Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What I will and will not miss

Well, it's about a month and a week and a few days away from the date we plan to leave the kingdom for good, so I guess it's about time I come up with this list.

What I will miss about Saudi
1. Not driving - believe it or not, I love being treated like a tai-tai and being chauffeured around ... tee hee.
2. Dates - the fruit. I love the crunchy half-ripe ones.. I dont know whether I can get them back home. And I love the variety and availability of the varieties.
3. Living in a compound - I love the security of living in the compound. I can just chase my kids out of the house and let them play outside without worrying that some stranger is going to grab them into an unmarked white van. We can have walks and bike rides around the compound without worrying about getting run over.
4. Speaking arabic and being spoken to in arabic - My arabic is nothing to be proud of. I find myself always having to explain to the other person "Ana kalam arabia shuey shuey" (I speak arabic only a little bit), but I like being able to speak, even though a little bit. I also like it when I learn a new word just from listening to and trying to decipher the arabic words being spoken to me. My one regret is not being able to enroll in arabic classes when I was here.
5. Being in a foreign land - where even just stepping out of the house is an adventure, an opportunity to experience new things, new cultures. :)
6. Going for umrah whenever I want - something that we really took for granted. Thinking that "we can always go later", we postponed one trip after another, and now I'm not sure whether we'll be able to go again. But, Alhamdulillah, I am thankful for the opportunity that Allah has given me, I have at least done umrah once, and have managed to perform my Hajj. Alhamdulillah.
7. Fresh fruit juices - and I mean, FRESH fruit juices. YUMS.
8. Free gifts for little kids - I am sure Izani will miss getting toys, candy (once even, a falafel!) and fruit juices from shopkeepers when we go out shopping.
9. The smell of arabian incense - in new clothes, walking down the malls and souq, from arabian ladies walking past.. I am sure the next time I smell it, it will bring on a flood of memories :)
10. The teachers in DBGS - who dont care about tests or exam results or who's smarter than who.
11. The sand dunes - how something so barren and stark can be so beautiful and the mysteries it holds under its mounds (i.e. desert roses and the singing dunes). It always amazes me how fertile the desert can be with just the right amount of water. Subhanallah. I love the sense of awe, realization and motivation that I get when I stand on top of the dune and look at the vastness of the land, feeling small, yet purposeful, so alone yet not.
12. The leisurely pace - Not worrying over traffic jams. The lull of activities between noon and 4 (when all the stores are closed).
13. Ladies/Family Sections - I just find it convenient that I am ensured a table for me and my kids, almost anywhere I go. I like it that I dont have to wrestle over places/spots in queues with men. I like it that they give priority to ladies with children over single folks :)

What I will not miss about Saudi
1. Not driving - I do miss the lack of freedom and I hate feeling dependant on my husband all the time :P
2. The way other people drive - *shivers*
3. 'Saudi Service' - which is practically non-existent if you don't pay for it.
4. Being hit on by store helpers - nuff said.
5. The sand every where every where - even up your nose and in your ears during Shamal (sandstorm) days. I will definitely not miss dusting and vacuuming up sand in every nook and cranny of my house.
6. The rather inconvenient business hours - Even after almost 5 years here, I still havent gotten used to not being able to just pop into my favourite store whenever I want during the day, without having to check if it's 5 minutes before or half an hour after the call for prayers. I still find it inconvenient to shop at night.
7. Being judged by the way you dress or look - eh, come to think of it, this happens every where. But in Saudi, more bling gets you respect and service, not mugged. No bling gets you unnecessary attention from the shop assistants. The more you cover, the more you are treated like "the ma'am". The less you cover, the more you'll get in trouble. And as a universal rule, Blondes always have more fun.

hm.. looks like I have more things I will miss than I will not.. :)


  1. :) have your kids started to count their days there or they just don't bother? heheh..

    free juices and toys!!! woaaa..

  2. Elisa..So soon you are leaving??? Gonna miss you definitely...but FB is always around counts for something. I was still picking up my skills to do the small flowers for you..arghh..if tak sempat than I just present you with the big flowers of Selamat Datang... Anyway.. Nak invite datang rumah on Thurs 22/10/09 nanti for makan2.. lepak2..time... always after 3pm and onwards... I hope you could come ya...

  3. Semoga semuanya dipermudahkan ya Elisa.

    Dah decide on the school ke :-)

  4. things u wont miss - no 1 to 7, I so can dig you! no 5 & 6 especially.

  5. I have a feeling that no matter where you are or where you go, you will have a good time and a wonderful adventure :)

    Good luck on your move back home. And may wonderful adventures always go your way :)

  6. Zan,
    Ihsan crosses out the dates on his calendar, but it's their dad who is really counting the days :)
    Pakcik kat my favourite kedai kain in Khobar selalu kasi Izani kereta spiderman/batman. Kereta murah made in China lah.. prolly cost SR10 aje.. but enough to keep Izani occupied while I look at fabrics (and therefore buy more).

    K Zie,
    Ye lah, bila dah ada FB, takdelah rasa jauh terpisah sangat kan ?
    Thurs 22nd tu Taufik will be in Dubai, flight dia petang, so if we come we'll prolly come for dinner, tak pe ke? And stay sampai midnight macam biasa? ha ha ha

  7. Aza,
    I have narrowed down the choices to a few schools, nanti balik kena physically visit them before making a decision.

    kan kan kan???
    I rasa duduk 10 tahun pun I will never get used to the awkward shopping times. But I like it that some shops are open by 9am! :)

    Thankyou for the vote of confidence. :D
    I'm not much of a wallower, I've learnt that it's such a waste of time! I guess all the instabilities and uncertainties in life have thought me to appreciate every single thing, no matter how small they are and to always always always make do with and thoroughly enjoy whatever I have.

  8. elisa...:-) mark my words, you will MISS Saudi...and you will yearn to come back ...despite all of its chips and dents.

    I missed Saudi even when i was in dubai...


  9. dah nak balik dah? or going to another foreign land? huhuhu

  10. Aliya6:34 AM

    Time flies by so quickly. Rasa cam kak lisa baru kejap je duk situ..tup tup dah 5 years!

    home is around the corner! all the best adjusting back in Malaysia.

  11. Firhad12:43 PM

    unrelated whatsoever...

    Kak Liza, did you get the link I sent to you in your webmail?

    Just wondering whether it worked out allright or not..

  12. Funny how the things that you would not miss are almost the same things described above, seen from a different perspective :)

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  14. hi! i'm zaihan. wondering how the school searching went because i'm searching for my children too at the moment. any good review on any of the schools so far?

  15. Hmm its a well prepared balanced list, you are obsolutely true about the driving and the drivers here!!