Saudi 101: Diaries of An Expat Wife

“Hey! Welcome to Saudi Arabia. Are you a new expat wife?”

“Yes I am! I am really worried about this move!”

“You should be, it is a big change. But don’t let the worry distract you from what needs to be done.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, have you thought about the foundation for this new phase of your life?”

“I haven’t thought about the foundation of the previous phase of my life to think about this one.”

“Well, being back home allows you to let a lot of things work themselves out. But being away from home requires some measures. Let me walk you through them.”

There is a support system you need to build for yourself when you are making a life-changing event like relocating to Saudi Arabia. The type of support system you need to survive, be happy and blossom differs from one person to another. There is no one solution that works for everyone just the same. Let me share with you a bit of my experience so you can get a better idea about this.

Before coming over to Saudi Arabia I was told that I would have the time of my life living in a compound that is filled with expats, and has a different lifestyle from what I was used to. Well, honestly, it is nice to be in a gated community, but it also has its downsides. Safety and services are an upside indeed. But sometimes you need more; you want to do something literally “outside of the box”. For that I am thankful that I have a hobby –that I have an edge– that I can write, and express myself. Because there will be times in which you will feel that you have more, and you want more. So find that hobby of yours; grow it like your life depends on it. Or I warn you: you will spend most of your time in malls. Not a very cost-savvy pastime, and not a source of enjoyment on the long run.

Also, you will be introduced to all types of people. My advice is: be picky. Don’t panic, thinking you will be lonely. You are better off having less with high quality, than having more and compromising. Especially, and hear this one well, news travels fast inside gated communities. So be picky about whom you are interacting with, unless you want everything that happens in your life to become news for everyone.

My last advice for you: you will have more time in Saudi Arabia than you used to have back home. Use that time to do something useful for yourself. You might have quit your job, or stopped cross-fit to make this move. Don’t put your life on hold. Find activities that will make you feel good about yourself, and help you stay on the move. Stay busy; that’s one good medicine for depression! 

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