Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Goodbye Foreverrrrrr!!!

Well well well. It's been four years since my first brush with Riyadh, and over a year since I refused to go back to last visited Saudi.  My husband and I still live in a place with palm trees and lots of sunshine, except this time it's somewhere people actually visit for fun.  Now that our ties are severed from the sandbox, it's time to give my weird travel experience a proper funeral!

We are gathered here today to say goodbye to Saudi Life. When I first met Saudi, I was excited and anxious to explore this exotic relationship. She was veiled in mystery, ancient traditions, filled with bizarre rules, and every day I saw a quirk or some notable event that made me giggle, or annoyed, sometimes both. I lounged by pools, attended parties in the diplomatic quarter, met people from around the world, and loved our honeymoon period together.  It ended in about 4 months.

And then I grew to dislike...nay! to despise Saudi Life, because not only was she mean, capricious, strict, unreasonable, overbearing, extreme, (etc etc), but she carried the one deadly characteristic that almost drove me to an early grave: she was boring. Nope, it wasn't tripping over the oven-like abayas, it wasn't the eternal wait for drivers that were never on time, the countless logistical gaps, the human rights violations, nah... I could live with all that, but the one thing I couldn't stand was feeling mind numbingly bored.  She was a cruel master. Take it from me Saudi, sealing off half your available workforce, wrapping them in black fabric, and largely relegating them to mom duties under the guise of piety is totally third world.  Stop the insanity, just give them the car keys already. 

In truth, Saudi Life left me with some great experiences, some horrible experiences, wonderful friends, expanded horizons, and all round general mixed feelings...mixed to negative...ok negative. I can't lie it's my last blog entry. Some cultural gaps are just too large to fill with hot air about embracing new things and all that kumbaya nonsense.  But one solid good thing that came out of surviving Saudi was that it made me grateful for everything I have right now, and had before but didn't appreciate at the time.  To all of you still making it work day by day in Saudi, I wish you bottomless patience and superhuman mental willpower.  And seriously...a real bottle of scotch ;) 

RIP Saudi Life