9- Review and edit- Fine print

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.

169 thoughts on “9- Review and edit- Fine print

  1. Wow! I understand you were doing the “right” thing being a good wife but 115? I just imagine crying babies and cranky children because it is so hot. Were there at least places you could go to cool down? How did you cook for him during these times? I know that was important to him before. Sorry, I am just trying to picture this and it is amazing how strong you are.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thats inhumane, and I guess he was working all day somewhere where it was air conditioned and had electricity. When he was home it didn’t bother him individually nor did it bother him to see his family suffer? OMG, unbelievable.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Beware ‘the tiny detail’. ” is such an excellent and important lesson. Unfortunately, we usually learn it while in the midst of some untenable situation.

    As we have spoken of previously, dear Lynz, living with a lack of basic services does make a person so appreciative of hot running water, always working gas/electric range, and fans. And Air Conditioning? Air Condiitoing is a much loved and smile on the face luxury.

    Great post. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. How strange that it sounded like such a fancy place, but no electricity. How were they letting people live there when it was unfinished? Anyway like you said it sounds like it was better than the dark cave like place you were living in.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Every time I read your story I have to remind myself that you got through it…you are no longer going through it. That tiny detail was massive…how you survived the heat and everything else is commendable.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Months!! I can’t even fathom living in that climate without A/C. Did you or your kids get heat exhaustion? So dangerous.
    I find it interesting that women have to wear black, the hottest color, in that heat and men get to wear white, the coolest.

    He’s a total narcissist, only thinking of himself. You deserve so much better!

    Liked by 1 person

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