The smell of cinnamon toast light as the butter wafted through the air. I pulled the downy comforter over my shoulders and drifted back to sleep, folding my body into the warmth of home. The room was wrapped in a fragrant bouquet of lavender and Iris, blooming just beyond my reach. Grama Elva stood hanging the wash out to dry, picking clothes pins from her neatly pressed apron pockets, her silver hair arranged in swirls high on her head. A single cloud puffed past a pristine Idaho sky as if to call me back once again.

I peered out of one eye forcing myself to fight jet lag and exhaustion and to face what had now become our new reality. The same rancid smell of fumigation and dead cockroaches greeted me and my mind raced to the night before. I struggled to turn on my side, scooting little Foof away from me and onto a vacant piece of blanket. I moved my hands into a paw like position that would enable me to sit and balance my pregnant belly. Bits and pieces of the night before drifted back, the crunch underfoot, hundreds of dead cockroaches in the parking area, the gaping holes in each room next to single brown plastic windows, but mostly the lack of furniture and basic necessities that had been implied. I slowly stood and straightened out my body, daring to survey what was now our new home. I roamed around the villa in the light of day hoping that I had not seen things clearly upon arrival and that my view had been obstructed by unrealistic dreams of a new and different life. Every line on the walls, each crack through the plywood but more importantly a lack of clean water and food stood glaringly before me.

Tape lay strewn on the black carpet along with shreds of paper towel that had been used as wrapping for odds and ends that had been tucked away into boxes. A large piece of plywood was loosely positioned over a gaping hole, secured with nails where an air conditioner would be placed, but was not. Β Light streamed through the cracks that lead to the outside world and a forbidden street plagued with danger. I walked a few steps to loosen up my legs and feet, patterns and blotches from the rough carpeting stung my arms and legs.

The walls were painted a dull beige, specks of brown and darker hues of tan made a dotted pattern over the entire room. Faint lines eerily traced the walls where chairs, couches and an entertainment center had once stood. It signaled a strange surreal atmosphere and highlighted the desperate circumstances in which we now lived. A family much like ours had once walked through these rooms, children sat working on homework and parents watched evening t.v., end tables and possibly a hutch were outlined on the opposite end of the room. Now only 4 small beings lay on the brown blanket that was thrown into one of the boxes at the last minute, a silly notion that such basic necessities might not be provided.

I wandered through the villa looking for any sign that this place was meant for habitation, but not a chair, bed or table were to be found. The kitchen door hung open exposing an empty space tiled in pink, grout stained and smudged. The same brown plastic window and gaping hole held their place high in the corner next to a water heater. At the end of the room stood the only furnishings in the kitchen, a sink surrounded by a counter top. I looked around for any food, water or signs of a real home fit for a family of 6.Β  A single plastic sack sat on the kitchen counter, inside were 4 small bottles of water and a tiny container of melted mango ice cream.


These are pictures that I shared with you back in the beginning of the blog. I was ashamed to show our true living conditions and so I cropped the pictures and showed only parts. Now I am stronger and can share the whole pictures with you.


Osama and his baby brother


Our sleeping pads and my first child born in Saudi. Three pads were finally purchased for myself and 5 children.


Osama goofing around standing on a chair by the counter. The brown window is the type that each room had.


133 thoughts on “Windows

  1. You are writing so good, dear Lynn πŸ™‚
    I really hope, that you will feel much better, when you get all this out by writing about it.
    He was nothing and acted like a monster to you for such long time.
    Remember that you are free, even I know not at the paper. You are in safety in your country and no one can take your kids away from you. Your gold.
    Love & Hugs for you ❀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much my dear Irene! Your words touch me and help me a great deal. I know you understand xoxo I am turning a corner I hope. Erika has been writing me and I feel I am rounding a new corner or I hope. I will write more openly and share. Yes I have to say I do forget Irene, every day I wait in fear, each moment seems to be full of fear and worry. So, I guess I have to just face that and also tell myself I am safe.I also have been denying my feelings of sadness and anger and trying to deny how I feel. So I will just feel it and hope it will then leave me alone haha.
      Love to you and tons of hugs. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

    • We got a refrigerator after maybe 2 weeks and then a stove that barely worked and shocked me.He got them on the street or a swap meet. We got pads to sleep on after maybe a few days and used them for the next 18 months. He also purchased some pads to sit on the floor like a couch after a few months. He bought a couple of plastic outdoor chairs which helped allot as I was 8 months pregnant

      Liked by 3 people

        • No frills were allowed and even ladies made fun of me for dressing in that way. They wore skirts colorful scarves. In the home no make up frills or femininty allowed. So I guarded myself carefully, no male friends or anything that crossed any line. Ask freely xx

          Liked by 1 person

          • You met him in the States, right? Did you have any indication before you married him that he would be this strict and traditional or did he change once you moved to Saudi Arabia? Did you fee he was right or just go along with his rules because you thought you had no recourse? I know you took your children out of schools where they were abused, so know you stood up for them. What would have happened if you had stood up for yourself in the same way? I am not questioning your choices or asking you to defend yourself, understand. It is just such a fascinating story that I will keep asking questions until you tell me to STOP!!!!

            Liked by 2 people

          • I met him in the states he was my sister’s neighbor. He was not into religion and was so so so so sweet. He was dream man, too good to be true. We ran off after a year and got secretly married. He was so nice and so supportive. Shortly after he moved to a new location and became” religious” and pressured me to switch and after months of pressure I did. Things slowly got worst and I kept trying to figure out how or why did he change and decided it was me that I did something wrong. The process erodes away your self and you then cling to them and see also that there is a reason to fear. He used religion to keep me in place and told me a woman is to be obedient. For me I was totally brainwashed and also worried. He did things that were scary and said things as well. He would just start screaming and yelling and in Saudi you have no way out. No shelters, no rights and nothing. His family lived in Syria so we never saw them much at all either. It is a slow insidious process that robs you of your self worth and soon you are under total control. Also you want to keep your kids safe. I stood up for my kids daily and felt they did not bargain for this mess but I had to take the anger and punishment so they did not have to. Still he was hard on them as well. The other thing is that yes when I left he threatened my life and has made things miserable! So, he made good on his promises to try to destroy me

            Liked by 1 person

          • No problem any questions xx We met in 82, married 83, went to Saudi in 93. He changed but not drastically. We didn’t have much furniture in the states and he started getting difficult after I had 2 kids. Started screaming out of the blue, it was scary! More controlling slowly. Then in Saudi I thought he would go back to who he was and be happy, instead it just got worst and worst. There were better times and we moved to a compound which was wonderful. I would say just slow changes and ideas about people not being trustworthy, my parents not loving me that much, etc. In the end he yelled in public, swore and threatened to kick me out. He made trouble at each job and everywhere we lived so we got kicked out! It was slow over 30 years! When I stood up for me in any way it was bad, he flew into a rage. So I learned to be careful and protect my kids only.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Thirty years is a long time to put up with these feelings. It is hard not to feel partially at blame when someone is so angry and unreasonable, I know. Good for you for building a wonderful and peaceful new life with your children and grandchildren. You are a strong lady.

            Liked by 2 people

          • But he has another wife in Saudi Arabia, correct? Which takes some of the pressure off you, I would imagine. How easy would it be for you to divorce him now that the kids are all grown?

            Liked by 2 people

          • She left him 3 years ago! That is when things got worst. He is Palestinian and american citizenship. He is not a resident of my state and hard to serve papers. He might not have to pay anything in support and might make trouble. So for now just waiting for the youngest child to get older.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my friend re-writing still displays despicable conditions of which you endured and the children as well. I am sure it is not easy to recollect these early days much less write about them. It is all part of the real life story, your story. Continue to write Lynn as you can. xoxoxo b-2

    Liked by 2 people

  3. love your writing….it must feel good to get it out, leave it on paper….your really one of the most special woman I know…..the love of your children is testament to how much love you gave them as they were being raised in what most off us would consider uninhabitable….however no matter how bleak, you made the best of what was put in your path….me, I would of ran screaming to the nearest airport, speed dialing my momma all the way….I realize this was not a choice you had… really are a strong woman, mother, friend and all around super hero!!!! love ya sister….kat

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Living under these conditions must have been so challenging for you Lynn. You may somehow feel shame when you look at these photos, I feel how courageous & strong a woman you have to be to endure the circumstances you were faced with.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Writing when the moment takes you is working … this piece fills the senses – the scents sweet and sour for example. The pictures are particularly poignant – I remember the originals you posted … made prettier for the reader. Keep gaining strength my dear sweet friend. In your own time. Gain the strength xxx


  6. This is wonderful. While reading, I felt so bad for you living in those conditions. And with the children. I’m glad you’re not ashamed to show the true, full pictures now. You are a strong woman, Lynn! Do you feel it’s therapeutic to write about your life? It must bring up clear and awful memories. But maybe after awhile it will help to get it all out. Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hugs, Lynn, Hugs! I so wish I could do something to make this awfulness seem a little less so. Yet, I know I can’t. I can only offer you love and support. Please know you will always have it. ❀ ❀ ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Beautiful writing. I can picture the room and imagine the heat and smells. Glad you are finding what works for you as far as writing time! Showing the truth about your situation is brave and must help relieve the anxiety and hold it has had over you. It is not a secret anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lynz you know my dear friend how much I admire you.. Your writing is always so descriptive and I am so so pleased you are gaining more strength as you write.. I can not even begin to imagine how you coped.. But this to me shows me just how strong you are..
    Sending love your way and many blessings xx Sue

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ooh, I don’t like this part of the story! I know your horrible delivery is coming too and you had no support system! And you were at odds with your parents! But I remind myself of the now, you are here with all of your children, grandchildren and parents. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Lyn, your writing is just wonderful! This is all so very sad… as if your suffering was not already too much! This is enough to push any woman over the edge and into panic. This is unbearable to think about for you and your children! Thank you for being brave enough to share your truth that was forced upon you! Hugs!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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