With new friends

I finally got around to inviting the girls from work over for some late night tea and snacks. I’ve been really blessed to have met such lovely ladies at KSU and it’s amazing how well we get along while we have only known each other for a short time. Here are some of the snapchat photos from that night.

The spread
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Green tea with mint
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Cake from Eman
Snapchat--2886039132974171407Gift from Shazia
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Gift from Fateha
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I was surprised by some housewarming gifts. I was given gorgeous serving dishes and a dainty little silver tea set. They’re so lovely and the perfect things for entertaining on nights like the one that I shared with these girls.

Working abroad allows me to constantly meet new people from all over the world. There are people who come and go, but then there are the fantastic people that I know I will have to do my best to keep in contact with when we go separate ways. This is a beautiful thing about working and living in another country. You find people that you have connections with and at the same time there is almost always incredibly interesting conversation as we all come from very different lives and backgrounds.

الحمد لله‎

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First Iftar Invitation

First Iftar (Breakfast) Invitation

I recently went to visit my friend B’s family here in Riyadh. I spend some time with her younger sister, mother and aunt. All who are very kind and welcoming. I regret not going to visit them sooner and I promised that I would visit more often after I return from my upcoming trip.
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When I arrived it was near to the time for the Maghrib Athan (when we break our fast) and they began bringing out sweets, dates, coffee, tea, water and juices.

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I was served endless cups of arabic coffee while having conversation with her sister in English and her aunt in Arabic. Well, she spoke Arabic and I understood, haha.
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After a while we went to the dining room to sit for the meal. There were soups, a potato dish, sambas, french fries, fish, foul and bread. Everything was delicious.

I know I usually say this, but it is not the delicious food or hot coffee that makes these times beautiful memories, it is the conversation and sitting with truly kind and inviting individuals.

الحمد لله‎


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Chat and Suhoor with K

Meeting K ☺

Sometimes you just need to meet up with a friend that speaks the same language and shares the same culture.
I’m blessed to have a friend here that shares these things (and more), not to mention she is a really lovely person with a great personality, intelligent mind and kind heart.

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I wore one of the dresses that Y’s mom bought for me while we were in Makkah. It was blue with white and grey patterns and embroidery along the neckline. I think it is Moroccan style as it has a hood.

After iftar (breakfast) Y went to visit some friends and I put out some snacks to share with K. Of course there was Arabic coffee and dates. There was also mini twix, mini galaxy, these delicious wafer squares, chocolate covered dates, chips, biscuits and tea.
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I waited and she arrived as she always does with a big smile and a hug.
We spent the night/morning (10pm to 4:30 am) talking, telling stories & giving advice.
We didn’t even notice the time and ended up cooking a quick suhoor of oatmeal and eggs with only about 20 minutes to go before the adhan (when fasting begins).

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الحمد لله‎


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Evening Visit

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In the past I wrote about my visit with my friend’s family. Her mom was the first one to contact me when I arrived here in Riyadh. I had a chance to spend the day with her family at their home and not long after they took me a long to my first Saudi wedding.

I think it is a common thing here to invite or be invited to visit with others after alMagrib prayer. Two days ago I received a message from my friend’s sister “S” asking me to come for coffee/tea. “S” doesn’t speak a lot of English and I don’t speak much Arabic at all, but we actually managed just fine. We communicated in a mixture of the two languages and I would say we only had to translate a handful of words in the three hours that we spent together.

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When I arrived she brought a custard dish and poured me cups upon cups of Arabic coffee. After a while she uncovered a dish of breads: mini pizzas, cheese filled mini croissants and meat sambusa. Pouring me cups of tea, we chatted, showed each other pictures on our phones and enjoyed the snacks. After a bit she brought out a couple of sodas in glass bottles and we continued talking until I got a call from “Y” to leave.

I really enjoyed her company. It is amazing to me how fast time passes and how easy it is to enjoy the simple moments like this here. In sha Allah (God willing) I have the chance to visit her again very soon.

الحمد لله‎


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Beautiful “B”

 بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم 

I have had such great experiences with the people that I have met since I got here in January, but I recently met someone who I felt instantly connected to.

A couple of weeks ago I received a message on whatsapp from Y’s friend’s wife. She introduced herself and started a chatting with me. After about a half hour she invited me to come to her home to meet her. Around 7pm she sent a driver to come pick me up. When I arrived she met me at the door with a big smile. She welcomed me into the house and we went to sit for coffee and sweets.

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I had made this dessert. It was basically a thin crust covered with Nutella, M&M’s and chopped Kit Kat.

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As is customary, I was offered a cup of Arabic coffee. This time it was served in this delicious little chocolate cup. All while the tables around me were covered with little snacks like cakes, candies, chips and popcorn. B’s mom came in and sat with us for a few minutes and soon after her younger sister did the same.

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After we had quite a bit of time to sit and talk, we went to the dining room to enjoy the dinner that my new friend B’s mom had prepared. She had made a salad, kebsah and jareesh. It was my first time to try Jareesh and I can’t forget how delicious it was. It is a kind of rice that is very wet and creamy with the taste of chicken.

I felt so comfortable with them that when they asked me to stay the night in their home I accepted almost immediately. I felt so welcomed.

The next weekend B invited me again. She said that she was going to her friend’s house and that she wanted me to come.

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Her friend’s house was absolutely beautiful. The table in the sitting room was filled with amazing snacks. Of course there was Arabic coffee, small cakes and chocolates. After that there were sparkling juices, chips with dips, and small breads with cheeses or zaatar. We talked, danced and laughed. At around 2:30 am they brought chicken sandwiches, french fries, mini pizzas and more. Everything was so delicious.

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I stayed the night at B’s house again and the next day when we woke up her mom had prepared a gorgeous lunch. There was a bechamel pasta, salad, kebsa and a dish called gurson (I am not sure about the spelling). They also served fresh fruits and watermelon. After the lunch B asked me if I wanted to go with them to visit their Aunt.

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I was enjoying my time with B and her friends and family so much that there was no way I could say no. B’s aunt is a teacher at a school for Al Quran. She was kind and lovely with me, as were the other members of her family that I met there. Of course I enjoyed more coffee, dates, sweets and snacks and went back to B’s home so full that I almost felt like I needed someone to roll me out the door.

2 weekends with my new friend and I can honestly consider her one of the people that I feel most comfortable with and close to. This is a gift from God and I am more than grateful for this new friendship.

The food is always fantastic, but the company is what makes life beautiful here.

 الحمد لله


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Movie Night

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

20140303_173627The company surprised us with a movie night. We watched The Butler on the roof of our apartment building. It was really fun and the company really went all out. The movie was projected as a big screen on one of the walls, there was bedouin style seating on the floor and a lot of nice snacks.

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There was roasted corn on the cob, marshmallows with chocolate sauce, popcorn and tea. It was so lovely and it seemed like everyone really enjoyed it.

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There were small round tables with candles and as the night went on it got quite cold, so we moved the grills near to the sitting area. When I got back to my apartment my hair and clothes smelled of campfire.

I really hope that they do something like this again.

الحمدلله


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Kabsa, Coffee & Conversation

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.

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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).

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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.

الحمدلله


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My New American Friend: Part 2

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

My new friend “N” came to visit me for the day. I felt a little bit shy asking her to come to my place, because I really don’t have much for entertaining, but I decided that shouldn’t matter and it didn’t.

20140123_135631I had put out the few snacks that I had in my apartment and also a toasted cheese sandwich. When “N” arrived I brought out cups of Nescafe. We sat, talked, listened to music and watched a show or two on the TV.
20140123_123328 I had a few things in my apartment like date filled cookies, chocolate cake rolls with cream, coconut shortbread cookies & cookies with a chocolate and cream.
20140123_194409“N” is so lovely and actually brought some snacks from hers to share with me: Hazelnut cream wafers, caramel waffle wafers & chocolate cookies with cream and strawberry.
20140123_153003She also brought cream cheese sandwiches, strawberry & banana candy sticks & cherry candies.

After about 5 hours of snacking an chatting, we both felt a bit hungry and “N” decided to stay a bit longer, so I cooked for us.
20140123_214043I made rice with onion, tomato & zucchini, with a salad, lebneh and laughing cow cheese.

It is so great to have a friend here who I feel like I can really relate to. We seem to get along so well and the fact that we could sit together for more than 10 hours without getting bored is so fantastic.

I’m looking forward to many more times like this one.

الحمدلله


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My New American Friend

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Tuesday night I had the chance to meet “N” from americaninriyadh.wordpress.com . She invited me to her home for the evening. I was so excited to meet her and now I’m even more ecstatic to have her as a friend here in Riyadh.

Her and her husband came to pick me up around 6pm. I got a call from her saying that she was outside. I unlocked the building door and there she was. “Assalamu alaykum” (Peace be upon you), I said. “Wa alaykum salaam” (And Peace be upon you), she replied. She held out her hand and greeted me Saudi style pressing our right cheeks together while asking each other how things are going like this ↓Two-Muslim-women-greet-ea-007We got in the car and her husband dropped us off at their apartment.  Her apartment is beautiful (ماشاء الله). I stole this picture from her blog so that you can see what I mean 🙂  ↓
20131028-011814When we arrived she brought a tray with Arabic coffee and tons of chocolates, biscuits and sweets. I completely forgot to take a picture because it was so lovely that I just wanted to enjoy it. After a while her husband gave her a call and she went to the door. She came back with a bag full of home cooked foods that her in-laws had prepared.
20140121_221349There was rice, chicken, beef, eggplant with potato, stuffed zucchini, mini wraps, kibbeh, grape leaves and more.
20140121_221354Every item was so delicious. My favorite was the minced beef with eggplant and potato (I forget the name of this dish). The stuffed zucchini was also fantastic (notice how small the zucchini are here).
20140122_000148To top it all off she had a large variety of individual bottles of the juice that I love. I should have tried something new, but I just loved the mixed fruit flavor so much.
20140122_001832We finished the night with some mint tea, crackers and mixed nuts. It was the perfect addition after all of the delicious food.

All I’ve done is tell you about what I had to eat, but in all honesty the best part of my visit was the conversation. I felt so comfortable talking with “N” and I feel like she is going to be a really great friend for me here. We talked without a pause (except to sip and chew) from about 6:30 pm to 1:00 am and I can’t even tell you how many different subjects we managed to chat about.

I’m looking forward to many more of these wonderful visits (ان شاء الله).

الحمدلله


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