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The Women Who Did it

Sometimes during my stay in Riyadh I found myself in situations where no matter where I went, I heard moans, complaints and the excited voices of those who could not stop talking about how they would go home for vacation soon, listing all of the (by Saudi standards inappropriate) things they would do once they got there, in great detail. I was not so much surprised to find that the vast majority…

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Why Do You Write About the Good Things?

Those of you who have been reading my blog might have noticed that the significant majority of my articles on this blog have a positive tone to them. Considering the fact that I have dedicated this site to live in Saudi Arabia, which is unfortunately not seen in a positive light by many people from the outside, many of my readers probably ask themselves why I am keeping a blog that talks…

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Ma’a Salama Riyadh: Last Post Maybe

By the time I am writing this I have already left Riyadh and maybe even for good. There were quite a few things happening but not as much that I could have written about up until now. Things like the last exams or prom and in the end, graduation. I must say that  despite all of the differences between life in Riyadh and life anywhere else, I miss Saudi Arabia. I miss…

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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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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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Red Rose Contraband

Many people who decided to live in another culture and who have done research on the internet before moving to their new home, may have found that some things ended up being different than expected upon arrival. There are quite some things that appear strange about Saudi Arabia as well. A couple of months ago, I read that smart phones and (Barbie) dolls are banned in the kingdom. Once I found myself…

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Coffee Mornings, Stroller Tanks and Other Stories

What would your first thought be if you got out of the house, walked up to the street of your compound and saw dozens and I mean dozens of buses standing there neatly along the sidewalk? Mass evacuation? That’s probably what you think but no, that just means that a bunch of women from all over the city have assembled on your compound today because it’s coffee morning time. A coffee morning…

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On Prom Dresses and Strange Opening Hours

My grandfather, whom I unfortunately never got to meet personally, always said that you can have several wedding dresses, as you can get married several times, but you will only have one single prom in your life. With that in mind, and because I really needed a reason to leave the house, I found myself at one of Riyadh’s shopping malls, which I usually visit like museums because pretty much everything sold…

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Ahlan Wa Sahlan to Riyadh!

It was a chilly day in September and my alarm clock was ringing at quarter to nine. My spacious room in the basement was nearly empty. The one suitcase packed, my almost ancient backpack looking like it would explode from all the things in it and my long, black skirt, that my grandmother sewed for me just for this occasion in one day before I left Belarus, were all lined up along…

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