For those unemployed expat women who come to Riyadh accompanying their husbands who have jobs, compound life is very quiet. Aside from sometimes hearing kids playing on the street, it's just always quiet, always sunny, and it can be isolating if you allow yourself to stay cooped up. For those who are more introverted and lean on others to pull them into a social network, it can be lonely.
On the flipside, those who attend compound events and go on the shopping bus regularly can find themselves quite busy socializing. Some women get really into hashing and desert trips. Some get onto the coffee morning circuit and even make good money selling their crafts or sausages, or what not. And a lot of women elect to sign up for a teaching job at an international school, though the hours can be bad and the pay isn't high.
For many, all the available quiet time could drive you insane, though I view it a bit differently. Riyadh is usually a place of transition for couples and families - and the quiet affords you all the opportunity to indulge in the hobbies that you've always wanted to pursue, and gives you time to reflect, something you usually don't have time for when you live in the West. And as always, time away from home gives you an appreciation for the luxuries you've had the good luck to grow up with.
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