The beginning part 3- Make do

Things slowly improved in the villa, we had some cups, a few plates and a couple of pans handed down from people who wanted to help.  Three pads were purchased for the four kids and myself to sleep on.They were thin, made of some type of foam with a cover of material sewn on them. Again, we made do and snuggled up in our mommy and baby world. There were no phones available, no p.o.boxes, so no real communication with the outside world.

The Saudi family that lived downstairs owned the villa. Um Abdullah (mother of Abdullah) her husband, Abu Abdullah (father of Abdullah)  and their four children lived in the home directly under us.  She came up one day to give me some tea and cake. I didn’t speak much Arabic but she welcomed me to this place and gave me a kiss on each cheek, some things transcend language and culture. I was told I could go down to her villa any time to use her phone. But, it occurred to me, who would I call? I didn’t know anyone and could not call my parents long distance, but all the same the offer felt good and was a nice gesture on her part.

She looked at my stomach and asked me if I was pregnant or that is what I surmised from her face and gestures. I shook my head yes and then a twinge of nerves washed over me making me feel sick. I was, as always, very excited for this new baby, but after arriving to this place and these circumstances, I felt unsure and quite ridiculous for leaving the comfort of my home and family. In Seattle I had a wonderful OB who had delivered my 4 babies and who had inquired about religion, culture and anything that might effect me or my birth experience. I thought it would be easy in Saudi and quite similar, maybe even better! Now I had no idea where to find a qualified doctor or a hospital or how I would be able to deliver. All of my idealistic dreams were now blown away in a bubble out in space. But there was no way to turn back after selling the house, saying our goodbyes and agreeing to “give it a try”.

Life drug on for a few days, the heat and jet lag lulled us to sleep and we had nothing in particular to keep us awake.  I pushed to get a stove, a refrigerator, any small improvement would do. I tried to be patient and not arrogant, after all patience is a virtue, right?  I missed my mother and my father and my friends. Each night when he arrived home he brought with him a large brown paper bag, inside was a plastic bag, this was filled with rice and chicken or Mendi.  This is a common rice dish served in various Middle Eastern countries. I inquired about loaf bread, peanut butter, cheese and juice. I was told that now we lived here, in Saudi and we were to forget that old life and eat like the locals. Those other products were more costly and we needed to adjust to life in Saudi Arabia.

Finally a huge addition to the house was added, it was not the stove I had imagined but it was a stove. At that point anything to cook on besides a camp fire would be fine! The stove was yellow and it was electric not gas. This was a plus because I was not used to cooking on a gas stove. It had been purchased at a place that would best be described as a flea market. I tried to whip up some cookie dough with a bowl and spoon even though I did not have the complete list of ingredients I thought, why not try? It was lumpy and dry but I still felt I could make something of it. I turned the oven on 350 and went about my daily chores. Smoke billowed out of the kitchen from the inside of the stove.  I ran to turn it off and decided that baking was out of the question for now. At least it was a stove and surely something could be made on this appliance that would be edible and possibly comforting. I set to making noodles, just plain noodles would be fine and given the ban on the list of products, I felt lucky to have pasta.  The kids were tired of eating rice and chicken and wanted something else, something that reminded them of home, Grama and Grampa, their backyard. I had a pan that someone had given to me and that would do nicely. I put the water in it and started it to boiling, I realized at that point that only two burners were operable, again make do with what you are given. I drained the noodles and stirred in some butter and salt. I felt a tiny buzz when I stirred, I moved my hand quickly and pondered this strange sensation. Hmmm again stirring and a slight zap. I got the noodles off the stove and continued with my preparation.

That night I was told with great irritation that, I was not acting like a woman who loved to create pastries and homemade dishes, what was wrong with me, noodles with salt and butter? Why, no one would imagine I was a lady who loved to experiment with baking and cooking, host dinner parties and prepare special dishes for ailing friends. I explained that the inside of the stove did not work properly and when I stirred food on the stove top it seemed something was shocking me. This was met with a long hard look and a pause, I  then heard the words which would prove to epitomize my life from that point forward, “Well, USE a wooden spoon then!”

Pads we slept on until moving into the compound.

0815152204a

 

166 thoughts on “The beginning part 3- Make do

  1. This is why we live in America Lynn what you describe for Yusaf and Jacki is what it is suppose to be like-they BOTH work hard to provide for each other. “He” lacked in his move to Saudi and took full advantage of putting you through the mill! Sick individual to place his family in such conditions. It was NOT your fault! Cheryl xoxoxoxoxoxo

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love reading your life stories from Saudi Arabia. They are both so unreal, the way you and your children are treated, and yet so real, in the raw truth you speak. Wonderful!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hello my lovely Lynz – I am SO sorry to have been a stranger for so long, and I fear I will never find all your posts that I have not been able to read for one reason or another. If there is any way you could list, these important cultural posts, so that I can at least get back on track with your journey.
    I, as you know, in my own way have had to contend with different ingredients, availability, cooking styles and culture, but NOTHING so drastic as this – what a HUGE culture shock not only for you, but also the children, I did not realise until I read this post the older four, had spent so much time being regular American kids with cookie dough and gramps there to run to, plus having to leave their schools and friends – what a resilient little bunch they must have been – all credit to you once more.
    I also know how isolating not being able to speak the language of the country that you live in feels, but at least French has the same alphabet and I was familiar with some of the language – a lot of English words being of French origin.
    No need for guilt my lovely – how could you have foreseen what was laying in store for you – you did more than your best – you did amazing……
    (I may go off piste again, as my mother is unwell and she has no net access if I must go and stay with her – loads to tell you and will e-mail when I get on steadier ground xxx)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It was tough, Lynz? I think it was unbelievable. As I already said, you’re a martyr, Lynz. You did it exceptionally for a mother with 4 kids amongst foreign people. You don’t have to feel guilty or sad. I love you, Lynz ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Every experience you recount Lynn makes my heart hurt for you…but with this installment, there is a new emotion. Though you mentioned it only briefly, I cannot imagine being so close to giving birth and not knowing if there was a doctor or a hospital you could depend on. When I was expecting my twins, I was living in a small apartment with my two other young children on a peninsula that had only one way to the mainland and the hospital. It was winter and I feared being snowed in when the time came for me to deliver. My husband at the time was deployed to the middle east. My family was in Illinois, far away. I remember the panic I felt at the first snowstorm, looking for help and accepting it from even those I knew I couldn’t totally trust because I was desperate. Of course, my experience is only a fraction of the stress you must have felt. Your stories are gripping…as well as bringing back some of my own long forgotten memories. I am so grateful to have survived…and happy for you too that you are safe now. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  6. No use having regrets, Lynn. Hindsight is easy. You did your best and your reward must be to see how your kids came through. Another great piece of writing. You’re keeping us all on the edge of our seats!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. You are an amazing woman….and my heart aches to know what this ass put your through and how many other women in the world are living under tyranny…..your story is so incredible, the hardship you endured and yet you were always determined to make the best of what he allowed you to have….sweetheart, I would of been downstairs making a collect to call to my mommie and begging to come home…..you never, never cease to amaze me….and he remarried and gave all to another….the only saving grace is she didn’t have to suffer at his hands….but he really is a full blown ass…..muc love my friend..kat.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. When you think of Saudi life you think wealth….you can’t imagine the hardship you have gone through with daily with day to day what we take for granted. I can see why you missed you life in the USA. You showed such strength and courage against adversity that is admirable.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Shocking. Literally shocking -‘use the wooden spoon’. I know what I would like to do with that free-flowing electric current and he wouldn’t sire any more children afterwards. But angry rantings aside. Your children are all with you. They love you. You are their mummy and you are the best mummy in the world. And you will be the best granny too. It’s not about money and things and you prove this with these achingly heart-breaking accounts of your life. Let the writing free you, little bird because no-one deserves to fly in the sweet clear fresh air more than you 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. That is amazing to read. I thought I was rereading and this was the second time: deja-vu? Maybe you posted this before. I was engaged to an Egyptian man and being uncomfortable with the way I was discarded when his friends came over, my inability to know exactly what was being discussed since I don’t speak Arabic, and my “gut instinct” told me move on. Meeting my husband to be by chance definitely helped me make the decision faster.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Lynn, I love that despite being pregnant, sleeping on a mat, kids underfoot and no a/c your first thought when you got the stove was to try and make cookies! Then, when that didn’t work out, you made the most basic of comfort food for your kids- noodles with butter and salt. You are an incredible woman and mother. Love you! (I will probably never pick up a wooden spoon again without thinking of you!) 😘

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are so sweet Jean! I am so glad that you and I have become such good friends! I read this after months of writing it and it made me sick! I felt like what a loser, but listening to you and other friends I feel better! xxx Love you dear Jean!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Cathartic, yes, that was the word I was searching for the other day about your posting about your intolerable past. I can only have the deepest admiration for your tenacity and resilience to not only survive through those days but to come out on the other end even stronger than ever. Much love to you! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow. I mean….from what I’ve read it does not seem part of his culture to neglect his family. You were surrounded with people taking care of their families. His refusal to do so is on him. I wonder if his family is ashamed of how he treated his own children and wife?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well yes you are so right, it is a shame. You must totally provide food, clothing and nice things etc. Spend time. his father used to call him and ask where he was and he lied and said he was at home and in our home when he was away! So, you are so right, not part of arab culture at all!

      Like

        • My older girls who attended arabic school always told me that this was not arab culture! They said that they had seen their classmates and heard them talk and they knew this was not the way arabs were! The dads bought the kids basics and then fun stuff, went on vacations, took an interest, let them go out and have friends etc. My sister is married to a saudi. He carts his daughters all over, waits up at night until 1-2 a.m. to get them from weddings and parties, takes them to turkey, france, does things with them! So yes he is giving his culture a bad name you are right!

          Liked by 1 person

  14. You were a prisoner and did the very best you could to make things as normal and comfortable for your family. There is nothing more you could have done because you were dominated by that man, I don’t understand how he could stand to see his family suffer in deplorable conditions. There was nothing more you could have done and did an amazing job of cushioning this and making a good life for your chldren despite the opposition.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much dearest Suzanne! I hate to say that word but have wanted to many times, prisoners, that is what it felt like. no windows, no phone, no mail, no way to go out, nothing. No food that was not preapproved, no thoughts that were not approved. Yes like being a prisoner. xxxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Dear Lynz, I admire you a lot, as a strong woman, wonderful mother and excellent cook and tutor. I invited you to take part in the 3-Day Quote Challenge, if you have the time to do it. It not, I hope more people will discover your beautiful blog and thus be inspired by you! My best to you! Mihaela

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Lyn I really felt for you at this point. Did you freely agree to move to Saudi? Someone I know said their Saudi husband changed overnight once her family moved to his home country. He slipped right back in to the patriarchal cultural model and she became nothing more than a slave to his bidding. So difficult for a Western woman.

    Liked by 2 people

    • He is Palestinian and then got American citizenship. So he is not even Saudi. He was controlling and got more so each day. I moved freely because he changed and started being very unhappy and screaming etc. this was in the first story I reposted maybe two weeks ago. So I decided to go with him. I agreed but had little choice, 4 small kids and 8 mos. pregnant with no way to support myself.

      Liked by 2 people

          • I have been close to those enduring ‘domestic’ violence Lynn. Please don’t think you have to explain I hope I wasn’t insensitive.
            I don’t like the term, dv, because I feel it somehow diminishes the appalling act it is – violence visited on another no matter if domestic or to otherwise.

            Liked by 2 people

          • There is a new push to address the issue of violence against women in Australia at present. We had a wonderful woman called Rosie Batty who was Australian of the Year in 2015. Her eleven year old son was murdered at a sporting event in front of her and all those attending. She could not have anticipated what he would do. He was shot dead by police at the scene. A terrible event that will haunt her forever but she has turned her grief into a force for good. Sharing your experience will also show others in the same place that you can escape and make a new life.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Thanks!!! I appreciate you sharing that with me. When you are in it, you just don’t see it especially if it is emotional! He was always very “religious” and so I thought he was the best man and so did everyone else. My older children saw through it all and are the ones who told me–NO MORE. It is hard to move forward but I am trying! He might be reading this blog right now, I don’t know but now I cannot stop writing. It was a secret for so long! Thanks Robyn!

            Liked by 1 person

          • I admire your courage Lyn. I hope he is reading this blog. So many of these men who want to redeem themselves feel isolated and unable to ask for help. Thank God for your children. I’m glad you’re safe.

            Liked by 1 person

  17. Of all the feelings you might have, I hope the one at the very top of the list is PROUD! You shoul dbe proud of all you have achieved and how wonderful your children have turned out. Bless you and all of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. As I have said before Lynn, he was and is a psychopath and you did much more, than anyone could expect you to do. You taught your kids to live without materialism and to appreciate each other and love their family. This might help them for the rest of their lives to know, that is possible to survive, no matter what.
    Love and hugs to you, dear Lynn

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much for reading! It is a task and I guess this is the year for me to face things and unravel how and why! It isn’t easy and I put it off trying to put a band aid over it each time, hoping things would change and now hoping he stays away! But I guess I have to face up to it and try to move on!! Thanks xxx

      Liked by 1 person

        • I never even knew I believed those things, I said to myself no I know that is not true! But of course I did believe it and until this year after he left, I tried to move forward and forget it all. so yes it will take time you are right! I was fighting this and believing no more sadness, don’t feel sorry for yourself, just move on, but those thoughts are powerful and you can’t run away and “just move on” I guess! Thanks so much xxxx

          Liked by 1 person

          • You remind me a lot of my mom actually. And despite being treated poorly for decades, she felt comfortable with him, she knew him, the good, the bad and everything in between. It is hard to let go. Don’t be hard yourself Lynn. Things take time. And just because he was rotten doesn’t remove the fact that you spent years together. It is hard to let go. Love and hugs. 💖

            Liked by 2 people

          • Those are harder to remove. The fear should dissipate with time. I am sure you have noticed or realized that you don’t have to look over your shoulder to see what he will say next because he is not there and the relief that follows. I think everyone should read your story because like you have said, it is insidious. And you have such a way with words Lynn. You are a talented writer, one that has the ability to communicate and infect your readers.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I now don’t look over my shoulder phew, the kids and I can speak, breathe, laugh! I seem to have some left over anxiety so I am working on that. It all seems ridiculous now, but as soon as he came last time, it was all back, tip toeing around, worrying, etc. So yes it is insidious! Thank you so much!

            Liked by 1 person

  19. Did he provide wooden spoons? He seemed to have an answer for everything but in reality He was the problem. Not sure how you managed not to throw a pot of boiling hot water or grease on him during those long 30 years lol

    Liked by 2 people

    • It was rough and looking back at this story brought tears! When I wrote it and posted it I didn’t see how bad it was! In an old story that I will repost, I cut all of my hair off in my despair and frustration! xxx

      Like

  20. You put so much into perspective Lynz. We could all do with taking a leaf out of your book for sure and then maybe there would be a little more patience in this world, a little more understanding. If you can put up with a man like that and conditions like those, then we can surely all cope with our daily challenges.
    You are simply amazing Lynz. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  21. This is just so sad. He treated you and the kids almost like prisoners. Actually, prisoners in the U.S. have it better. I’m glad other people helped you out. Can’t imagine moving to a foreign country while pregnant…you are so, so brave.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I am so glad you are sharing the beginning with us, but at the same time it makes me so sad! There is nothing wrong with pasta, right? I am sure you were thrilled to have something warm and comforting. I feel for what you went through.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. OMG Lynn! Somehow I missed this the first time around!!! Your bravery continues to inspire me, and I know that the scars take time to heal. They.Take. Time. But I know you are strong enough to let them heal. You did the absolute BEST you could with what you were given. What was your intention? To provide love and nourishment. You can only know your intention – and I sincerely hope – you can have some satisfaction and comfort with that. Hugs and love to you! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s