Status Post Four Months – 10 Things I’ve Learned While in Saudi Arabia

 

My four-month anniversary has come and gone. I was going to forego this months Things I’ve Learned post and do a combined four & five month post (the sole reason being I was just lazy,) but it seems a four-month status update is called for. Lots of questions and issues pending and hanging around unanswered, so I will try to address all that has been put out there.

1)  I have learned that a lot of my non-blogging friends/family do not read my blog. Ha!

My initial intention in starting this blog was to keep my family and friends updated on my little adventure when I relocated to Saudi Arabia. It just made sense and seemed logical to update in one place. But I want to tell you my non-reading friends/family that you do not need to keep up here because I have learned that I didn’t really start this blog for you, I started it for myself. Through this blog I’ve seen how much I’ve grown – as a blogger and as an individual. My blog grows as I do. I love seeing it grow stronger and more adventurous and more confident. Because that means that is where my personal growth is occurring as well. So I really do not mind if you only check in every so often or on certain posts – I’m cool with that.

And I must add a  disclaimer: I know who you are and I know you are there my little devotees who follow every post and every word!

2) I have learned to do all my shopping (malls included) & errands after midnight during the month of Ramadan.
3) And I have learned that not everything HAS to be done NOW or that my local grocery store needs to be open 24-Hours

Lots of questions about this. For Muslims around the world today is the start of Eid al Fitr, which is the celebration and feasting after the fasting during the entire holy month of Ramadan. I or any ex-pat in Saudi Arabia were not forced to fast. We were not forced to fast at work or within our compounds. We simply had to be discreet if out in public while the sun was out. But the thing is, not too many folks, ex-pats or locals, were out and about during day light hours. During the month of Ramadan in Saudi Arabia day turns into night and night turns into day. Nothing, I mean nothing, was open during the day except essential businesses (i.e. hospitals).  But things would come to life after the sun was down. Hence me doing shopping & errands after midnight.

And now for an entire week there will be feasting and celebrating and good old Saudi fun. There definitely will be a lot of sweets & coffee to be had…

Arabic coffee & dates
Arabic coffee & dates
Arabic sweets
Arabic sweets
4) I have learned that people want the small details – That is what makes things interesting.

I do wear an abaya, essentially a black cloak, when out-an-about in general public. I do not wear a head covering. I wear normal scrubs at work with no head covering. Outside of city-limits I do not wear an abaya, I do not wear an abaya when hiking in the desert, or when I work-out.

Hiking in the Saudi Arabian desert
Hiking in the Saudi Arabian desert
Shopping for plants
Shopping for plants
Not posing at the mall
Not posing at the mall
 Nurses out-and-about in The Kingdom
Nurses out-and-about in The Kingdom
At the gym
At the gym
5) I have learned that ALL the people in your life come into it for a reason

Some come into your life to teach you something , and some have big-bang-whammys for you and some small but profound lessons. Some people come into your life to show you how far you’ve come. Some come into your life to show you what you do not want and some show you how much farther you have to go. Some stay in your life for a long time. Some are just passing through. And some need to be released for they and/or you have learned the lessons needed and there is nothing left to learn except to move on.

6) I have learned that jumping robe is not kids play. It’s almost as difficult as training on stairs.
7) I have learned I am my own best entertainment. Sometimes I write things and crack myself up and then I go back and re-read it and I crack up even more.
8) I have learned to speak some Arabic.
9) I have learned to take care of fresh post-operative heart transplant patients.
10) And I have learned James Bond is coming soon… and I can not wait!

30 Comments »

    • Pee from laughing or just like pee?? What’s your Bondgirl name? Pee-Pee Face?? Haha! I bet YOU also crack yourself up and you too go back and read what you wrote to only laugh even harder. I KNOW you do!! LOL, six years….

    • Thanks, UB! I love 5 too – it’s a great perspective to have especially during those times you’re looking at someone and thinking “What the…”. There is ALWAYS some lesson to be had! And yes, haha, I’m happy as well that I can shed the abaya in the desert!! Can you imagine! 🙂

  1. I think you are learning one extremely valuable lesson — how to fit into a culture that is so different from what was once the norm. Something like that has to expand you in more ways than you could count. I am so glad it’s turned out to be such a good experience for you, but then you pretty much make it so.

  2. I love reading about the 10 things you’ve learned. And what you wrote in #1 really resonates with me: “But I want to tell you my non-reading friends/family that you do not need to keep up here because I have learned that I didn’t really start this blog for you, I started it for myself. Through this blog I’ve seen how much I’ve grown – as a blogger and as an individual. My blog grows as I do. I love seeing it grow stronger and more adventurous and more confident. Because that means that is where my personal growth is occurring as well.”

    DITTO!! I feel this way about my own blog…. I agree wholeheartedly… 🙂

    • We’re practically neighbors, aren’t we? (When you go back to work.) I’m fairly new to the region and still working my way to the neighboring countries – hope to hit yours as well! I just finished reading your posts on Jordan – I can NOT wait to visit there as well. Hah! So MANY places on my list!! Isn’t it interesting how we start something, our blogs for instance, for one reason but it turns into something totally different? That’s what makes life so interesting. I’m glad you like my post, I think we are having a lot of the same experiences, especially living/working where we are. I look forward to seeing more of the places you’ve been to AND are going to!

  3. Yes Tahira, we are practically neighbors! You should definitely visit Oman. There’s a lot to see and do, so I think you would really enjoy it. And Jordan was amazing!! I’ll look forward to following your adventures in this part of the world. I love it, always encountering and learning something new! Good luck in your new adventure. Let me know if you come in the direction of Nizwa!

  4. I lived in Kuwait many years ago, working at a school there….your post has brought back memories of shopping during Ramadan in the open market after midnight. I can still feel the night air full of warmth, recall the quiet murmering of shoppers, and see the varied and colorfull wares. I was preparing to return to the U.S. and I purchased some small gifts for my family.

    Thanks for reviving these memories. Love your post!

    • Thanks, Jo. And yes, I bring my multi-talents of nursing internationally across all borders 😉 And exactly, who knew – I never ever thought this is where nursing would take me. Life is like that sometimes though, eh.

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