August 15, 2014
It is a little mind-blowing that I’m at the end of the first week of life in Saudi Arabia. My first week of orientation. First week of amazing opportunity and excitement. And what better way to celebrate this new life experience than by immersing ourself into traditional Saudi culture.
So, the nursing volunteer group also took us (about 15 girls from my General Nursing Orientation group) out for dinner… Our first night out in Saudi!
We went to a traditional Saudi restaurant, called Nadj Village, and entered in the side of the building through the women/family entrance.
We were ushered past beautiful, vibrant seating areas to a private dinning room with big thick red doors… and seated on carpets on the floor, or benches around the outside of the room. Waiters brought in cups of delicious Saudi coffee and fresh dates.
After that, they rolled out a big mat on the floor and started filling it with food. That plates just kept coming! An unbelievable amount of food! And so much rice rice rice!!! It was delicious. And so fun to eat in the traditional way like that!! Desert was pudding and mint tea and it was lovely!!
It was a lot of fun to hang out with the girls from our GNO group and we started planning some fun nights out for the next week… and it was great to chat with a couple Saudi nurses who came with us, about life here in Saudi. Both girls wore abaya’s and the full hijab with only their eyes showing… they would take their hijab off when it was only us women in the room, but as soon as the waiters would knock on the door, they’d put it back on. It’s very interesting to see that bit of culture… you read about it to some extent before you leave to move here, but you don’t realize how much it actually impacts every woman here!
This was one of my first times wearing my abaya out… and I must admit. I don’t mind wearing it at all. It’s rather convenient! Plus I’d rather fit in than stand out terribly or be disrespectful of the culture! And I feel so exotic!!
So… fully stuffed… we headed back home. Laughing hysterically at the crazy drivers who purposely drove really close behind us just to see us freak out. It was just such a happy night full of laughter and joy and excitement over the promise of adventure!
Anyways… that’s about it for my first week in Saudi. It was a lot of fun. There was a lot of learning. A lot of pool time and a lot of time buildling connections with the lovely girls in my general orientation group. Can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings all of us!!!