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The hardest life

Life continued to move along and things stayed pretty much the same in the new compound. It was October and I was now 4 months pregnant with my 6th child, temperatures were dipping down to the mid 90’s but humidity was still high. Morning sickness was starting to wane and the second trimester was getting easier, not yet a heavy belly to weigh me down. The boys had been in school for a month and things seemed to be going along well without any of the issues we had faced in Riyadh.  It was time to send See See to first grade, she was 6. I started searching for a school, but after what we had faced at the previous schools I was guarded. My daily routine stayed the same as it had for years, cleaning, cooking and child care. The “dream” life I had imagined was now unfolding before me. My children were in a good school, having fun as children should, we lived in a home that I would never have imagined possible and I was expecting my 6th child.

I met two very lovely ladies who I became close to during the Al-Khobar chapter of our lives. One lady, Guadalupe, she was originally from Mexico but had married a man from the Netherlands. We spent hours at the little park watching our children play while we exchanged stories of our lives back home and marrying into a culture that was foreign to us. She was warm and generous with her friendship. The other lady is someone I would be friends with for the years to come. Her name was Gloria, she was ten years my senior and we connected automatically. She had children who had moved away from home many years before and was now a proud grandmother.  After the first experience with delivery I was in somewhat of a pleasant denial about going to the doctor until my dear friend Gloria actually intervened and made a birth plan during my 8th month. There was a nurse from Canada who lived on the compound and another older lady Virginia, from the U.S. These beautiful  ladies approached me and finally insisted on an answer about my doctor, how I would get to the hospital and who would watch the kids. I had no answer and stared blankly as they then talked with each other and worked on the details of my upcoming birth. They were good friends who knew nothing of our life before the compound or the realities of  living “outside”.  Although I had been raised in a nice home with everything I wanted, some how now I did not fit into compound life. I tried to be friendly and go along but complaints about the normal yet trivial things in life, seemed ridiculous and frivolous.

His job was in Dharahan one of three cities that make up this part of the Eastern province. The first month went well as he reaped the benefits of his U.S. passport and had better pay than any of his relatives would ever imagine. In Saudi Arabia people are paid based on the passport they hold. Being from a Western country means having the highest pay scale, your qualifications are of little importance if you are not holding this type of passport.  After a month I saw a pattern I had tried to deny for many years, it started with mild observations about other people’s jobs and their preferential treatment in regards to benefits, hours and of course, salary. It then turned to a conversation about his supervisor and how he constantly gave him projects that no one else would take. This then lead into the insinuation that some how I could help but was not willing to. I had spent years correcting his memos, editing reports and making my weekly sweet trays for each office he worked in. I had done what I could while juggling family responsibilities but some how I was told  there was something I was selfishly holding back.  He offered suggestions regarding my usefulness in regards to his job, If only I would network with these women whose husbands had high positions surely this would help. If I could speak to my friend Gloria, her husband was a manager and had worked for this company for many years. I valued our friendship, a real friend who truly cared about me, I smiled at him and nodded and then put it out of my mind.

He came home from work one day excited with the news of his new position within the company. He would be moving back to Riyadh after only a few months of living in Al-Khobar. The job would not pay more but he would be leaving the current supervisor who he was having trouble with.  He had once again returned to being optimistic and happy and the move was set. I looked at my children and thought of the horrible conditions we had faced in the schools in Riyadh, and decided we would stay put until school was finished for the year.This made little sense to him and he repeated the words I had heard so many times before, “I want you to have the hardest life so you will appreciate anything you are lucky enough to get.”

203 Comments Post a comment
  1. What a disturbing ending. The thoughts of him actually saying that to you make me shudder. I can’t undertasnd hiom expecting you to do so much for his work – on top of coping with the children, the pregnancy, cooking and household jobs, and so on… He must have been such a selfish and self-centred man.

    Liked by 4 people

    October 3, 2015
  2. The end of this left me speechless! I am not a violent person but I felt an instant desire to pop him in the nose 😡

    Liked by 4 people

    October 3, 2015
  3. Goodness me, he really expected you to suffer, and why? Must have been so tough for you Lynz however did you cope?

    Liked by 3 people

    October 4, 2015
  4. There is something to the saying that misery loves company. If others are happy and he is not, then something is wrong.

    Liked by 3 people

    October 4, 2015
    • hmm that is true, I never thought of it that way!

      Like

      October 4, 2015
      • Your husband was a self centered son of a gun, Lyn. I do not think we always need to suffer to get what we deserve. This was an eye opener, Lyn.

        Liked by 1 person

        October 29, 2015
    • you just gave me a real lightbulb moment! every happy time we have such as graduation, party, he ruins! It seemed so strange to me, so glad you commented!

      Like

      October 4, 2015
      • I am sorry to say that some people cannot be happy if others are happy and they are not. They usually feel like they are owed something.

        Liked by 3 people

        October 4, 2015
        • he came for my daughter’s college graduation although he had not spoken to her for months, showed no interest in the kids for months, but then he just shows up for a month!! he used to say no way can he take that time off, he made things awful and uncomfortable and my own parents were worried to come! It was not fun, but was meant to be such a joyous occasion. you make a very sad and good point! thanks!

          Liked by 1 person

          October 4, 2015
  5. Even though I know how harsh your husband was from reading your previous posts, his statement at the end of this story is so sobering and leaves me wondering how you ever survived.

    Liked by 3 people

    October 4, 2015
    • At the time it didn’t seem bad until the very end. I became rebellious and just could not stand it any more and that is when the big trouble started. Thanks for reading!

      Like

      October 4, 2015
  6. I’ll be spending hours exploring your blog. I lived many years in the Middle East, but had the good fortune not to marry a man from there. Sadly, your story is one I know from friends who did.

    Liked by 3 people

    October 5, 2015
    • Wow where did you live?

      Liked by 1 person

      October 6, 2015
      • Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon in the 1970s and 1980s. My heart breaks now for Syria. Our first daughter was born there.

        Liked by 2 people

        October 6, 2015
        • wow!! Really? what took you there is I can ask? My in laws are all still in Damascus, it is heart breaking. I have posted pics. of syria

          Liked by 1 person

          October 6, 2015
      • I did my masters degree at the University of Cairo. That got me started. And then married an Aussie diplomat. But before going to Cairo I’d dated a Palestinian for seven years.

        Liked by 2 people

        October 6, 2015
      • I dated the Palestinian, but didn’t marry him. Married an Australian instead. But many friends in Cairo married Saudis and other Arabs and some of their stories are similar to yours. You tell yours so well. I hear the matter-of-factness in your written voice because that’a how you lived it at the time. So glad you’ve been able to break free. You deserve it.

        Liked by 1 person

        October 6, 2015
        • thanks so much! well, I was an emotional, chatty, loving person, but was told, no showing emotions, no sign of love for him etc. so I became blank with him! but my kids and I shared fun, laughter and caring!

          Liked by 1 person

          October 6, 2015
      • So glad you had your children to surround you with love and life.

        Liked by 1 person

        October 6, 2015
  7. I dare not say too much the last sentences cut like a knife!

    Liked by 3 people

    October 6, 2015
  8. Thanks for following my blog. Look forward to more from you.

    Liked by 3 people

    October 7, 2015
  9. Lynn, He certainly got his wish, didn’t he? I’ll bet you appreciate your life without him more than you’d ever imagined when you were his wife. The family photo was so heartwarming – to see you surrounded by those beautiful children lifts my spirits for you. I’m going to make a grilled cheese to reward myself for finally posting today. Clare

    Liked by 3 people

    October 10, 2015
  10. Totally different situation, and even “easy” compared to what you have been through, but The One here must have studied by the same book yours did 😦 I guess bad and ill-formed people are just bad , regardless of religion,nationality or upbringing. They just should not be equipped with such deceiving and manipulative qualities as they do, and we need better radar 🙂
    Big Turtle Hugs and Thank You for writing

    Liked by 3 people

    October 11, 2015
  11. Anonymous #

    Wow. How sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 15, 2015
  12. I am speechless, and also in admiration of your strength. Like so many have already expressed, the ending was jaw dropping.

    Liked by 3 people

    October 16, 2015
    • Thank you for reading! My other memoirs are at the top of the page if you ever have time or interest to read. It has been a long journey and the friends I have met here have helped me to start telling my story! thank you so much for adding me and reading!! your blog is truly lovely! I look forward to reading and seeing your posts!

      Liked by 1 person

      October 16, 2015

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