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The smell of cinnamon toast light as the butter wafted through the air. I pulled the downy comforter over my shoulders and drifted back to sleep, folding my body into the warmth of home. The room was wrapped in a fragrant bouquet of lavender and Iris, blooming just beyond my reach. Grama Elva stood hanging the wash out to dry, picking clothes pins from her neatly pressed apron pockets, her silver hair arranged in swirls high on her head. A single cloud puffed past a pristine Idaho sky as if to call me back once again.

I peered out of one eye forcing myself to fight jet lag and exhaustion and to face what had now become our new reality. The same rancid smell of fumigation and dead cockroaches greeted me and my mind raced to the night before. I struggled to turn on my side, scooting little Foof away from me and onto a vacant piece of blanket. I moved my hands into a paw like position that would enable me to sit and balance my pregnant belly. Bits and pieces of the night before drifted back, the crunch underfoot, hundreds of dead cockroaches in the parking area, the gaping holes in each room next to single brown plastic windows, but mostly the lack of furniture and basic necessities that had been implied. I slowly stood and straightened out my body, daring to survey what was now our new home. I roamed around the villa in the light of day hoping that I had not seen things clearly upon arrival and that my view had been obstructed by unrealistic dreams of a new and different life. Every line on the walls, each crack through the plywood but more importantly a lack of clean water and food stood glaringly before me.

Tape lay strewn on the black carpet along with shreds of paper towel that had been used as wrapping for odds and ends that had been tucked away into boxes. A large piece of plywood was loosely positioned over a gaping hole, secured with nails where an air conditioner would be placed, but was not.  Light streamed through the cracks that lead to the outside world and a forbidden street plagued with danger. I walked a few steps to loosen up my legs and feet, patterns and blotches from the rough carpeting stung my arms and legs.

The walls were painted a dull beige, specks of brown and darker hues of tan made a dotted pattern over the entire room. Faint lines eerily traced the walls where chairs, couches and an entertainment center had once stood. It signaled a strange surreal atmosphere and highlighted the desperate circumstances in which we now lived. A family much like ours had once walked through these rooms, children sat working on homework and parents watched evening t.v., end tables and possibly a hutch were outlined on the opposite end of the room. Now only 4 small beings lay on the brown blanket that was thrown into one of the boxes at the last minute, a silly notion that such basic necessities might not be provided.

I wandered through the villa looking for any sign that this place was meant for habitation, but not a chair, bed or table were to be found. The kitchen door hung open exposing an empty space tiled in pink, grout stained and smudged. The same brown plastic window and gaping hole held their place high in the corner next to a water heater. At the end of the room stood the only furnishings in the kitchen, a sink surrounded by a counter top. I looked around for any food, water or signs of a real home fit for a family of 6.  A single plastic sack sat on the kitchen counter, inside were 4 small bottles of water and a tiny container of melted mango ice cream.

 

These are pictures that I shared with you back in the beginning of the blog. I was ashamed to show our true living conditions and so I cropped the pictures and showed only parts. Now I am stronger and can share the whole pictures with you.

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Osama and his baby brother

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Our sleeping pads and my first child born in Saudi. Three pads were finally purchased for myself and 5 children.

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Osama goofing around standing on a chair by the counter. The brown window is the type that each room had.

 

133 Comments Post a comment
  1. Your imagery is so real – I can just picture the place and your disappointment. I love your stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 25, 2016
  2. Your writing just keeps getting better and better, friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 25, 2016
    • Thanks so much Jasmine. I put allot of pressure on myself to write and that did not work out. So, now just writing when I feel I can xxx

      Liked by 3 people

      October 25, 2016
      • That’s the best way to do it. I am not writing nearly as much as you do but sometimes I find that I am more creative if I take breathers from time to time!

        Liked by 1 person

        October 25, 2016
  3. Horrible, just horrible. But your descriptive writing is spot on.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 25, 2016
  4. Waking up into a nightmare….

    Liked by 1 person

    October 25, 2016
  5. You took us there, Lynn. Such effective writing. Wow.

    Liked by 2 people

    October 25, 2016
  6. The worst thing about all this is that it is not imagery it is sadly all too true!

    Liked by 2 people

    October 25, 2016
  7. You are writing so good, dear Lynn 🙂
    I really hope, that you will feel much better, when you get all this out by writing about it.
    He was nothing and acted like a monster to you for such long time.
    Remember that you are free, even I know not at the paper. You are in safety in your country and no one can take your kids away from you. Your gold.
    Love & Hugs for you ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    October 25, 2016
    • Thanks so much my dear Irene! Your words touch me and help me a great deal. I know you understand xoxo I am turning a corner I hope. Erika has been writing me and I feel I am rounding a new corner or I hope. I will write more openly and share. Yes I have to say I do forget Irene, every day I wait in fear, each moment seems to be full of fear and worry. So, I guess I have to just face that and also tell myself I am safe.I also have been denying my feelings of sadness and anger and trying to deny how I feel. So I will just feel it and hope it will then leave me alone haha.
      Love to you and tons of hugs. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      October 25, 2016
      • You are doing so good, Lynn. When you feel scared in the situation, try to ask yourself, what is the worst, as could happen right now? Often you will see, that it is the fear itself, because you know, when you see it this way.

        Liked by 2 people

        October 25, 2016
  8. So, how long did it take you to obtain furniture? Ready for the next installment.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 25, 2016
    • We got a refrigerator after maybe 2 weeks and then a stove that barely worked and shocked me.He got them on the street or a swap meet. We got pads to sleep on after maybe a few days and used them for the next 18 months. He also purchased some pads to sit on the floor like a couch after a few months. He bought a couple of plastic outdoor chairs which helped allot as I was 8 months pregnant

      Liked by 3 people

      October 25, 2016
      • Another question? Do you mind? Why were you dressed in the traditional dress when others in the photos (in the compound) are dressed in more modern clothing? Did you husband demand it?

        Liked by 2 people

        October 25, 2016
        • No frills were allowed and even ladies made fun of me for dressing in that way. They wore skirts colorful scarves. In the home no make up frills or femininty allowed. So I guarded myself carefully, no male friends or anything that crossed any line. Ask freely xx

          Liked by 1 person

          October 25, 2016
          • You met him in the States, right? Did you have any indication before you married him that he would be this strict and traditional or did he change once you moved to Saudi Arabia? Did you fee he was right or just go along with his rules because you thought you had no recourse? I know you took your children out of schools where they were abused, so know you stood up for them. What would have happened if you had stood up for yourself in the same way? I am not questioning your choices or asking you to defend yourself, understand. It is just such a fascinating story that I will keep asking questions until you tell me to STOP!!!!

            Liked by 2 people

            October 25, 2016
          • I met him in the states he was my sister’s neighbor. He was not into religion and was so so so so sweet. He was dream man, too good to be true. We ran off after a year and got secretly married. He was so nice and so supportive. Shortly after he moved to a new location and became” religious” and pressured me to switch and after months of pressure I did. Things slowly got worst and I kept trying to figure out how or why did he change and decided it was me that I did something wrong. The process erodes away your self and you then cling to them and see also that there is a reason to fear. He used religion to keep me in place and told me a woman is to be obedient. For me I was totally brainwashed and also worried. He did things that were scary and said things as well. He would just start screaming and yelling and in Saudi you have no way out. No shelters, no rights and nothing. His family lived in Syria so we never saw them much at all either. It is a slow insidious process that robs you of your self worth and soon you are under total control. Also you want to keep your kids safe. I stood up for my kids daily and felt they did not bargain for this mess but I had to take the anger and punishment so they did not have to. Still he was hard on them as well. The other thing is that yes when I left he threatened my life and has made things miserable! So, he made good on his promises to try to destroy me

            Liked by 1 person

            October 25, 2016
          • How many years after you married did you move from the states to Saudi Arabia and did he change after you moved there or before? Sorry… last questions for awhile.

            Liked by 2 people

            October 25, 2016
          • No problem any questions xx We met in 82, married 83, went to Saudi in 93. He changed but not drastically. We didn’t have much furniture in the states and he started getting difficult after I had 2 kids. Started screaming out of the blue, it was scary! More controlling slowly. Then in Saudi I thought he would go back to who he was and be happy, instead it just got worst and worst. There were better times and we moved to a compound which was wonderful. I would say just slow changes and ideas about people not being trustworthy, my parents not loving me that much, etc. In the end he yelled in public, swore and threatened to kick me out. He made trouble at each job and everywhere we lived so we got kicked out! It was slow over 30 years! When I stood up for me in any way it was bad, he flew into a rage. So I learned to be careful and protect my kids only.

            Liked by 1 person

            October 25, 2016
          • Thirty years is a long time to put up with these feelings. It is hard not to feel partially at blame when someone is so angry and unreasonable, I know. Good for you for building a wonderful and peaceful new life with your children and grandchildren. You are a strong lady.

            Liked by 2 people

            October 25, 2016
          • Thanks so much. We are still legally married and he came last about 15 months ago which seems to have triggered this anxiety and mess for me.

            Liked by 2 people

            October 25, 2016
          • But he has another wife in Saudi Arabia, correct? Which takes some of the pressure off you, I would imagine. How easy would it be for you to divorce him now that the kids are all grown?

            Liked by 2 people

            October 25, 2016
          • She left him 3 years ago! That is when things got worst. He is Palestinian and american citizenship. He is not a resident of my state and hard to serve papers. He might not have to pay anything in support and might make trouble. So for now just waiting for the youngest child to get older.

            Liked by 1 person

            October 25, 2016
          • Well, I wish you peace and safety. And I’m sure I’ll have more questions in the future since you are so generous in sharing your life as well as your recipes.

            Liked by 1 person

            October 25, 2016
          • Thanks for caring x

            Like

            October 26, 2016
  9. Oh my friend re-writing still displays despicable conditions of which you endured and the children as well. I am sure it is not easy to recollect these early days much less write about them. It is all part of the real life story, your story. Continue to write Lynn as you can. xoxoxo b-2

    Liked by 2 people

    October 25, 2016
  10. love your writing….it must feel good to get it out, leave it on paper….your really one of the most special woman I know…..the love of your children is testament to how much love you gave them as they were being raised in what most off us would consider uninhabitable….however no matter how bleak, you made the best of what was put in your path….me, I would of ran screaming to the nearest airport, speed dialing my momma all the way….I realize this was not a choice you had…..you really are a strong woman, mother, friend and all around super hero!!!! love ya sister….kat

    Liked by 2 people

    October 25, 2016
  11. It’s got to be painful looking back, Lynn.
    Leslie

    Liked by 1 person

    October 25, 2016
  12. This looks like a disgusting nightmare but the way you presented the virtual picture of it, I could feel tiding with you. Another piece of brilliant writing, Lynz. 😀

    Like

    October 25, 2016
  13. Horrible conditions – amazing writing! I am thankful you are out of there and where you are today Lynn.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 25, 2016
  14. Living under these conditions must have been so challenging for you Lynn. You may somehow feel shame when you look at these photos, I feel how courageous & strong a woman you have to be to endure the circumstances you were faced with.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 25, 2016
    • Last year I felt ashamed today I felt kind of free and posted them. Thanks so much for the encouragement Lynn xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      October 25, 2016
  15. I wanted to cry reading this. What man puts his family in this situation willingly? You are so strong, Lynn – even then, it was inside you. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    October 25, 2016
    • Thanks now I feel very weak Diana but you guys keep telling me so I am trying to remember that me xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      October 25, 2016
      • All you have to do is look at your beautiful family and your wonderful kids to know what a strong woman and great mom you are. That does not happen by accident. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

        October 25, 2016
        • Thanks so much you are right I do need to remember and to look at them! Thanks so much, it’s easy to get caught up in guilt and fear!

          Liked by 1 person

          October 25, 2016
  16. Your story is still so dark and horrifying but hopeful when you know the life you live today.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 25, 2016
  17. Beautifully hauntingly written.

    Liked by 2 people

    October 25, 2016
  18. Writing when the moment takes you is working … this piece fills the senses – the scents sweet and sour for example. The pictures are particularly poignant – I remember the originals you posted … made prettier for the reader. Keep gaining strength my dear sweet friend. In your own time. Gain the strength xxx

    Like

    October 25, 2016
  19. This is wonderful. While reading, I felt so bad for you living in those conditions. And with the children. I’m glad you’re not ashamed to show the true, full pictures now. You are a strong woman, Lynn! Do you feel it’s therapeutic to write about your life? It must bring up clear and awful memories. But maybe after awhile it will help to get it all out. Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

    October 25, 2016
    • As you know I am facing allot of anxiety and stress so I am trying to find ways to relieve that and deal with it. Today writing and being totally honest did help. I think when I write the usual story I hide many things and do not totally say how it really was so today was good it released some feelings.xx

      Liked by 1 person

      October 25, 2016
      • That’s good, I’m glad for you. Maybe it’ll get easier as you go along, I mean being totally honest and writing the whole story. That can be really hard to do. But maybe now that you’ve done it and taken that first step, it’ll get easier. And it will feel even better. xx

        Liked by 1 person

        October 25, 2016
        • Thanks because it was not fun before trying to be diplomatic and not talk about how crazy it was. I felt like I was just defending him in many ways. I have found that I am sad and mad and didn’t even know it. xxx

          Liked by 1 person

          October 25, 2016
  20. You are stronger. Though, to live through what you did, and to raise such a wonderful family, I would venture to say you were much stronger then, then you ever thought you were. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    October 25, 2016
  21. Oops.. And, I meant to add that I approve of your change of wardrobe!!

    Liked by 1 person

    October 25, 2016
  22. I am so glad you have the courage to share what you went through in hopes of preventing another catastrophe like this.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 25, 2016
  23. Hugs, Lynn, Hugs! I so wish I could do something to make this awfulness seem a little less so. Yet, I know I can’t. I can only offer you love and support. Please know you will always have it. ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    October 25, 2016
  24. Love your writing Lynn, so detailed! I can’t imagine how awful it must have been to realize all these things. I hope writing it down is making you feel better 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    October 25, 2016
  25. Your writing style is developing into a deeply poetic one

    Liked by 1 person

    October 26, 2016
  26. koolaidmoms #

    Beautiful writing. I can picture the room and imagine the heat and smells. Glad you are finding what works for you as far as writing time! Showing the truth about your situation is brave and must help relieve the anxiety and hold it has had over you. It is not a secret anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 26, 2016
  27. Still shaking my head in disgust that you and the kids were expected to live in those conditions !!! xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    October 26, 2016
  28. Artfully crafted descriptions, Lynne. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 26, 2016
  29. Your writing is so good! I could see the conditions in which you lived and how you felt about it. Wonderful photos! So glad you are out of that mess!

    Liked by 1 person

    October 26, 2016
  30. Lynn, I think your writing is getting stronger and more evocative with each new story you tell us.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 26, 2016
  31. That is harsh reality.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 26, 2016
  32. You’ve been through so much. I am so glad you are getting back to who you started out to be. What a woman!

    Liked by 1 person

    October 26, 2016
  33. Lynz you know my dear friend how much I admire you.. Your writing is always so descriptive and I am so so pleased you are gaining more strength as you write.. I can not even begin to imagine how you coped.. But this to me shows me just how strong you are..
    Sending love your way and many blessings xx Sue

    Liked by 1 person

    October 26, 2016
  34. I could so imagine every single detail. Hugs and more power to you Lynn!

    Liked by 1 person

    October 27, 2016
  35. Ooh, I don’t like this part of the story! I know your horrible delivery is coming too and you had no support system! And you were at odds with your parents! But I remind myself of the now, you are here with all of your children, grandchildren and parents. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    October 27, 2016
  36. I’m glad you feel strong enough to post the bare pictures of your living conditions. Your writing keeps pulling you out of the pit you were in. Good work.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 27, 2016
  37. How on earth did you cope? Your strength continues to amaze me xx

    Liked by 1 person

    October 28, 2016
  38. Lyn, your writing is just wonderful! This is all so very sad… as if your suffering was not already too much! This is enough to push any woman over the edge and into panic. This is unbearable to think about for you and your children! Thank you for being brave enough to share your truth that was forced upon you! Hugs!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    October 30, 2016
  39. You have grown so much, your children obviously gets their strength from you! You’ve come a long way since those pictures were taken!

    Liked by 1 person

    November 1, 2016
  40. Look how far you have come! So glad you are stronger and more confident! And a fabulous description of how grim the conditions were.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 1, 2016
  41. You have nothing to be ashamed of. That you could make your children feel safe and loved in those conditions is a real tribute to you. I hope writing is cathartic for you so you can put the nightmares behind you. XX

    Liked by 1 person

    November 4, 2016
  42. What a stark, and scary morning! How you managed to cope and make it work is amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    January 3, 2017
    • I look back Deborah and it sounds ridiculous! This I guess is how abuse works! No way would I have imagined this is what I would find. I thought finally I would be rewarded for all of my going without while living in the states but it just got worst! thanks for reading xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      January 3, 2017
      • Hope you’re feeling better, and your upper lip is just about all healed now.:)

        Liked by 1 person

        January 3, 2017
        • I am feeling better for the first time in months Deborah! I am not getting overly excited but I think taking medication has now started helping. My scar is really good and I was scheduled to go in and have it worked on but weather did not permit. So, later! I am just happy it’s done. I will post a picture! Much love and thanks

          Liked by 1 person

          January 3, 2017
          • Oh, this is great news! A wonderful start to 2017 for you! xx

            Liked by 1 person

            January 3, 2017
          • Yes I feel like a weight has been lifted Deborah! I just sat and could not do much of anything. But now I would say 50% better! Thank God! xxxx

            Liked by 1 person

            January 3, 2017

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