The hardest life

Life continued to move along and things stayed pretty much the same in the new compound. It was October and I was now 4 months pregnant with my 6th child, temperatures were dipping down to the mid 90’s but humidity was still high. Morning sickness was starting to wane and the second trimester was getting easier, not yet a heavy belly to weigh me down. The boys had been in school for a month and things seemed to be going along well without any of the issues we had faced in Riyadh.  It was time to send See See to first grade, she was 6. I started searching for a school, but after what we had faced at the previous schools I was guarded. My daily routine stayed the same as it had for years, cleaning, cooking and child care. The “dream” life I had imagined was now unfolding before me. My children were in a good school, having fun as children should, we lived in a home that I would never have imagined possible and I was expecting my 6th child.

I met two very lovely ladies who I became close to during the Al-Khobar chapter of our lives. One lady, Guadalupe, she was originally from Mexico but had married a man from the Netherlands. We spent hours at the little park watching our children play while we exchanged stories of our lives back home and marrying into a culture that was foreign to us. She was warm and generous with her friendship. The other lady is someone I would be friends with for the years to come. Her name was Gloria, she was ten years my senior and we connected automatically. She had children who had moved away from home many years before and was now a proud grandmother.  After the first experience with delivery I was in somewhat of a pleasant denial about going to the doctor until my dear friend Gloria actually intervened and made a birth plan during my 8th month. There was a nurse from Canada who lived on the compound and another older lady Virginia, from the U.S. These beautiful  ladies approached me and finally insisted on an answer about my doctor, how I would get to the hospital and who would watch the kids. I had no answer and stared blankly as they then talked with each other and worked on the details of my upcoming birth. They were good friends who knew nothing of our life before the compound or the realities of  living “outside”.  Although I had been raised in a nice home with everything I wanted, some how now I did not fit into compound life. I tried to be friendly and go along but complaints about the normal yet trivial things in life, seemed ridiculous and frivolous.

His job was in Dharahan one of three cities that make up this part of the Eastern province. The first month went well as he reaped the benefits of his U.S. passport and had better pay than any of his relatives would ever imagine. In Saudi Arabia people are paid based on the passport they hold. Being from a Western country means having the highest pay scale, your qualifications are of little importance if you are not holding this type of passport.  After a month I saw a pattern I had tried to deny for many years, it started with mild observations about other people’s jobs and their preferential treatment in regards to benefits, hours and of course, salary. It then turned to a conversation about his supervisor and how he constantly gave him projects that no one else would take. This then lead into the insinuation that some how I could help but was not willing to. I had spent years correcting his memos, editing reports and making my weekly sweet trays for each office he worked in. I had done what I could while juggling family responsibilities but some how I was told  there was something I was selfishly holding back.  He offered suggestions regarding my usefulness in regards to his job, If only I would network with these women whose husbands had high positions surely this would help. If I could speak to my friend Gloria, her husband was a manager and had worked for this company for many years. I valued our friendship, a real friend who truly cared about me, I smiled at him and nodded and then put it out of my mind.

He came home from work one day excited with the news of his new position within the company. He would be moving back to Riyadh after only a few months of living in Al-Khobar. The job would not pay more but he would be leaving the current supervisor who he was having trouble with.  He had once again returned to being optimistic and happy and the move was set. I looked at my children and thought of the horrible conditions we had faced in the schools in Riyadh, and decided we would stay put until school was finished for the year.This made little sense to him and he repeated the words I had heard so many times before, “I want you to have the hardest life so you will appreciate anything you are lucky enough to get.”

203 thoughts on “The hardest life

  1. “I want you to have the hardest life so you will appreciate anything you are lucky enough to get.” I had to reread this sentence again because I couldn’t believe that he thought that was a logical statement. I can’t imagine hearing that you have to move again just when the kids were finally in a good place and you had met some good friends. How supportive you are, Lynz.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. It’s scary to read what you have been through, Lynn! Yet I know these experiences have made you stronger and now through your blog you are an inspiration and encouragement to so many, including me! Thank you for sharing what you have been through. Glad you have your kids to support you and spur you on 🙂

    Liked by 6 people

  3. I certainly think delaying your move back to Riyadh was perfectly reasonable…so that the children could finish school. Not to mention you getting so close to delivering your 6th! My heart breaks for you with every addition to this story. What blessings your new friends were. I’m sure you had no trouble understanding what gratitude is, as “he” implied.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. A warped take on the Buddhist philosophy that we were born to suffer and everything else is a bonus. Only this suffering was not just ‘life’ but another person who was supposed to love and protect you putting you through some sort of Victorian upbringing even though you were an intelligent and vibrant woman – but in an equally warped way – maybe He had a point, because look at how many of us you are reaching now through this past suffering. God bless you Lynz

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Oh dear God! What a horrifying life you had to live. That last statement sent chills down my spine! God bless you for all you had to endure! Blessings also for your 9 wonderful children. Are you finally free of him? Blessings & hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much. we are free is some ways, but still legally married. He is the father of the kids so he has rights of course and he has just randomly popped back in to our house! Trying to be free in my mind totally and writing does help!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Each time I read an installment of your story, I find myself holding my breath. I’m tense and sad for you, but that compares very little to what you lived with on a daily basis. I cannot begin to fathom what reserves of strength you must have constantly drawn from to endure. Bravo to you, for improving your life and sharing your story with us all.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. What a horrible thing to say. Granted hard times *do* make us appreciate the good times, no one should have to go through it just to be taught that lesson. I’m sorry that your stay in the compound wasn’t as long lived as you had hoped.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. The entire post was beautifully written and I was happy to read that you found good friends as well as your children were in a good school until the last line! It was indeed chilling ! Did you guys move back to Riyadh then?

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Such a chilling attitude in that last line, Lynn, I’m so sorry. You write your story so beautifully, I think you have a great book in there. So glad you have survived this controlling human being, it must have been so hard to think of running away, with the safety of your children in mind. What a compelling, tragic story. Thank you for sharing it with us here. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I have often said that I would not fare well in an environment such as the one you endured. I realize that you didn’t get dumped into it. He was smart enough to manipulate you over time. Don’t let him back in Lynz! He’s not good for you or the children, and he is still such a bully that he thinks he has the same ole rights. Stay strong my friend.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I was literally stunned when I read the last sentence. I was like, WHAT?? Surely he did not say what I just read he said. Unbelievable cruelty of the man. Thank God you’re back in the US without him now! Otherwise, we never would have known you!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Wow! It’s hard to believe the last sentence actually came out of his mouth! He seriously has major issues! The way he treated you and your kids makes me so upset! I’m glad life changed for you and your kids.

    Liked by 2 people

      • I have an acquaintance here in Canada who was raised Christian (her father is a minister) but is married a Muslim and converted to Islam. I’ve been to her home a few times. Her husband has a store and works very long hours so he’s never been there. She is always telling me that people have it all wrong. She says Muslim men take good care of their wives. She’s even explained why having more than one wife is a good thing. It all made sense. Of course there’s good people and bad in all religions and races.

        Liked by 2 people

        • yes for sure!! That is very true! I think good and bad every where! For me I thought I it was religion but no it was me not knowing the culture and then being taken advantage of! The ladies I knew always shook their heads and they said no way!!!

          Liked by 1 person

  13. Woooow. What an ego. Subhanallah I used to tutor this beautiful wonderful saudi girl…masters in English lit. She married someone her parent agreed with ..beneath her socially…he told her aren’t you happy I am God’s test for your life. Some men are on a trip. ..

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I agree with Frances. You have a story worth telling, and you tell it very well. “Temperatures dipping to the mid 90s . . .?” Arghhhh. That is just so not right! I would die. And to be pregnant in that heat? Sheesh.

    Liked by 2 people

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