Behind the Walls

I got a note last week from a Saudi gentleman who appreciated a post and especially other expats' positive comments about life in Saudi Arabia (his comment will be the last or nearly), and then said, "What I read is all about personal experiences. How about getting in touch with Saudis themselves? How did you … Continue reading Behind the Walls

We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

Saudi Arabia is a country full of expatriates. I come from the United States, a country full of immigrants. How great is that? I should feel right at home. But there's a big difference between an immigrant and an expatriate. In Saudi Arabia, there is no path to citizenship for foreigners. The only way to … Continue reading We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

I Feel Pretty II: Return to the Princess Souk

Entertainment, in Saudi Arabia, can be tough to come by. Your free time options are a) stay home, b) eat, and c) go shopping. Staying home is great, and we have a lot of fun with friends here on the compound. But no matter where you live, you don't want to spend your entire life … Continue reading I Feel Pretty II: Return to the Princess Souk

Saudi Newspaper Notes: Fatwa Edition

Rules can be problematic. No sooner have you made one than some loophole appears that you never thought of. A technicality. A weird application. A four-year-old. Consider, for example, something as simple as "No cookies before dinner." Aha! You didn't say WHICH dinner. I ate dinner yesterday. Gimme a cookie. This is a persistent problem … Continue reading Saudi Newspaper Notes: Fatwa Edition

Dear Mom (and P.S. Abdullah): Life in a Saudi Arabian Compound

Being back in the U.S. in December and January, among American friends and family, highlighted how far beyond a Westerner's comprehension the idea of living in Saudi Arabia really is. A monarchy? Islamic law? Separate treatment for men and women? Living in a walled compound? To someone who hasn't been here, there's no frame of … Continue reading Dear Mom (and P.S. Abdullah): Life in a Saudi Arabian Compound

A Very Metric Christmas

I've already decided what I want for Christmas next year. I realize MY wish comes at the expense of everybody else, but isn't that the way Christmas works? Dear Santa, please exert yourself and all your elves, and expend significant resources so I can have what I want? So I'm going for it: I want … Continue reading A Very Metric Christmas

Arabian Holidays: Shopping the Souks

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style... Okay, so shopping is a little different here than what most Americans are used to. And the quantifying ALL the differences is way beyond what one blog post can hold. I should be able to milk this topic for a solid dozen. But this is a good … Continue reading Arabian Holidays: Shopping the Souks

Christmas Crafting, Saudi Style

I'm very excited about Tuesday. Do you see it? There's a HUGE turndown. Partly cloudy (or "mostly sunny"--not sure of the difference) and right around 70 for THREE DAYS. It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, eh? Having none of the seasonal markers has made it a challenge to feel the Christmas mood. And … Continue reading Christmas Crafting, Saudi Style

An All-American Thanksgiving

I'll be having a different sort of Thanksgiving this year. The restaurant in our compound, which typically does a themed buffet on Thursday nights ("Italian night!" "Indian night!" or the perennial dude favorite, "Carvery night!"), is giving a nod to the Americans by doing a Thanksgiving dinner this week. Butterball turkeys are thawing as we … Continue reading An All-American Thanksgiving

Getting to the Bottom of Things

I'm exploring a theory--plumbing the depths, in fact--but I'm keeping my hopes for that Nobel Prize in economics in check. Pinched back, you might say. Here's the poop: I believe I've found a way to divide the world into first world, developing/emerging world, and third world that is completely void of controversy. What relief! A … Continue reading Getting to the Bottom of Things