Sunday, July 4, 2010
Sand In My Eyes
I am sure you are wondering how the hell I ended up in Saudi Arabia. While I was pregnant with my second child my husband applied for a position here, never thinking anything would actually come from it. Well it did. He interviewed for the position 2 days after I gave birth and 6 months later here we are. In addition to making this move for financial reasons which is why everyone is in Saudi, we thought it would be a great experience for both us and our kids to see a different culture and part of the world.
Living in Saudi has been very challenging for me. It is very conservative. I have to cover up in an abaya (long black robe) whenever I go out. Women are not allowed to drive or work. I have a driver who takes me wherever I have to go. Everywhere shuts 5 times a day for prayers. Places like restaurants are segregated, they have a mens only section and a family/ladies section. There aren't any movies or clubs. Entertainment is non-existent. Alcohol is illegal. A friend of mine, a woman from the UK here as a teacher was just arrested. Her crime, she had a male friend helping her move some stuff. She was held for 4 hours and fingerprinted. Women are not suppose to go out with a man who is not her husband (or a close relative) unless it is a driver. They have public executions at a place called "Chop Chop Square".
Most expats live in a western style compound where you don't have to cover up, it has shops, swimming pools, gyms etc. These compounds have long waiting lists. We have been in Saudi for one year now and just got onto one. We have been living in a Saudi villa. Picture your house surrounded by large walls so you cannot see your neighour and they cannot see you. Saudi's do not interact with others, only their family. I have been extremely lonely and isolated. Me and 2 kids stuck inside all day, we have a small outside area but not really big enough for kids to play. Add onto that the heat (right now daytime temps can get to 50 degrees). There have been a lot of tears. So we are extremely happy to finally get into a more normal living environment. I don't think I could have gone on the way we were. I seriously was considering going to the doctor to get something for depression. Living here can break a person very easily.