Meeting Y’s Dad

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

 

Late Friday night Y told me that his dad and sister might drive to Riyadh to see me the next day.  Around 7 am on Saturday morning I got a message from Y’s sister, H, saying that they had just started driving from Ha’il. I had been anxiously waiting their arrival all morning, while sleeping on and off, since I hadn’t had much that night.

 

At 12pm Y told me to go check outside for their car. As I walked out, they pulled up. H got out and greeted me, hugging me tightly. Y’s Dad approached me with a smile, took my hand and kissed my cheek three times while asking me how I was doing. It was my first time meeting him in person.

 

Dad unloaded bags and boxes from the trunk of the car and H helped me bring them inside. After we finished, we got in the car and started driving to go have lunch. Dad started talking to me in Arabic and I tried my best to respond, but H saw me struggling and told Dad that I understand some Arabic, but I don’t know how to speak it. I tried to answer in English at least, in hopes that H would be able to translate a bit for me, which she did.

 

We drove for about an hour trying to find the restaurant that H wanted to go to. Dad stopped 3 or 4 times to ask pedestrians for directions, none of which actually knew the restaurant that we were talking about. Eventually we found the right road and were on our way.
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It was a Chinese restaurant called Diamond. When we entered the door, Dad was hesitant to walk because the floor was a kind of clear glass that looked like water underneath. We all laughed for a moment and continued upstairs to the family section. In Saudi Arabia a lot of the restaurants have a section specifically for families that usually have a curtain or some kind of partition. That way the women who cover their faces don’t have to try and stay covered while eating at the same time. I really like the privacy that it gives.
We ordered and the food started coming to the table. H had ordered a kind of beef that they brought on a skilled that was actually still sizzling. It smelled delicious. We ate and enjoyed. H left the table for a few minutes and her phone started ringing. I handed it to Dad, who told me to answer it, that it was N (One of Y’s other sisters, who is my age).
“Hello!” I said
     “Alo”
“Hi, how are you”
     “Ahlan”
and then I realized that it was Mom, not N
“Kif halek, youmah”
[How are you, my mom?]
     “Alhamdullah, ana bekhair…kif halek?”
     [Thank God, I’m good. How are you?]
“Alhamdullah, ana bekhair…umm H…hammam”
[I wanted to tell her that H was in the bathroom]
     “H fi hamam?”
     [H is in the bathroom?]
“eey”
Yes
     “Weyn Baba?”
     [Where’s Dad?]
“hena”
[here]
then she asked me to give Dad the phone.

 

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After we finished eating, Htold me that we would go to the mall (Riyadh Gallery) and go to Hyper Panda, which is like Walmart. Dad dropped us off at the mall and we walked around to a few clothing stores. H bought me a pair of slippers, and a long navy skirt for work. We then heard the call for prayer, which meant that the stores would close for 20-30 minutes. We sat at a table near a Starbucks stand and relaxed a bit. Soon after, the stores opened up again and we went to the store Zara. H bought two sweaters for me, a knit pink pullover with a little gold zipper at the neck in the back and a slouchy style knit black sweater (that I have worn over my collared shirt everyday at work since).
IMG-20140125-WA0025#1↑ Top Shop, Zara and more…

 

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After Zara we went into Panda. H took me around pulling items off the shelves that she felt I would need. It was such a relief to have her with me doing that because she knows the products and what brands are better quality. There were some things that she picked up that are so useful, but I never would have known to get them myself. There is special washing detergent for abayas, because the fabric can be quite delicate. There is a gel and liquid cleaning product that can be combined to better clean the ceramic floor.

 

H tipped two workers from Panda store to push our two heavily loaded carts through the mall and out the door to meet Dad. They loaded the bags into the trunk and we started driving back to my apartment. At one point H was on the phone and Dad looked back at me smiling saying something in Arabic. I think he asked me where I live or how to get there and I just smiled and shook my head. I should have said la aaref, youba, (I don’t know, Dad)  but the words didn’t come in that moment. Alhamdullah الحمد لله (thank God), we found it without a problem anyways.

 

As we pulled up to the building, the security guard, Ali started walking towards us. H and I started bringing the bags inside and Dad talked with him as he took bags out of the trunk. After a few minutes, Ali began bringing the bags and placing them inside the front door for us. H stayed in my apartment for a few while we put some of the things away and organized the kitchen. I think Dad went to pray.

 

Not too long after there was a knock at the door. I cracked it open to answer and heard Ali’s voice saying “Baba hena” (Dad is here). H put on her abaya, hugged me tightly and told me that if I needed anything just to let her know and that she would come.

 

There was one thing that was missing for me during their visit, and that was due to the fact that I couldn’t talk much with them. I felt like I had so many things that I wanted to say, but no words to actually do so. I wanted to thank them for everything. I wanted to tell them how happy I was to see them. I wanted to tell them how blessed I felt to have them with me and as my family.

 

Alhamdullah الحمد لله (thank God), H does speak some English and she is so lovely at trying to have conversations with me. I really, truly love her for that. I just wanted her to know how much the visit meant to me and how much more comfortable I felt after having some time with her and Dad.

 

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fruits, veggies, juices, cheese and more…IMG-20140125-WA0013
snacks, tea, spices, coffee, tea, sugar and more…
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sheets, pillow cases, a fleece blanket & comforter…
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a full set of dishes…
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silverware, knives, cooking utensils and more…
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cups of Arabic coffee and tea…
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a purse, perfume, shampoos, soaps and more…
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Y’s mom even sent me a pair of rubber shoes to wear in the bathroom

 

My fridge was full. The cabinets were full. Mom had sent spices, sugar, coffee and tea. I had new bedding and towels. I had an electric kettle. There was a full set of dishes, a set of silverware and even cooking utensils. There is no way that I could even attempt to list all of the things that Mom had sent for me and all of the things that I got while Dad and H were with me.

 

I’ve spent most of this post talking about the things that I got, but Dad and H drove over 5 1/2 hours to see me. They didn’t come to Riyadh for any other reason but to help me, to make sure that I have what I need and that I’m comfortable. That means so much more than any material item.

 

Just as Y has my family in the USA, I have his family here in KSA. That is such a wonderful feeling.

 

Alhamdullah, Alhamdullah, Alhamdullah
الحمد لله  الحمد لله  الحمد لله
I can’t say it enough. Even if I said it all day long it would not be enough for all that I have been blessed with.

الحمدلله


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3 thoughts on “Meeting Y’s Dad

  1. Salam Alaikum my Sister ❤ This article is so mooving Mashallah. May Allah rewards your family in law with Jennah Ferdoz In'sha'Allah
    I cannot wait to talk with you ! In'sha'Allah soon my sister

  2. I’ve just discovered your blog this evening and am reading through it from the beginning. This post touched me very much. I remember being young and moving away to a new job. How wonderful to have a second family to ease your transition. Lovely. Such a kind and caring visit.

    from the farm in Canada

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