بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
On the bus ride home today my colleague and friend “M” was telling me that she is still without a key for the outside door of our apartment building. I told her that I had one and she asked me if she could borrow it to make a copy. I said sure but that I would walk with her to have it done because I needed to stop by the ATM to check if my salary had been deposited anyways.
M is the girl who went to the Hayat mall with me when I needed to buy a dress and shoes for the wedding that I attended. She is also one of the first girls that I met at the university my first day. She actually walked me to an entirely different building because I didn’t know where to go. It is a gesture that I won’t forget.
As we walked around the corner she stopped in front of the door to a shop and asked me if I had been in before. I said no and she quickly opened the door to go inside. I realized that it was a sweets shop. There were chocolates, breads and Arabic style sweets. The store was called Sounblah Al Rawdah Sweets & Bakery سنبلة الروضة مخابز وحلويات
Everything looked so delicious and fresh. M asked one of the men behind the counter for a small plate with a variety of items. When she finished I decided to do the same. I was excited to try them. The man behind the counter offered us a small piece to try and it was perfectly sweet.
After our purchases at the sweets shop we moved on to have the key copied. It took less than 5 minutes and cost 5 riyals.
We then stopped by a small shop for linens, blankets and other such things. M’s mom is actually arriving tomorrow to spend some time with her here and she needed to pick up a blanket for her.
The funniest thing about going into these small shops is that sometimes the men working there don’t speak English. It ends up being an awkward conversation where we try to explain what we want by mixing a few Arabic words into our English sentences. For example, our entrance into the key shop began with M saying “مفتاح copy?” (مفتاح means key) and at the linen shop she was actually looking for a duvet cover so we came up with “butaneyah cover?” (بطانية means blanket). Neither of these two phrases actually worked without a bunch of gestures and attempts at explaining, but in the end we got what we needed.
I told M that next time we go out for something we have to make a list of the Arabic words that we might need to avoid all of the confusion. It just goes to show that communication is possible even with language barriers. The people here try to understand and usually if they can’t they ask someone who they know might be able to.
By the way, it is now the weekend here. Time to sit back, have a cup of tea, do my grading for this past week and catch up on sleep.
Praying for your health and happiness!