Living with intent, social engagement, learning, growing, giving
If you’ve been following my blog you have noticed by now that throughout the year I get to travel to some interesting places (e.g. Bogota, Bahrain, Quito, Rio). Six weeks ago I spent two weeks in the Americas and upon my return I joyfully plunged into the domestic bliss of life as a wife, mother of two delightful children (5 & 7), friend, sister, daughter, and amateur indoor soccer player. Into those delightful 6 weeks I squeezed:
On Saturday our tranquil life was shattered when I tore myself away amid floods of tears and flew to Saudi Arabia for a 5-week work trip. I am filled with doubt and regret about leaving my children for such a long time but it was a conscious choice to take on this project and we don’t grow by staying at home wearing the same groove… I have now settled into my life here, with rising before dawn, 9 hours of work, returning directly to my apartment, then a quick walk next door to the supermarket before it closes for prayer time and then directly back to my apartment. I don’t dare venture any further than the supermarket on my own and I’m not allowed to go anywhere with anyone other than a male relative (none of whom are with me).
It seems that all of my reading about the Arab world, e.g. modern history, autobiographies, novels, etc, travel to the Middle East, and studying of Arabic language, has been preparing me for this trip. I’ve never lived alone, nor had restricted mobility or been unable to socialise or exercise so this is a unique experience for me in every sense. I’m finding enjoyment in cooking because I have lots of time and I love the flavours of Arab cuisine, after not listening to music for years I’m enjoying music using Grooveshark, and I’m loving the very warm, sunny weather.
I’ve been trying to craft a blog post where I can share some of my experiences without placing myself at risk. I’ve decided to share some of the minutiae of my highly restricted daily life without details or photos as a protection measure. The safest thing to share then are snippets of conversations like:
The supermarket is well stocked and carries some products that I would buy at home, like some reasonably fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh full cream milk, unsweeted yoghurt (laban), olive oil, and delightful Arab ingredients like fat olives, haloumi, lemons, a stupendous array of dates, and a lovely stand offering a huge range of raw and roasted nuts, spices, like in the Manama souk. As I stood and gazed at the large range of different types of tea I felt foolish for having brought tea with me but I certainly didn’t see anything to match the extraordinary single-source, Kenyan Duchess Grey tea by Willimanson Tea that my husband very kindly bought for me. I searched for very dark chocolate and was disappointed by the small range, with only one 85% dark chocolate and none of my favourite brands but a very large array of highly sweetened American chocolates fill the shelves.
I expect to be blogging quite often considering the amount of time on my hands but I wonder what I will find to talk about?!