بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
An interesting difference here in KSA is the fact that the work week starts Sunday morning and ends Thursday night. Friday and Saturday make up the weekend instead of Saturday and Sunday.
When I got back from work on Thursday after my first week of teaching, I threw myself onto the couch and messed around on my phone. I had received a few messages on whatsapp from”K”, an American girl here in Riyadh. She was telling me about her move into a new apartment and how nothing was really finished yet. Moving and furnishing an apartment can be so stressful. I told her that she was welcome to come to my apartment anytime.
A few minutes later she asked me if she could come that night. I jumped off the couch and started to clean up around the apartment just in case she did come. I was excited because I have been waiting to meet her since I arrived here in Riyadh. Not long after she confirmed that she would be able to come by and that she would bring dinner.
I made Arabic coffee, tea and put out some dates and snacks. I changed out of my work clothes and finished cleaning up the apartment. Just as I finished I got a message from K saying that she had arrived and was outside.
I put on my abaya and hijab and went outside to greet her. A car pulled up in front of the gate and a man got out of the driver side to open the trunk. A moment later the passenger side door opened up.
“S”? she asked
“Yup!” I replied
Her husband handed her a couple of bags and she followed me into the building.
We laughed for a minute talking about how it is different meeting someone for the first time here. Usually you don’t know what the other person looks like and a lot of women cover their face, so until you get inside you still don’t know what they actually look like.
We got inside the apartment, took off our abayas and started talking. We put out the food that she had brought on the coffee table and enjoying it, talking between bites. She had brought chicken and rice from a famous restaurant called Al Romansiah. There were also sambusas (meat filled flaky pastries) and two desserts (a creme caramel and a Saudi style bread pudding of sorts).
After we finished eating and after more conversation I cleaned up the table and brought over the coffee, tea and snacks that I had set up. We enjoyed and just kept talking. K is so nice and funny. She was wonderful at giving me advice about being here and offered her support.
K was around from about 8 pm until almost 2 am. It is amazing how much time can pass when you are spending it with someone who is so easy to talk to.
Another blessing in the form of a new friend.