Thursday, June 19, 2008

Da list

Inspired by 'Da List' on Ammena's blog who was in turn inspired by Molly, I have decided to make my list of things I would and would not miss in the event of leaving Saudi Arabia.

Things I’ll miss and not miss when we finally leave Saudi Arabia. Things in green I will miss, things in red I most certainly will NOT miss!

1. Adhan!
The shops staying closed for over half an hour for every prayer and the shops being closed between zuhr and asr which is generally 4 hours.

2. Going out shopping or for any other activity and having a mosque or prayer room in the vicinity
Having to rush and go to the mall in the morning if I want to go anywhere apart from the supermarket as the mall shops will be closed between zuhr and asr and then it will be really hectic in the evening especially after isha.

3. Going out in Abaya/hijab/niqab and feeling just like everyone else, not different
Being stared at when I start to speak to my children because I look like everyone else but don’t sound like everyone else.
My pretty, hijab-wearing 12 year old being gawped at by perverted weirdos.

4. Living on a compound where the children can go out and play freely
Having to listen to moronic, bigoted compound politics… well actually I just try to stay out of the way and ignore it as much as possible

5. Having a decent sized, spacious home
Trying to clean it!

6. Halal food everywhere, not worry about pork or alcohol
Nothing not to miss here!

7. Going out to eat where everything is halal and no bar in sight
Again nothing not to miss! Actually… having to get into the restaurant right after isha prayer before the restaurant really fills up

8. Being able to do exciting things like driving to Makkah, Madinah or UAE
Having to leave all the driving to dh and some of our trip within KSA are approaching 1000KM which is a LOT for one person.

9. Being in the close vicinity of other countries like Oman, Yemen, UAE, Qatar and Bahrain
Having to get a stupid exit-reentry visa every time we want to leave the country so unless we have a 6 month exit-reentry there can be no spontaneous, “Hey! Let’s go to Bahrain!” We decided at last minute to go to Al-Khobar recently and would’ve loved to drive that little bit further to Qatar or Bahrain but… no exit-reentry visa!

10. Having to rely on taxi drivers who seem to speak no known language fluently and getting stranded at some location for a period of time while I try to rearrange return transport due to misunderstandings. Grrr!
Where's the positive for that?!

11. The sales - they really are fab here! Bargains galore and sadly enough, am very much looking forward to getting back from Algeria to browse the sales in August!
Nothing not to miss about that is there?!


A few additions from my two eldest daughters.

DD2 (10) says, "I will NOT miss:

  • The stupid maniacs who crash everyday

  • The people who do that annoying gesture and go “shway shway

  • How only men can work in malls and supermarkets and women can't

  • Having to get the school bus to school every day."

DD1 (12) says, "Things I WILL miss:

  • My friends

  • Compound - having freedom

  • People wearing abayas and being fully covered

  • My school

  • The fact there is a swimming pool, shop, recreation centre two minutes away from home

  • The sun


Anonymous said...

salamou alaikoum,
masha'allah I like your blog! and I respect you for wearing nikhab, tbarak'allah.
may Allah bless you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Your list was my list ten years ago when I repatriated, and believe me, the list still stands.

Adventurous Ammena said...

masha'allah, like the additions at the end. Like someone said on my list, will be interesting to look back in a few years and compare. I think u got the colours mixed up on the last one sis :D

youngMuslimah said...

despite all the crazy rules saudi has, you cant help but love it, I know:( i mean what other country do you see all women running around in abayas? (ok let's forget the fact that a lot of the times maybe it's b/c of societal pressure..)but still..there's this 'sakina' you have in saudi you wont find anywhere else!

L_Oman said...

Hmmmm. I think I'm gonna have to work on a list like this, myself!

Naeem: said...


Nice list...

"The shops staying closed for over half an hour for every prayer and the shops being closed between zuhr and asr which is generally 4 hours."

I must admit that this used to cause me much grief, but I've learned to calm down and simply go with the flow. Not everything needs to be done when *I* want to have it done...important lesson in life, IMO.

"Living on a compound where the children can go out and play freely"

This is an amazing benefit - one that our kids would never get back in the US...

"Having to leave all the driving to dh and some of our trip within KSA are approaching 1000KM which is a LOT for one person."

Good point. We just canceled a trip to Mecca for that exact reason. Family's flying to the US in a bit and the combined drive time to Mecca (16hrs going/coming) would have been a killer with the 15hr flight to the US.

Umm Ibrahim said...

itto: I love, love, love your blog too!

Marahm: so things really don't change then?! The good and the bad. :)

Ammena: Well, I left the computer running and came back to find 'someone' sitting there making additions! (DD2)

youngmuslimah: Sakinah... not sure about that! Not in our case anyway - a trip out seems to send dh's bp sky high as he keeps pointing out all the drivers cutting in front of him, not letting him out at junctions and doin other crazy things! LOL

l_oman: Look forward to your list then. I told Ammena this should be a meme!

Naeem: My problem is that I still forget about those 4 hours sometimes. Yesterday we went to Euromarche after Jumu'uah and I was happy thinking I could quickly pop into City Plaza and see what kids shoes they have until I was reminded that they would closed until 4pm. Grrr! LOL

seekingtaqwa said...

I'm still deep in thought about what i'll be sad to leave and what i can't wait to get to... my list is still a long way off I think...might be interesting to get my kids do their own lists...

youngMuslimah said...

haha,they banned the wrong gender from driving lol

American Muslima Writer said...

I love your list but soething caught my eye that I hope you'll do a post about. Deep info ;)

DO young girls wear hijab? Is there laws about this and what do the young girls under 12 wear outsid if not wearing hijab? little yellow sundresses? I'm imagine a sea or black women and white men (clothes not skin) and here and there a yellow sundress which catches all the perverts eyes... so plz let me and the world know about children's clothing in KSA. and at what age they have to put the niqab or can you wear only hijab and no niqab? :) I'd seriously woerry about my daughter's safety there, all blue eyed and blonde haired...

Unknown said...

Hababti, do you have a date that you are leaving KSA??

Anonymous said...

Assalaamu alaikum,

seekingtaqwa Still deep in thought eh? ;)

AMW Young children don't have to wear abaya or hijab and you will see Saudi kids and others wearing cute sundresses and normal summer clothing. Older children say from about 11 or 12 are expected to wear the abaya; if you are obviously muslim and you go somewhere where the mutawwa are out and about your older, non-hijab wearing child, you may get reminded or told that they should now be wearing a headcovering.

My daughter is 12 1/2 and she wears hijab anyway since she has reached the age of 'aql': she should Islamically speaking be covering now. My 10 1/2 year old (who looks younger) occasionally wears abaya when she goes out but generally she just wears jeans and tee-shirt and we have never any comment.

Anyway, you have seen them in photos... I think the hijab accentuates her face and she gets gawped at by men and women. :/

umm yehiya No, nothing decided for certain yet but we'll have to leave sooner or later for the kids' education.