Ten Things I Love & Ten Things I Hate About Saudia

I’ll go back and forth so as to not provide uppers or downers 🙂

LOVE: 1. I can cover my face and NO ONE cares.

I can cover it at work.  At the mall.  In public.  And never once has anyone said “go back where you came from!”  Ironically, this is not where I came from and America is 🙂

HATE: 1. People think I’m Saudi.

I can get along in Arabic pretty well.  Full conversations, even.  But when someone asks me something really specific, I can’t get it.  I’ve also been yelled at no less than ten times for going with the international workers instead of the Saudis.  I constantly have to yell “HEY! I’m WHITE!”

LOVE: 2. The FOOD!

OMG it’s so gooooooood! Everything is halal!! And yet still, MIRACULOUSLY, I lost 10 more pounds.

HATE: 2. The drama of getting food

Call a driver, take the driver to a restaurant, get the food, come home with the food, eat the food.  No thank you.

LOVE: 3. A majority of the people

Never met nicer people in my entire life.  Everyone is happy to help me.

HATE: 3. A minority of the people

They make the *tsk tsk* noise at me sometimes.  Maybe too much of my eyes show? Maybe the top of my foot peeked out? Sorry people, but I’m doing my best.  And some of you *tsk tsk*ers aren’t as holy as you think. Also, in one meeting a man absolutely REFUSED to look at me the entire time or speak to me EVENTHOUGH I was the person he should have been speaking to.  I hated him.  He had an evil twinkle.  The boys at work defended me.

LOVE: 4. Not driving

Woah, it’s really nice to not have to drive in this city where the driving is PSYCHOTIC.

HATE: 4. Getting nauseous in the backseat

If I don’t take an SUV, there is no doubt I will puke within 3 minutes.

LOVE: 5. The houses

I’ve only visited a few of my friends at their particular houses, but woah! They were gorgeous mashaAllah!

HATE: 5. Having outfits with no where to go

The social scene here for me is still very slowly improving – I wish I had tons of friends here that we have stuff to do all day, but I just don’t.

LOVE: 6. Work

The people I work with are HILARIOUS and we’re all a gang like we knew each other for years. (Inside jokes GALORE! To the point we bust out laughing during the meetings).  They literally keep me sane when Hate #6 happens.


So, I guess we can say I did this to myself by accepting a government job, but OMG it’s like pulling teeth to do ANYTHING.  I just now got a bank account today.  It took a whole month.  I lived on $700.  I’ve never lived on $700 in my entire life for a whole month.  Alhamdulilah I made it through, but I couldn’t transfer money! It was tragic.  My iqama took forever to come.  My housing is still a messed up situation. UGH! Thank God for Love #6.

LOVE: 7. Improving my Arabic

It’s gotten a legit 10% better since I’ve been here – and it’s been just one month.  Imagine after a year, inshaAllah!

HATE: 7. I kinda miss English

Today I spoke Arabic for 82% of my day.  Just spoke English to the Subway guy.  I want to speak English people.  I miss my language 😦

LOVE: 8. The humor

I get it soooooo much better than I get white people jokes.  Hate to say it.

HATE: 8. How rude workers are

For example, at the bank, they needed to see my iqama.  Instead of doing the American style, “How may I help you? May I please see your iqama?” the guy just said “Gimme that”  I wanted to cry.  I miss the nice way.

LOVE: 9. Making new friends

HATE: 9. Gahwa Arabi

I realllllly am ashamed to tell you this, but I HATE Arabic coffee, astaghfirAllah.  It does not taste good AT ALL.  I don’t know how you guys drink this stuff.  And, I am constantly being offered it as if it is the supply of life.  BLAH.  Turkish coffee, please! P.S. I miss Starbucks.

LOVE: 10. A new culture

I thought I knew Saudi culture before I came.  I was pretty well prepared for an American, but still the culture continues to surprise me every day.   It makes me laugh, it makes me cry.  Just like American culture.

HATE: 10. Other foreigners

I can’t stand how they walk.  Please, if you’re moving, keep moving.  If you’re stopping, move to the side and stop.  Also, don’t eat spaghetti at 7 am.  Also, good for you that you can do arts and crafts but if you can’t make a graph, I will hit you.  Not trying to be racist, but they drive me a little nuts.

I once read a quote that said, “I often wondered why birds could go anywhere in the world and yet they stay close to home.  I asked myself the same thing.”  Life is short and this world is huge.


15 thoughts on “Ten Things I Love & Ten Things I Hate About Saudia

  1. Slam Alikom ,

    I guess this was very interesting experience. I believe that there’s not any perfect place in the world. You ,who can say if the pros are more than the cons or not. In my humble opinion pros in Saudi are much more than the cons. I’ve experienced that before as I’ve been to Saudi before(my company has a branch there) and believe me I hated most of the things you hated as well and I guess lots of our Saudi brothers do the same . The good thing is in shaa Allah you can easily overcome it. I’d say most of these cons will gradually fade away and my advice would be
    1- find your self a good , pious and intellectual spouse with whom you can share this load and together you can socialize better – but do that wisely and don’t rush your decisions- .
    2-find a Starbucks store close to you.
    Saudi is a good place for a family. At the end I’ve to say that you ma shaa Allah , are brave enough to complete what you started, so go till the end in shaa Allah.
    Slam Alikom

  2. Asalamu alaikum

    May Allah Ta’aala keep His guiding hand shaded over you and withing His mercy,guidance and love- Ameen Discovered this blog for the first time, good piece of work

    Allah is the Writer of our stories and it’s never over no matter how good or bad it gets, till our Author decides to end it. Wish you all the best with your story.

    p.s… not looking at a ghair mahram is a good thing neh? The Quran advices us to lower our gaze sooo maybe that chap wasn’t trying to be evil but instead good.


    1. Wa alaykum salaam,

      Jazak Allah khair.

      You’re right – but there’s a difference between not looking at me but still acknowledging my existence. 🙂 Wish we could have had a happy medium – especially because I’m completely covered with nothing for him to see but my eyes. 🙂

  3. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, it was informative and made me smile a lot haha 😀

    May Allah give you all which you desire 🙂

  4. Assalamu Alaykom
    Saudis/Arabs/North Africans are classified as white by the USA Government.
    Were all the same race and it is called the human race because we all come from Prophet Adam and His wife Eve
    Why do you keep calling yourself white, Don’t you try pink in the Sun anyways?

    1. Wa alaykum salaam – You’re very right. If you’ll notice on my “Warnings” page, I mention that I generalize a lot. It’s for comic relief, not to be judgmental or stereotypical. And yes, I if nothing else in the sun I turn pink.

      1. Just forget about your skin color and other people’s skin color. The fact that your a Muslima now is all what is going to matter in the Day of Judgement in’shaa’ALLAH. ALLAH AL-AZEEM created all skin colors and ALLAH AL-AZEEM loves all of ALLAH’s creations. By the way the Saudis are paying you too little money , while they the Saudis pay a lot of money to non-muslim people from America, their taking advantage of you because your a muslima. You should come back to America were your paid a decent wage in’shaa’ALLAH.

  5. May ALLAH AL-AZEEM shower you with infinite blessings always and infinite rewards always and protect you from all evil always and make you happy always and make you successful always. Aameen!

  6. Salam,
    I know that your way of writing is comic like and that you are not judging/insulting anyone. However, I did get offended in some of your “hate” points. Sonethings are just “3aib”.

    1. I’m sorry to hear you say that. I don’t mean to offend – obviously that’s not my intention, but my intention is instead to show the world my own side to the story. Some people may hate that. It’s fine by me. Some people may love it – that’s fine by me too. The point is that I’m not perfect. I do many bad things that I seek forgiveness for from Allah. I generalize and stereotype because its my opinion and my stupidity 🙂 Overall, I love it here, if I didn’t make that clear. There are bad aspects, which I feel as a human I have the right to comment on. There are things I like a million times more than America too that I commented on. My intentions aren’t bad and that’s how I sleep at night.

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