My kids and I arrived here in KSA a month ago. On the contrary to the rest of the world, Middle East countries has Thursdays and Fridays as weekend instead of Saturdays and Sundays. With so much difference from Philippines, my kids are starting to get bored and had difficulty adjusting to Saudi Arabia’s means and ways. Stores and establishments has to close its doors four times during the day for prayer call excluding the fact that it will also close during siesta hours(1:00-4:00PM). Because of this, I find shopping in Saudi Arabia stressful instead of a pleasurable activity.
For a month now, we developed this routine of having Thursday morning as our shopping day, where we can do groceries and pick up stuff we need for the week. Thursdays- a day in a week when WCW is off from work and we can go all together shopping. Since women are not allowed unaccompanied by a man in the family outside the premises of the house and doesn’t have the privilege to drive here in Saudi Arabia, our Thursday morning activity has become a day that we look forward to as our “outing” day.
We bribe our kids with cheap and affordable toys that wont hurt so much of our budget everytime we go out on Thursdays. We figured that with these little pleasures in boxes or vacuumed wrap with plastic and has a “MADE in CHINA” mark would somehow make their first visit to Saudi Arabia memorable and hopefully also will make the place suck less.
I miss attending Sunday masses back home and surprisingly our kids did too. Every day seems like a groundhog day. It is always the same that sometimes you tend to forget what day of the week it is. The dullness of the place even made them kids miss school! It was hell of a lot different during my stay years ago, as back then I was working.
Don’t get me wrong, no one has forced us to be here. We are currently in a situation in which we just have to do the best of what life has to offer,this one included. Positively, I see this as an experience that my kids will gain. To be able to live and follow other countries’ culture is a privilege that not most children has been given a chance to. Humans as we are, it is our nature to adapt. I am just thankful that I am with my family right now and that alone will make this vacation a beautiful one.