty amazing—so many beautiful gowns. The styles ranged from super formal to casual. But all the faces were cloaked in heavy makeup, and even I had put on a little more than I normally would! Out in public I see women every day, covered up, and all you see are eyes. Here I got to see what they look like underneath the abaya and facial coverings. I would say this evening was the closest thing to “real Saudi” so far in my time here.

Dance music started after a bit and the mother of the Groom got on stage along with a couple other relatives to dance, and then a bit later another elderly lady also got up to dance, but other than that, there wasn’t much action going on.

At one point I heard someone at the table say “excuse me”, so I looked over and got an eye-roll and the toss of a head to the side. At this point I was even more nervous, because I in no way intended to give the impression that I was being stuck up! I told myself that while these ladies may have been judging me by what they saw, they didn’t have any idea of who I am, nor do they know that I am honestly just a very uncomfortable stranger who happened to be invited to their space!  Maybe they were also a bit nervous like me.  I sat there, drinking Arabic coffee for what seemed to be a really long time, looking around the room, smiling at strangers, wondering what it was like for my husband on the other side, and finally grabbed by bag to go use the ladies room. The cousin who had chatted with me earlier stopped me on the way and demanded to know where I was going. I think she thought I was leaving, so I told her the ladies room, and grabbed up my too-long dress so I wouldn’t trip and make an even bigger fool of myself and went to find the ladies toilet. In the ladies room I hiked up my dress even more as to not get it wet on the floors. I was thinking to myself, how do they do this in such fancy dresses without getting them soiled?  You see, the floors are always wet in the ladies rooms, and most times, there aren’t any western toilets.  Only squatters. The damn squatters. Many times there is actually a bathroom attendant who mops the floors and cleans the bathrooms in the larger public facilities. I just happen to be the type who feels hesitant as to the nature of any wet floors when I am in a bathroom! Perhaps I am stuck up after all. J So there I am, grabbing up my dress and tucking it into the top of my dress to avoid it making contact with the floor, while the chain from my evening bag gets caught in my hair as I try to keep it from also hitting the floor. It would have made anyone laugh to see it!

I was able to comfortably check my phone while taking my break from the festivities and discovered that my husband had sent me a message saying they are finished on the guy’s side! I’m thinking “what? It hasn’t even started over here yet! I feel like I have been here for hours.” He told me he will meet me outside if I want to, so I go retrieved my abaya and I made my escape. I went to a Saudi wedding, but I didn’t stay for the whole thing. Leaving just before midnight, I didn’t lose my slipper on the stairs.

The men had eaten a great feast and had pretty much only talked and drank the same Arabic coffee, while I had sat for an eternity not knowing what to do, how to behave, or what would happen next. No pictures were allowed from my side, but my husband got a few. J I’m glad I went. It was probably the most uncomfortable cultural thing I have ever done, besides moving to Saudi! I was scared, dressed up for a party and yet I couldn’t hang till 4 A.M! I’ll most likely never see any of those faces again, so luckily I shouldn’t have to explain my sudden exit. I had fun explaining the evening to my husband who was a little bummed that I hadn’t at least taken a sketch pad with me to draw what I was seeing (you know, like they do in court rooms that don’t allow cameras). Maybe next time.

The next morning I felt like I had a hangover from all the Arabic coffee that I had consumed combined with dehydration from walking so much. We didn’t get a chance to see much of Jeddah this time around, as it was a short trip, and my husband had to go back to work on Sunday. We packed up our things and got a taxi to head to the airport Saturday morning. This final taxi driver refused to turn on the meter when asked, and seemed very unfriendly. We had a near accident as we came upon another accident, but luckily he was able to slam on the brakes in time to avoid the suddenly stopped car in our lane. I think we came within an inch of the other car, as our driver burned a layer of rubber off of the tires. My husband asked him how long he had lived in Saudi. He was from Bangladesh, and had been here 20 years. When asked if he liked it, he quickly said “No!” I was thinking to myself “there is your sign, man. You have been in the desert for too long. It’s time for you to go home!” We drove up the ramp along the highway and suddenly there are wheelbarrow tires lying everywhere in our lane. A quick swerve was enough that time, and when we topped the ramp there was a man running down the road to get his tires that had fallen from his truck. You never know what you will see here! And that my friends, is my story from this past weekend…

I am so thankful for the adventures, our safety, the fun and laughter we share, and marking the six months of marriage to my husband—together!

Xx0 – wifeabroad