May-It’s Been 3 Months Y’all!

Living.

Living.

1. The Edge of the World in Riyadh is noooo joke! And I climbed that!!! See pics/vid on IG for details.

2. Still haven’t learned how to properly put on a hijab.

3. I know a lil Arabic doe! Mas Mouki?

4. As hot as it is (90+ everyday), I love to sit outside for lunch.

5. Sand and someone else’s hair will always find their way into your apartment.

6. For Me, 2014 is The Year of the Discomfort Zone!

7. Women are awesome!  I’ve met some dope, beautiful women out here who remind me that there’s more work to be done and more life to live!

8. In 2014, I have a pen pal. Lol, memba those??!!

9. I’ts 115 degrees as I’m typing this.  Now, where  in NY have you seen a dang 46 Celsius on the forecast??

10. Having dinner at an Eritrean family’s home has been my most memorable, traumatizing, and hilarious experience in Saudi Arabia thus far! See the Gram for deets.

11.Yeah women are awesome and all that good stuff from #7, but having my own apartment has DEF made the difference.  With all the time we have to spend together (work, travel, etc) I need my space!

12. I know how to make chicken and rice Somali style for at least 4 people! Yes, I’m hype.

13. My apartment has room for me to walk around, breathe, store things and more. I know, difficult concept for my hometown folk.

14. This journey is so much more than location. God is using this place as a vessel for Him to work on/in me.  It ain’t all been pretty, but it’s all been worth it.

15. People out here don’t seem interested in pop culture like we are back home.  Guess that means I shouldn’t be either huh? Oh.

16. I think my Arabic teacher (who is Yemeni) is one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. Never wears makeup or earrings, hair always tied back, super cool, and can teach some Arabic!

17. I couldn’t have appreciated this journey 10, 5, or 2 years ago. God be knowing!

18. Coming here with just the basics (5 skirts, 5 shirts-see Feb posts) and looking REAL basic (can someone do my hair? Diane Bailey??) has helped me really see me without the things I probably thought made me…feel me? (say that 3x fast lol)

19. To the person like me, who often feels ordinary, remember God is extraordinary and YOU are not exempt from the magnitude of His blessings.  This journey is for you too. *Cues Mary Mary’s “Ordinary People”

20. June’s postings will be courtesy of…Thailand!  Thanks in advance for your prayers.  Can’t wait to get dirty 😉

 

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April Baby!!!

1. My birthday was epic!! Can you say you survived getting kicked in the booty by a camel in the desert on your bornday??!! Oh okay.

2. Stores in the mall open at 4PM on Friday…PM!!!  Huh??!!

3. If you know me, you know I’m a fast walker…but yeah, Saudis don’t roll like that, I call it the Saudi Stroll, it tries my patience, but reminds me to slow down.

4. I love and appreciate this place, the challenges, and experiences.  I wouldn’t take this journey back for anything!

5. I learned the Biker Shuffle line dance in Saudi!! BK/NY, shame on you for not puttin me on!

6. Bought my first humidifier out here-the need for quality air is real!

7. You will hear many expats (non locals) complain about anything they can complain about here.  Of those I’ve encountered, none have been deported, deployed or forced to come!  I’m more mindful of the conversations I entertain.

8. iPhone’s and Saudi water don’t mix.  Only had it a year, but RIP 4/25/2014.  I miss ol’ school communication sometimes!

9. I am more adventurous than I thought.

10. I’m nothing without God.

11. We celebrated The Resurrection on Good Friday.

12. I love Grace Outreach Church, Riyadh!!  

13. Buying Chuck Taylor’s out here made me feel like home-the little things.

14. THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE EBC!!!!  I love and miss my home team!

15. Sometimes I underestimate the magnitude of this experience because I’m in it, but it’s pretty incredible because our God is like that.

16. God is helping me in my unbelief.

17. I bring lunch to work every day!!!

18. Being here makes me realize living don’t have to be hard everyday!

19. I’m still relying on the free internet, as I type this from the roof lol.

20. Admittedly, I am more concerned about what’s going on in the world now than I was before I left.

Sand all around me!

Sand all around me!

 

March: 20 NotSoRandoms

Nightlife in Saudi! lol! Outside Najd Village-Traditional Saudi Restaurant

Nightlife in Saudi! lol! Outside a traditional Saudi Restaurant

1. Currently no recycling- could it be why Riyadh is one of the most polluted cities in the world?- pray for my lungs y’all!!

2. For women- the art of not tripping over your floor length skirt and/or abaya is a skill one must master for survival 😉

3. Saudi women (in their floor length skirts) ALL have BODY for DAYZZZ!! I never saw this kinda body before…and it’s natural!!!  

4. There’s a water hose in every bathroom and wherever my next home is, I’ll need to have a hose in the bathroom too. 

5. They ain’t into green veggies, but there’s no shortage of  rice, dates, and meat!!

6. There are Black Saudis. I’m sure there’s history behind that, but I’ve met some chocolate sistas born & raised here, which I hadn’t considered.

7. I don’t feel out of place here.  Kids love to stare, but they do that everywhere 🙂 

8. I am safe-we gotta see the world folks! That’s how we understand what’s really going on in countries we don’t know about. Of course, I walk with purpose, I’m prayerful, etc. but I’m not fearful out here.

9. Mosquitoes out here are no respecter of person, home or body part-anyone can get got.

10. The shower is not meant for your comfort, but your cleanliness, hence the 20 min hot to cold time.

11. Sandstorms will force schools to close early, I don’t think I’ve seen the worst but the flooding is real!

12. Chicken Kabsa is the main dish here (think chicken and rice).

13. I now understand why ahem, “some” cabbies in NY drive the way they do.

14. Groceries are really cheap- I buy local 😉

15. The students call every teacher, “Teacher”

16. Only met one other BKer out here.

17. Prayer time will shut everything down!!! Don’t get caught shopping in the store-you WILL wait till it’s over, gates down and all!

18. We’re now 7hrs ahead of NY.  My work week is Sunday-Thursday.  Friday is the Islamic holy day.

19. I’ve been safely going to church every Friday since I’ve been in Saudi Arabia!!! The worship is serious!! God is out here y’all!!!

20. I’ve learned to love and appreciate the sound of my speaking voice since I’ve been here-the Saudi girls love it, they say “Teacher, beautiful voice!”

 

February: My 20 Thoughts In No Particular Order

1. For international flights-pack light or be embarrassed at JFK!!

2. For international flights- pack for 1 week if you staying for 1 year.

3. For international flights-basically don’t take anything but you and your ID.

4. Get your music, phone, plug, toiletry life together a few weeks in advance of leaving.  Handling business outside the US is a different kinda challenge!

5. They fed me well on my flight- shout out to Etihad Airways!

6. On the flight from NY, this Indian boy asked if I had a mom, I guess he thought I was young and couldn’t understand why I was traveling alone- made me a lil emotional, didn’t cry tho! Lol.

7. Bahrain, where I went for my medical and visa, felt like a vacation.

8. My first night in the hotel in Bahrain, the fire alarm went off at 3am, which made me feel at total ease in the Middle East!

9. My first full day in Bahrain, some new teachers found my room and invited me to dinner.  I’ve never been alone since.

10. I was never alone on this journey to begin with. God is ever present!!

11. Getting the medical work done was quite an experience, they want it ALL-yes, ALL! (eat yo fiber!!)

12. Perspective!! Some of the best advice I got was to be flexible, patient, and open!!  This has been helping me have a great experience!!

13. I rode cross country!! No really!  We drove from Bahrain (a country, if you didn’t know…hek I didn’t!)  to Saudi in 4 hours.

14. To get to work on time, I have to be on the bus by 7:10am.  For those of you who know, praise God! I’ve made every bus w 2 min to spare! Still working on it.

15. I loved every warm fuzzy/encouragement note, thank y’all!!! 

16. The school I work at is aesthetically beautiful, alas everything that glitters… 😉

17. You can save good money in KSA!  Ask me why…

18. As a woman, for a successful stay, you will have to exercise a level of dependency, which ain’t all bad!

19. These students talk A LOT, dang lol!  Generally not disrespectful, they just be talking!!!

20. As corny as I am, being from NY+being from BK= super cool points out here!!! Saudi ppl recognize NY more and the expats recognize BK-interesting.

Hijabbing it in Bahrain!

Hijabbing it in Bahrain!

This Ain’t Buzzfeed, But…

No Worries Here!

No Worries Here!

 

Good People,

It’s been a long time coming, but I never forgot you!  I realize it’s important for me to share this experience for different reasons, so here’s the journey from my perspective.  I appreciate you for reading…

I’m not tech savvy like I want to be, but I’m trying, so hopefully WordPress will be a go!  I’m also not tryna copy other styles, but since I’m no writer and you have lives, I thought a list would be easier for all. So I compiled 20 things each month I learned, discovered or reflected on while on my journey to KSA since February.  Be encouraged, inspired, and smile at my corny!

Blessings,

A.