The first half of the year we celebrate 12 of our 16 family birthdays. Our last birthday until October was yesterday and now I am left with only two teenagers! I took last week off and tried to just feel better and luckily no one else in our household seems to have come down with strep throat.
I spent the week tending to my plants and flowers
Packages for the bridal shower kept coming in and we spent more time working on our menu.
The week came to an end and it was time for a favorite meal and the last birthday for months to come!
Beef szechuan, Chinese cabbage salad, fried rice and brown rice teriyaki noodles!
Turtle caramel cheesecake topped with fudge sauce and caramel, pecan, mini chocolate chips and peanut butter cups!
Happy birthday to my 7th child and a huge piece of my heart! I love you Mude!
Thanks to those of you who have encouraged me to write a book. I will start in a couple of weeks when the kids return to school. I have scheduled and planned out this adventure, which I know will take many twists and turns. I know what I want to write or what I think I can write but I would like to hear from you.
Based on what you have read on my blog and what you know about my life, what would you be most interested in reading? Please comment and let me know. I am hoping to appeal to the widest audience and to have a book that is marketable. I am going in with realistic expectations but am hoping for success!
Pin the tail on the donkey game using a camel instead.
This is a picture of a postcard from Saudi. We made several road trips to Syria during summer break to see in-laws in Damascus. Along the road it was common to see cars loaded up!
Fancy table decorations and cloths
When visiting the Gold market, right next door was a cool camel style souk. There were blankets used in the desert and all kinds of unique stuff. Men sat along the market making these key chains and selling them. These are tiny Arabian style ships ships (sandals)
One of the shops near the gold souk
This was me practicing with Abdullah for his upcoming baseball season.
In Saudi Arabia it is common to see young men on the side of the road, in a vacant lot of sand and dirt, playing a game of soccer. In school, boys play soccer in P.E. as well as at recess time. Girls are not encouraged to play sports and when a stray soccer ball fell on their side of the wall, just picking it up was discouraged. I suppose it was not seen as lady like. In Riyadh a sports league for kids was established and each season a different sport was played. People from the U.S., U.K and various middle eastern countries participated. Osama wanted to play baseball and he then pushed the kids to do so as well. Fattima played softball several seasons and Abdullah played both soccer and baseball. It was a great experience and something that they looked forward to.
Osama playing in a soccer league, Riyadh
Practicing for baseball season!
Last week’s story–My sister told me that life in Saudi needed adjustments and certainly things were never easy in the beginning. I realized she was right and the long term benefits would far out weigh any inconvenience at this point. Two glorious weeks came and went quickly as most pleasurable things do. He came back on the train to take us home and we said our goodbyes. My sister promised to visit and we made our way back to the train station. Part 9- “A halala for your thoughts”
The train slowed down until it finally stopped, maids carried sleeping babies and families gathered their things making their way into the station. Two weeks had come and gone quickly, leaving us back in the same routine. As we entered the villa, the smell of pif paf (bug powder) and dust wafted through the air. I looked at the walls, tan with specks of brown, reminding me of the first night we arrived in Riyadh. Lines traced the places where furniture had once stood. The indoor outdoor black carpeting felt coarse on my feet and the three bed pads now looked shabby and worn. Dirty clothes were stacked on the blue plastic chair as we settled into our old sleeping quarters. The kids continued to snicker and talk of their antics with “the cousins” as we lay in the dark on the villa floor.
The next morning feelings of doom returned as they had in the beginning of life in Saudi. The boys played on the roof and in the downstairs area while the girls made forts out of the bed pads. I carted loads of laundry upstairs to the washer on the top floor and made up games to fritter away the remaining days left until school. Baby Abude slept most of the day while we sat in front of the new t.v. watching lines and patterns signal the start of daily programming. The English channel started at 4 p.m. and was limited to censored news read by a local English speaker and then obscure shows intermixed with some Western programming. The stress of school was exhausting and so we chose to overlook it until the time arrived. The trip to Al-Khobar had been rejuvenating but had also heightened our awareness of the stark reality we had been living in.
Soon after our little vacation he announced that he had located the perfect apartment. It was new, centrally located downtown and within walking distance of shops, restaurants, but most importantly, a new school. The children were filled with excitement and the villa was humming with chaos. Questions raced through our minds and the only answer was to bring us along and tour the new place. The building was sleek and shiny, unlike the rough exterior of standard Saudi homes. The entry way was lined with polished marble where one could place an accent table and chair. Finishing touches were flawless, unlike the villa where spackle and putty covered holes in tiling, doors and bathtubs. Three large bedrooms, a family room and living room, each with a view to the busy street below. Light streamed through the clear, large windows and seemed to reflect and dance upon the walls. For months the dark villa had seemed like little more than a cage, no way to see the sun or sky.
At the end of our tour he mentioned a tiny detail, as he always did, to make sure I understood and accepted, no electricity. The building was finished but waiting for a simple hook up which would be coming any day. Until that time, it was rent free and electricity was supplied from the building next door. The atmosphere and ability to view the outside world precluded logic and in reality the decision had already been made. I had no idea that days would turn into months, enduring temperatures as high as 115 degrees, struggling with hours of no a/c, no lights and no way to cook on the swap meet stove.
My son at the top of a sand dune
nice office building
shops at upscale mall
streets of Al-Khobar
Delicious French food
There are funny little things that happen in Saudi especially in construction and design! So, the picture above is a house and that is it’s garage on the left. What is wrong with this picture???
A cart for serving tea!
A big past time in Saudi racing up the sand dune!