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KatRiyadh

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Excuse Me, Are You One of Us?

Sometimes, when the sun is shining and you are on vacation, you decide to grab your stuff, finally put on that swim suit again and go finish that English reading assignment by the pool. But as it so happens, you end up doing something completely different instead. I did manage to get my things together and make it down to the pool, but just as I lied down and tried to continue reading Top…

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Riyadh Spring Festival

Friday morning in Riyadh. I have two days to myself so what could I possibly be doing? Homework I guess, but as you may have read previously, I have recently discovered an interest in going outside and just walking around town wherever there is a sidewalk. One of my friends mentioned the Riyadh Spring Festival to me, so I thought: Great! Let’s get outside, look at flowers and mix into the crowd…

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Lost in Riyadh-Blog

The ‘Women May Not Walk on the Street Alone’ Myth

I have noticed that a lot of the people who are new to Riyadh are convinced that women are not allowed to leave the house alone, including any attempts at walking down the street all by themselves. Intimidated by the initial culture shock after my arrival, mindful of the harshness of cultural expectations following me every step of the way, I began asking around among my Saudi friends whether I should dare…

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Wearing Hijab for a Day

Looking at foreigners’ opinions on Saudi Arabia, I noticed how the most concerning thing for women, is the idea of having to cover one’s hair. If you ever ask a western woman about why she would not accompany her husband to Saudi Arabia, the answer is very likely to be: “I do not want to cover up.”, unless she actually decides to come along. Yesterday night I saw part of an interview…

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What to Be Grateful For?

I have not been writing anything for a while now and thought that I could use some practice again.  Maybe even to just  allow my brain to “breathe” again after cramming for all sorts of assessments, hoping that technology won’t give up on me again three hours before the deadline. Just as I was looking through my Facebook news feed, seeing how my former Kosovar classmates, now seniors, are enjoying themselves in Dubai,…

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Cultural Pas Faux: Shaking Hands

Today, one of my western friends seemed to be very surprised about the fact that in Saudi Arabia men and women who are not related to each other do not shake hands, as it is, generally speaking, socially unacceptable. I can imagine that some of you may be very surprised as well when finding out about this, so I thought that a post about this cultural norm may end up being helpful…

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Learn to Dance in the Rain Before You Get on Your Jet Ski

Even though it is only the beginning of March right now, it gets very warm here, especially at midday. I see girls come to school in dresses and skirts and whenever I go outside covered up, I already start feeling uncomfortable temperature wise. Before coming here I, as many other globetrotters, had the issue of what to take with me to Riyadh and what to leave behind. Knowing about how hot it…

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Slices of Life

One day in my journalism class back in Junior year, my teacher suggested that we add a “slices of life” section to our school’s news blog but whether we actually did that or not, I can’t remember. Basically, a slices of life section contains short things that…let’s say just happened. Maybe somebody said something very funny. If so, a journalist can write that funny quote down and here you have your slices…

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Buildings and Their Nicknames

I am pretty sure that in any city in the world, you will find some building that has some sort of special nickname, given by the people who live in that city. Only a couple of days after my arrival in Riyadh, I learned that even here there is a building that has a rather amusing nickname. Just as in Berlin we have the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of the Cultures…

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The Bright Side of the Dress Code

It’s always the same old story. You go to the mall with a solid plan of what it is you need to get and all you want to do is get in, buy what you need and get out again.  Yes, this type of woman actually exists… But if you are a group of women on a sunny day in Riyadh and in a fabulous mood, you may end up buying something…

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