Everybody who has spent time in a different country knows that expat life is not quite like anything else in the world. The confusion of the first few days and weeks, the slow, but steady process of acclimation, the little peculiarities and quirks that might strike you about your new surroundings: almost any situation you encounter can make for a great story. If you are so inclined and want to blog about it, of course!
Our InterNations recommended blog section features talented expat bloggers from around the world. Their offerings to the blogosphere have been selected for their great entries and high quality, whether they may be funny, informative, interesting, deeply personal or a combination of all of the above.
Let’s hear from our featured blogger in Riyadh:
Riyadh is very different to any place I’ve lived before so there were adjustments to be made. Certainly some of the local ideas can be hard to fathom because the basis of their thinking seems so vastly different to my own. At these times it helps to remind myself of numerous cliches’ such as ‘variety is the spice of life’ and ‘if you’re different hooray for you’.
Trying to adjust to the language always puts me in funny situations. I'm always saying the wrong thing it seems. My daughter's Arabic teacher was over and I served her some tea. She asked me "how are you today" and instinctively I told her "you're welcome" expecting that she would have said thank you for the tea. I also have a mother in law who doesn't speak any English, so I'm always embarrassing myself with my misuse of the Arabic language.
By the time I got here, I had developed a circle of Facebook friends who were also in Riyadh, mostly other Western women married to Saudis. I was so excited to meet them in person and am so glad I was able to find them before I moved!
There are several things that make my life different from back home. Besides the typical shopping and dining out, I have experienced the woman only spas (Almutaka) and woman only floors in malls (Kingdom Tower).
I think that one can never be fully prepared for living in a new culture with new people because, unless you have visited the place before, what you read mostly online is way different from the way things really are. I wish, however, that I would have practiced some Arabic before coming to Riyadh.