change of plans.

June 30, 2016

hospital.

So, in my last post (or maybe the one before?) I wrote about how Lavender and I were going to be in Missouri for three months, with Mr. Mostafa coming in mid-June in order to spend our last three weeks with us before we all returned to Riyadh together on the 10th of July.

Yeah, well…change of plans.

In my last post, I did write all about what’s been going on with my pregnancy, and how difficult it’s been. Well, after I wrote that, it didn’t get any better. In fact, it got worse. And worse.

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i’m still alive.

May 23, 2016

baby face.

Okay, so I’m sure it seems somewhat like I’ve fallen off the face of the earth. Not only has the blog been silent for over a month, but my social media accounts have been pretty quiet, too. Sorry. I’m still here. But as I briefly alluded to in my last post, this has been a rough pregnancy. I’ve been in basic survival mode this past month and a half or so. I know I said that in my last post, too, and I was telling the truth at the time. I was exhausted and nauseated and had some back pain going on. But now, I’m just like, “Oh, you silly, silly little person.”

I’ll write in more detail about all of this eventually (actually, I’ve started working on that post, but it’s maybe halfway done and is already well over 3,000 words, so get ready for that, if you dare), but right now, I just wanted to compose a quick update to say that yes, I’m okay, we’re okay, everything’s okay. It’s just a little rough (okay, really rough) for this momma right now.

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big news…and more big news!

April 15, 2016

the first boxes.

Things have been kind of quiet around here on the blog for awhile. Lately, I’ve been doing good if I crank out a post a month. Sorry about that. But I’m still here. And plan to be for a good long while, inshallah.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Truth be told, there have been a lot of things going on in my life, currently resulting in a couple of rather major bits of news to share. And each one of them honestly warrants a blog post in its own right, but you know what, I think I’ll be a wild child and share ’em both in this one post.

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two silly ways riyadh could be better for us.

March 28, 2016

by the pool

It’s that time of year. The weather is gorgeous here in Saudi Arabia–just warm enough during the day that swimming sounds like fun, but not hot enough that you feel like you’re roasting in an oven when you step outdoors. It’s the kind of weather that makes people sit outside in their hosh and bake in the soothing sun while simultaneously lamenting, “Oh…summer is coming.”

And along with the gorgeous summer weather comes the urge to escape…because there are certain things that you just can’t do here. (At least, not in most places.) A few nights ago, Mr. Mostafa, whose work schedule has been about a thousand shades of crazy lately (you know, he’s an accountant, and it’s “the season”), was tossing around the idea of taking a weekend trip to Bahrain soon for some sun and relaxation (even though we just went–somewhat disastrously–a few months ago). “We’re both so stressed,” he said. “I think we need a little vacation.”

I don’t know if we’ll get around to a Bahrain trip soon. But I understand what he’s saying. And last week, I got a Whatsapp message from a friend here in Riyadh, another American married to a Saudi, letting me know that she and her kids were heading to Dubai for the week. “We haven’t left the country since September,” she said. “We need a break. Husband is going for a business trip. Kids and I are going for the pool.” Complete with laughing face emojis, of course. As though an explanation were actually necessary.

We all get it. Even most Saudis get it. Although I find Saudi Arabia much more livable than most Westerners can believe, we all need breaks from it. On long weekends and school vacations, the causeway that connects Bahrain to Saudi Arabia is jam packed with Saudis crossing the bridge for some time in Bahrain. And every time I get home to Riyadh from a trip to Bahrain or Dubai or someplace like that, I find myself thinking that there are some simple things that Riyadh could change that would probably keep a whole bunch of its own citizens within the borders on weekends and holidays, spending money and pumping up local economies. Obviously, I’m not Saudi, but I am married to one, and I can safely say that there are only a few things that we really notice the loss of whenever we get back. But they are important things.

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meet my brother-in-law!

February 15, 2016

uncle suleiman and lavender.

It’s time for the next installment of my series of interviews with my Saudi in-laws! This time I sat down with my brother-in-law, Suleiman. I first met Suleiman when he was maybe 15 or so, and now he’s all grown up and graduating from college this spring! He’s a good kid, and as you could probably glean by reading the interview, he’s the Mostafa who is most serious about the development of my Arabic language skills; he quizzes me constantly and always pushes me to get better, which I appreciate, even when he’s a pain in the butt about it. Like before, I started out by asking him a few basic questions, and then moved on to questions submitted by readers. Here’s what he had to say.

Okay, here we go. Introduce yourself.

Why would I introduce myself? You know me.

You’re not introducing yourself to me, you’re introducing yourself to the readers!

Okay. My name is Suleiman Mostafa. I study industrial engineering at King Saud University in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. I’m 22 years old. I’m single. I’m a full-time student. That’s my life.

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