More
Hide
Share

7 Things I Miss About Saudi Arabia

If you've ever lived in Saudi Arabia, you'll realize that there's a lot that you will miss when you leave this beautiful country..

7 Things I Miss About Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is one of those places that you don't fully understand or appreciate until after you've left it.

Kids who have spent their childhood would especially agree with me! As a child there was so much to do and there was never a dull moment.

School
I attended Dhahran High School from 2005-2009 after moving from Khamis Mushayt. It was a wonderful time in my life, where I made life-long friendships, traveled to many different countries with my classmates, and cultivated my passion for culture and politics. I’m always dismayed when Canadians or Americans tell me they hated high school, I loved it!

Residential compound


The Compound
Jedawel City (also known as MD22) was my compound in Al-Khobar, and the second place I lived in the Kingdom. Although it was much smaller than my first compound in Khamis, it was charming in its own way. Each row of houses connected like townhouses, and had flat roofs accessible at the end of the row by metal ladders. We use to climb up to the roof of my house every weekend at night, and look out at the city discussing life, and cultivating fleeting relationships – note that our parents didn’t always know!
 
Trips to the Red Sea
While living in Khamis, my dad would take us on trips to the Red Sea to stay at the small “resorts” where we could rent villas and have a sliver of beach to ourselves.

SEE ALSO: Crafts and crafters in Saudi Arabia

On the first trip we took we stopped at a bridge in the middle of the mountains to look at some baboons climbing the rocks. Within minutes however, several had surrounded our car and started waving their arms and screeching. We were afraid they were going to get vicious, so we threw out some food to distract them, and then sped away. As a kid, it was great!

The Winter
Winter was a very welcomed time in the Kingdom for two reasons: The first was the change in temperature, which would drop to around 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit. At night throughout December, I would walk to the park near my house and sit on the swing with my eyes closed. While my dog sniffed the grass, I would listen to the sound of swaying date trees and wrap my arms in my favourite sweater. I still get nostalgic for those moments.
 
The second reason was because the winter was when all of the kids who had been sent to boarding school, or graduated in previous years would return to visit their families. Those weeks were filled with reunions and parties with old friends.

Shawerma

The Shawerma
The food in Saudi is pretty amazing, both traditional and non-traditional. My favourite however - which I didn’t really appreciate until after I left - were shawermas. In Saudi it’s common for restaurants to put french-fries in shawermas, but I’ve yet to come across any shawerma restaurant elsewhere that does it quite like that. I hope you get to try it someday!

The Corniche
I’m not sure my dad enjoyed going to the corniche and souk areas as much as I did, but I enjoyed the chaos that was enshrined in these areas of the city. People from all walks of life and ethnicities traversed the hundreds of small shops looking for deals and unique finds. The smell of oud (or perfume) still reminds me of the first time I bought an abaaya in a shop about the size of a food truck in Khamis Mushayt when I was twelve. It was frightening, exhilarating, and an experience completely unique to that place.

SEE ALSO: Cobone deals in Saudi Arabia

Mosque
 

The Call to Prayer
Known as the “adhan” in Arabic, the Islamic call to prayer was a prominent sound that could be heard across the country five times a day. Although I never quite understood the words being eloquently echoed through the “muezzin,” it became a consistent part of my life. Sometimes it signaled the dawn of a new day, and at other times it was a warning that the shop I was in was about to close. Whenever I hear the “adhan” today, it offers me a sense of comfort.


Victoria H contributor expatwomanAbout the Author

Victoria is a trained historian and political scientist, as well as an aspiring writer and photographer. She holds a masters degree in Global Affairs from the University of Toronto, and currently works as a Content Coordinator with MaRS Discovery District. As a third-culture-kid who grew up in Saudi Arabia, she hopes to use her academic background to educate people about the world through creative means. Her blog Safar, features the stories of TCKs and expats, as well as commentary on travel, politics and culture. 

 


On ExpatWoman Today

What You Should NEVER Say to a Parent of a Child with Special Needs

What You Should NEVER Say to a Parent of a Child with Special Needs

4 Effective Ways To Cope With Parenting Stress

4 Effective Ways To Cope With Parenting Stress

5 Books Your Child Will Love at Bedtime

5 Books Your Child Will Love at Bedtime

9 Most Important Events In the History Of Saudi Arabia

9 Most Important Events In the History Of Saudi Arabia

Female Cyclists Are Becoming A Trend In Saudi Arabia

Female Cyclists Are Becoming A Trend In Saudi Arabia

6 Beautiful Hidden Gems in Saudi Arabia to Explore

6 Beautiful Hidden Gems in Saudi Arabia to Explore

Voice And Video Calling Apps Will Soon Be Unblocked In Saudi

Voice And Video Calling Apps Will Soon Be Unblocked In Saudi

Mixed Feelings About The Tourism Industry In Saudi Arabia

Mixed Feelings About The Tourism Industry In Saudi Arabia

Saudi Has Tightened The Reigns On Women-Only Shops And Markets

Saudi Has Tightened The Reigns On Women-Only Shops And Markets

New

New 'Sarahah' App Is Becoming A Concern

National Day In Saudi Arabia

National Day In Saudi Arabia

Top 6 Tips to Help Get Your Finances Back on Track After Summer

Top 6 Tips to Help Get Your Finances Back on Track After Summer

Here

Here's What You Should Know About Eyelid Surgery

Travelling Just Became A Lot Cheaper in Saudi Arabia

Travelling Just Became A Lot Cheaper in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Lifts Ownership Restriction in Education and Health Sectors

Saudi Lifts Ownership Restriction in Education and Health Sectors

Dancing in Public in Saudi Arabia Can Get You Arrested

Dancing in Public in Saudi Arabia Can Get You Arrested

13 Insightful Pictures From Hajj 2017: The Pilgrimage To Mecca

13 Insightful Pictures From Hajj 2017: The Pilgrimage To Mecca

Eid Al Adha in Saudi Arabia: Traditions, Meaning and History

Eid Al Adha in Saudi Arabia: Traditions, Meaning and History

Saudi Arabia To Have A 16 Day Holiday for Eid Al Adha 2017

Saudi Arabia To Have A 16 Day Holiday for Eid Al Adha 2017

Saudi Has Plans To Become The Next Big Tourist Destination

Saudi Has Plans To Become The Next Big Tourist Destination

Injectable Aesthetic Treatments in KSA: What They Are & What To Know

Injectable Aesthetic Treatments in KSA: What They Are & What To Know

5 Things You Should Know Before Getting Breast Implants in KSA

5 Things You Should Know Before Getting Breast Implants in KSA

5 Things You Should Know About Breast Reduction Surgery in the KSA

5 Things You Should Know About Breast Reduction Surgery in the KSA

Why You Should Insure Your Maid in Saudi Arabia

Why You Should Insure Your Maid in Saudi Arabia

Settling Your Finances Before Leaving Saudi Arabia

Settling Your Finances Before Leaving Saudi Arabia

Things to Consider When Taking a Personal Loan in Saudi Arabia

Things to Consider When Taking a Personal Loan in Saudi Arabia

Advice on Switching Banks in Saudi Arabia

Advice on Switching Banks in Saudi Arabia

Guide to Banking in Saudi Arabia

Guide to Banking in Saudi Arabia

Her Finance: Helping You Achieve Your Financial Goals

Her Finance: Helping You Achieve Your Financial Goals

New Expat Tax in Saudi Arabia Has Come into Effect

New Expat Tax in Saudi Arabia Has Come into Effect

Students in Saudi to Enjoy Longest Summer Break Ever

Students in Saudi to Enjoy Longest Summer Break Ever

Saudi Public Sector to Terminate All Expats by 2020

Saudi Public Sector to Terminate All Expats by 2020

Expats Now Limited to Two SIM Cards in Saudi Arabia

Expats Now Limited to Two SIM Cards in Saudi Arabia

8 Thoughts You Have During a Sandstorm in Saudi Arabia

8 Thoughts You Have During a Sandstorm in Saudi Arabia

An Enormous Entertainment City is Coming to Saudi Arabia

An Enormous Entertainment City is Coming to Saudi Arabia

Visa Violators Can Leave Saudi Arabia Without Penalties

Visa Violators Can Leave Saudi Arabia Without Penalties

Life as a Third Culture Kid in Saudi Arabia

Life as a Third Culture Kid in Saudi Arabia

Sandstorm Blankets Parts of Saudi Arabia

Sandstorm Blankets Parts of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia as Seen from Space

Saudi Arabia as Seen from Space

Saudi Arabia Held Its First YouTube FanFest

Saudi Arabia Held Its First YouTube FanFest

5 Realities of Growing Up in a Saudi Compound

5 Realities of Growing Up in a Saudi Compound

Women Appointed Top Roles in Saudi Finance Giants

Women Appointed Top Roles in Saudi Finance Giants

Severe Floods Across Saudi Arabia

Severe Floods Across Saudi Arabia