May 12, 2013

Neighbors Socializing and Summer events

Here is a little back story on today's 'Phenomenon'. In Saudi Arabia, things are a bit different in the neighborhood kids playing field. Since all the homes here have high walls with yards closed in, there is little to no interaction with the neighbors  I lived in my FIL's house for 8 years, and never once met the neighbors  I have lived in my house here for nearly 2 years, and only made a connection with one of my neighbors after our husbands met. Children barely interact with other children. The high walls make it nearly impossible for neighborhood kids to meet, and play together in a traditional sense. Anyway now on to my story:

So I am cooking in the kitchen like the awesome (rolling eyes) Domestic Diva I am, and then suddenly I hear my children talking to someone. I turn down my music, and listen to them. The conversation was going like this:

Lujain: Hi
Neighbor Kid (NK): Hi, where are you?
Lujain: I am here, Are you really a kid?
Neighbor Kid: I am M.H, what is your name?
Mansour: I am Mansour
Lujain: I am Lujain, and this is my baby brother Abdullah, are you sure you are a little kid?
Neibor kid: Na3am (meaning yes)
Lujain, I am in KG2, and I have PE tomorrow.
Neighbour Kid: I am watching Mickey Mouse and eating a banana...

Excuse the dusty ground... we have construction going on, and well.. nothing ever stays clean in Beautiful and Glamourous Rio De Najdero~

The conversation went on for about 30 minutes, and all this was going on over the wall, Abdullah my youngest even got into the conversation. I had to call my friend MR to share this amazing site! My kids were standing on our side of the wall, and the neighbor kid was standing on his side. They were completely and utterly mesmerized with it all. They were so excited to have other kids to interact with. Such an adorable little moment. The conversation took many different adorable turns. The kid would go between speaking in English and Arabic, and I just went on with my cooking while they were in complete awe of what was happening. So my kids have asked me to bake cupcakes sometime soon, so they can walk it over to the little kid. Here is hoping that this is the start of a new friendship. It would be great to have play dates with neighbors and not have to wait around for driver issues to be resolved for play dates with kids on the other side of Riyadh.

Anyone have plans for the summer? Will you be travelling? Staying put? Activities for kids? I will probably be suffering the heat within the GCC this summer. Short 'Sanity" trips out of Riyadh, but mainly staying put.

If anyone is interested a good friend is starting up some workshops for kids this summer, so feel free to contact her ASAP. It is on a first come first serve basis... and why not let your kids enjoy their summer and still learn in a super fun environment!

May 5, 2013

A Post that is as random as what really goes on in my head...

It is that time again, when most people will leave the scorching Saudi heat, and make their way to more pleasant locations, where they can relax, and be themselves among strangers. Ramadan this year hits us right in July, making a full summer away nearly impossible, because lets face it no matter how hot it is, there is no place like Saudi to spend Ramadan. Where the entire nation will switch over to barely working and lazy during the day, and up and bustling all night long. Taraweeh and qiyam prayers calling out from the many masjeds spread around our lovely city. In contrast many televisions through out the region will be set to the Ramadan musalsalat- there will be Khaleeji, Turkihs, Shami, Masri, Indian or whatever tickles your fancy to keep you occupied while you stay up till Fajr. Well that is the case in many homes. In my home, the kids will not sleep at 7:30-8pm as is custumary during the school year, but will probably stay up till 10, for my sanity, and so that I won't have them up and running around at 6am when I am trying to get some shut eye. Yup, thats me being a Selfish momy- Sue me!

So yeah summer heat is on its way, I have no idea where I will be travelling to. The in-laws will be going to their usual spot in La Jolla/San Diego. And this will be my very first summer where I won't be pregnant, pushing a baby out, or breastfeeding! Its been 6 1/2 years! And this summer, I have vowed (huge fail) to be back in my pre baby clothing, to go and get myself a drastic haircut. FINALLY get my teeth whitened, and maybe even do LASIK or whatever eye surgery will work to make me 'not blind as a bat'. Maybe while doing all that, I will finally learn to bake a pie!

Lastly, would like to give a blog shout out to some of the sweet ladies here in Riyadh that I got together with on Thursday, it was wonderful finally catching up with the ladies (Mandi, Nicole, and Laylah, and welcoming in a new face to the group - Mama B.

I FINALLY found a (nearly) OMG burger!

A New Gelato place opening up on Tahlia... looks delicious!
They actually supply these carts full of deliciousness for events!

Light at the end of the tunnel?

May 4, 2013

An unfortunate incident...

Jay walking: Walking across a street outside of marked cross-walks and not at a corner, and/or against a signal light (Wikipedia). In many countries it is a crime, in which one will get fined.

Yesterday, my husband and I decided to take my daughter to the equestrian club for some horse riding lessons (sadly, they are closed on Fridays, so we had to head back to the city right away). Anyways, as we were driving down Dammam Road, and then went off on Thumamah road, we were driving through an area where there is the Camel Market- my children love it, and love to point out the many different types of camels they see, It is set up in a way that the camel feed is on one side of the road, and the camels are on the other side in one particular area, thus forcing the workers to run back and forth between the highway to get things they may need on this at times very busy road/highway.

 I have always had this immense fear of hitting someone while they are crossing the street, because at times it looks like they may be playing a game of chicken where they dash in front of cars at the very last minute and you must remember some of these cars are going dangerously fast. Yesterday, something really awful happened, kind of like a nightmare come true. As we were driving, we noticed a guy was hit by a car, and his body was quickly grabbed by two other workers to clear him off the road and the incoming traffic. As we drove by,The man was a big man, tall and big built, I saw the mans face, his eyes were closed, his full beard looked freshly trimmed perhaps from his Friday rituals before going to Friday prayer.I keep seeing his face in front of me. I am not sure what happened to him, as my husband (rightfully) did not want to stop, as many other cars had halted to a stop, and made it nearly impossible for the man to get the much needed help he would need. When we were driving back about 20 minutes later, the spot was filled with several police, traffic police, and ambulances. The crowd was immense, and groups were huddled together with sorrowful eyes. I pray that the man survived.

This is on the drive back, there were more people eon the other side of the road, and towards the left of this picture.

Sadly, I think the roads here are made in a manner where people are forced to jaywalk. There will be times when there is no crossing for miles at a time. Making it next to impossible Not to put your life at risk in such a manner. Even drivers have issues where if they miss an exit, it can take a long drive to find a place to return from. With all these road projects going on around out city, one woould have thought things like this would be looked into. Anyway, I do sincerely hope the man survived this accident, and sending prayers to his family. Allah Yshfee. Allah yr7amo. Not sure which one to use here :/

May 1, 2013

I did the unthinkable today!

This morning my daughters school had an open house for us mothers. Our children were going to present their years work in a portfolio for us to look over and discuss. I was extremely proud of how far my daughter came this year. She can now pretty much read- albeit slowly. She can do additions, and subtractions, and she has learnt some Arabic  as well as geography, and other subjects. I can't believe the year is nearly over, and that my baby girl is graduating from Kinder-garden and entering the world of Grade School- No more alphabets,  just numbers. No more preschool! I am super proud. Her graduation will be on May 15th, and I will witness my daughter graduate, wearing a cap and gown. I will have to keep tissue at hand, and enshallah this will be one more happy moment among many to come.

So let me go to my unthinkable act today. My daughters even was done at 10:`15, I was there from 9am. When I called my husband he told me he could not come to me till 12:30 pm! 2 hours and 15 minutes sitting around doing nothing with all 3 kids in tow. I thought for a second, went to the doorman and asked him where I could get a taxi, he told me the nearest place was near the Masjid. So since it is deemed unsafe for me to drive in this country, I was forced to take my 3 children into the street and walk. I really didn't mind the walk, the weather was beautiful, and the kids were really out of their element. They kept asking me 'Mama, what are we doing?", and I just replied we are taking a Taxi to the mall, as I did not have the key for our outer gate at home with me, and was locked out. After about 10 minutes we got to the main road, and a taxi stopped for us immediately. We jumped in the taxi, and were on our way to the mall. One thing that caught me off guard was the complete and utter laziness of the driver. Do Taxi driver here not get out of the car to help? He watched me struggle with the stroller with my 1 1/2 year old in hand, and didn't blink an eye- I kept muttering under my breath, that of course this was much safer then driving my own car- but I did not want to ruin my mood, and just kept my mouth shut and focused on getting to the mall. Once I handed the driver the money we got off, again with no help. He handed my daughter the change, and amazingly enough I later noticed HE tipped himself. He did not help me with the stroller, did not help me with anything, and he took the liberty of tipping himself. The nerve! So essentially he stole from me, will keep it on his tab till Yom el Qiyama (Day of judgement). Nope, not forgiving him!

Anyway, that was my unexpected event of the day, my husband was not happy, because he noted that it was unsafe to walk in the streets of Riyadh alone. He did not like the idea that I took the kids on a Taxi that I took off the street. So yeah, I am to only stick with London Taxi, or wait for him to drive me around when he is available. The question of the day, why not just get a driver? I still have yet to hear a good answer. We can easily afford it, we already have a place for him on our property, he would allow me to move around more freely, and he would be able to stop complaining about my forcing him to be my 'driver'. I did not chose this, I am living in the last country in the world that a drivers licence is void unless one has a Penis (I said it, sue me!!).

So yeah, this is to hoping that soon enough I will be allowed to make use of the card I hold in my wallet at all times. That one day, I may actually be able to have a life that does not require begging any one to take me places. This is to Saudi dreaming... raising my glass of Saudi Champagne!

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