Mashaallah is an oft heard refrain when it comes to conversations about children, something I’ve been hearing all around me lately since school started.  I have five grandchildren – mashaallah!  My daughter is two years old – mashaallah!  They’ve just started school and they love it – mashaallah!  My son is learning karate – mashaallah!  It goes on.  What’s interesting is the term mashaallah is said by all and sundry, no matter what religion one is.  In southeast asia (and dare I say, anywhere else apart from the middle east), it is generally perceived that anything arabic with the word Allah in it, has something to do with Islam.  In the middle east however, the phrase is used freely by anyone, as are many other ‘islamic’ phrases. Read More →

We’ve been in Jeddah for exactly two months now, and despite not having our things with us yet, we feel like we’ve begun to settle in to our temporary home.  We’ve made certain supermarkets our favourites, we’ve sussed out some places to snack at, we’ve tried now two modes of ‘public transport’ and decided which we like best, we’re settling slowly but surely.

front yard is sad but we're trying to get it happy

front yard work

I am currently obsessed with trying to revive the plants we inherited in the small front yard, a hibiscus and a bougainvillea.  Through a little reading, I have discovered that a magic ingredient typically found in pharmacies might just do the trick – magnesium sulphate, or otherwise knowns as epsom salts.  Something I easily found in Delhi, I’m surprised that the two pharmacies we tried last week didn’t stock it.  But then, nutmeg is banned here so I’m not sure what’s normal anymore. Read More →

We have been here about six days now, and It’s been interesting, I’ve noticed a few things.  There are malls, and then there are sort-of-malls.  Women’s movements are restricted, yet ironically there are more options for them to choose from than men, although, a woman can forget about exercise (Amore Fitness would thrive here).  They don’t socialise through clubs, under the shroud of darkness, but the young socialise in malls in a sort-of shroud of darkness.  People really don’t head out til past 5pm when there’s a larger gap between prayer times, and then finally no more prayers scheduled for the rest of the evening.  It’s dawned on us though, we won’t be one of those people because the kids wind down for bed at about 6pm, but then, perhaps that means we will be avoiding crowds then.

We’ve been using Uber to get around, and after six trips I’m pretty satisfied with the service so far ; the cars are clean, the drivers are polite.  How did I find out about Uber..?  Oh my, I can’t even remember, from one of my internet trawlings no doubt, but thank goodness I did!   Read More →

I’ve been really busy the past few weeks preparing for this trip, hence my silence on the blog.  I’ve found, since having children, I have rather little brain space for anything else with the addition of any new projects, on top of the daily grind of cleaning, cooking, counselling, dhoby duties, librarian, nurse, you get what I mean.  Or I could just be making excuses for myself.

As I sit here in the hotel room typing this, my three year old is next to me with the flu and demanding I tag her in a game of tag.  It’s very hard to think in full sentences, but I will try. Read More →