Sunday, November 27, 2005

Blogspot blocked

So I logged in this morning to check out my blog and the regular blogs that I read. And what did I find? That the local ISP has blocked all access to all * Uh Uh.

Hope this is just a temporary ban. Grrrrrrr

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Another day, another life story

I was lazing on the couch when I heard my mobile phone rang. It was an unrecognizable number so I told Him to answer it for me. Thing is crank calls are very common in this country. Blame it on the idle youth. They have nothing better to do, and given the restrictions for the two genders to interact, they use modern technology to get to know each other.

The call came all the way from back home. It was HN. I met HN last August during a National Day gathering at the embassy. She had been in the Kingdom for over 6 months but had gone home every 2 months. She too had a difficult time adjusting to life here. In fact she got so physically sick that she had to fly home.

[Disclaimer: its not that the medical practices here is bad, its just that some people like the familiarity of their home country. Plus the pampering you can get from your other family members which you may not get here.]

HN told me that she called to wish me “Selamat hari raya and maaf zahir batin.” Which was nice of her, to have thought of me. So I asked her when she would be coming back here. And that’s when part of the story is told. I say part of the story because I didn’t quite get the whole story from her, because I didn’t know if she feels comfortable sharing them with me.

She told me that things are uncertain between her and her husband. It was fine when they were here, but the cracks began to show when they returned home for Eid. She didn’t get into further details and I didn’t probe further. She isn’t sure if she will ever come back here again, although some of her things are still here.

I was just stunned and very sad. I know marriages break down all the time, but somehow I find that being here, can sometimes break up marriages. Some wives can’t handle being idle while the husbands put long hours at work. Some chose long distance marriages and that in itself is another issue. Others well just can’t adjust to life here and blame it all on the husband, causing a disintegration of the relationship.

Well whatever it is HN, I wish you well. Thanks for making the effort to call me up, when you know you didn’t have to. I really appreciate it. I hope we can all pray for HN, hoping that everything will work out the best for her.


Mel Ija,

Welcome to my blog. Sudan is quite interesting but I don't know how the experience will be for you. Please drop by my friend Ghazali's blog on my links because I believe he is in Sudan right now and he can tell you whats it is like down there.

For me, I will try anything once. Even though I was very skeptical and reluctant about moving here, but I told myself, how would I know if I would like it or not if I never try it. Yes the first three months was very hard, even for a normad like me (we've been moving around for the last 7 years), but I eventually adjusted myself to life here.

You just have to evaluate what sort of person you are, if you are comfortable enough stepping out of your regular comfort zone, and if you are willing to accept that many things can be different from what you are accustomed to.

Of course there is the economic factor as well, if the financial gain really outweighs the difficulties or dangers that you may have to face.

Good luck!


Gaduh mesti tetap gaduh :) Kalau tak nanti cemana nak make out opps I mean make up ;)
And I think you will definitely be able to find things to do.


Wah cerita la gaks experience KakLela as expat! But its true about the $$$ part, if not memang lah dah lama balik kut.

Hi Has,

Thanks for dropping a comment.


Good pointers indeed.

Cuma comment saya untuk pakai baju melayu di sini, mereka tak kenal pun. Ade sorang kawan kami memakai baju Melayu, bila naik teksi, driver tu tanya "Anta Bangladeshi?" Mungkin kerana kami di tengah-tengah padang pasir. Dan wanita pun tak boleh pakai baju kurung kerana mesti memakai abaya. Tetapi mungkin di negeri teluk yang lain tip ni lebih berguna.

Ya Laban itu enak lebih lebih lagi selepas memakan nasi kabsah atau nak minyak yang lain.

Tp ni masih tinggal di negeri Teluk? Ade blog yang boleh kami layari?

Terima kasih kerana sudi meninggalkan koment untuk semua.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Life as an expat wife a breeze?

I have been on a blogging hiatus. Partly its been a time constraint. Partly I just needed to think things through.

To the readers who have kindly commented. Thanks for your thoughts. I do appreciate them. Its not that I seek validation to my thoughts but its often interesting to see other people’s point of views and even their blogs.

Last Wednesday, I went to a neighbor’s birthday party. I don’t really like birthday parties because I am not a socially out going person myself, and sometimes I do find it hard to make conversation with some people who I have little in common with, except that we’re neighbors and we often say hello to each other at the pool. But anyways it was nice meeting up with some people. They commented how they haven’t seen me out and about for a long time and they thought I was away on holiday or something. I mumbled something about being busy teaching, quilting and hibernating (didn’t say blogging in case any of them found my blog hehehe) and they mentioned how much they missed me. Wow really? Did I really have such an impact on people’s lives that they missed not seeing me? It was nice to know or perhaps they were just being nice to me.

Through the loud music and the interruptions of people saying hello, I managed to have a short conversation with LN. LN was telling me about a couple who had just moved into the compound. They happened to be a fellow countrymen of mine. DF, the wife, has found moving here particularly hard. LN who lives above her has heard someone crying and throwing things about in the apartment. God bless LN and her kind heart, because that made LN try very hard to get in touch with her and even asked her over for coffee with another neighbor.

Apparently DF arrived just before Ramadhan (which happened to be a crazy time to arrive here because everything becomes topsy curvy) and has found the move incredible lonely without the support of friends and family. Her husband, like most of our husbands here, work till late. And as you already know, we women can’t really go out by ourselves to explore. And it being Ramadhan, everything is closed in the day anyways. It was her first time living outside her country. She had just quit her job before joining her husband here. So she had to come to terms with two things, being a woman of leisure, in a country that is hostile to women.

So LN asked me to call DF up and help her with the transition. Which I agreed to do. You see, one good thing about most of the women here (in our compound or within the expatriate community that is), is that we all understand how it was like when we first arrived in this country. How we found it difficult to adjust to the lifestyle here. And how we had to deal with culture shock. Most of us here came to accompany our husbands. Some were lucky enough to have made the decision jointly with their husbands. Others had no choice but to follow the husband’s posting because the husband’s employer had sent them there. (Of course there are women who chose to come to work here but I’d but them in a different category.)

I did remember my dearest’s boss telling him, there are two categories of wives who follow their husbands here. One type will hate it here and will leave almost as soon as they come. The other type, however will love it here and would hate it when it comes to the time for them to leave.

And he was right. Just recently we had a friend who has chosen to leave the country while the husband continues to work here, after trying to live here for just 6 months. More recently a Kakak (who was here to work a as a cook) was confiding in us that she wanted to leave at the end of this month, just after living here for 2 months. (At the moment she is extending the stay until after Hajj.)

So I called DF up and she told me how relieved she was to have heard from me. Apparently she has been told about me from a few people. Even the compound manager mentioned us but she didn’t know where we lived. She even asked her husband to walk round the compound, looking for someone who may look Malay. (Which would have been fruitless of course because I haven’t really gone out much especially during Ramadhan.)

She told me how she missed her family very much. She is very close with her mum, whom she still saw everyday even though she has been married for a while and living on her own. She misses her 7 year old nephew whom she talks to on the net everyday. She said her nephew even sometimes calls her “mama.” They are that close.

She was terrified of going out because she is often harassed by the Ar@b men. She feels that she is being stared at, or looked down at. She is not used to being mistaken as a F|l|pina.

DF related to me how a local man approached her and her husband as they were doing their grocery shopping. The man came to ask her husband, with a big grin on his face, “is this your wife?”

“Yes,” replied the husband.

But the local man apparently was not satisfied with that answer and proceeded to ask them 2 more times. Still with that cheeky grin on his face.

You see, DF and her husband is in a Muhibbah couple. She is an Amoi muallaf, while he is a Malay. Knowing how the local men here think, they probably thought that he was a B@ngla worker and she was the F|ilip[ina girl friend. And He might offer the girlfriend over for a price. DF is rather pretty, with her porcelain white skin, lustrous black hair and very slim figure. She looks very different from the local women here, and of course would elicit interest from the local lecherous men.

[Dislaimer: I am not saying that ALL local men are leacherous, but the local men who are lecherous here, have problems holding back and does not understand the concept of respect for a woman. Kang ade plak yang salah sangka cakap saya ni anti org sini!]

So she is quite terrified of going out by herself on the shopping bus, and had to depend on the husband to go out. The husband however, has had to put in long hours at work and by the time he reaches home, is too exhausted to go out again, to battle it out in the crazy traffic.

She said she was crying almost every other day, if not at least once a week. Even her husband found it hard to deal with her when he comes home seeing her black face everyday.

I tried my best to reassure her that we all go through a little bit of that when we come here. Despite having experience living abroad at different countries, I too had to go through the same things when I moved here myself. I told her that she needed to find something to keep herself busy, either go out and make friends on the shopping bus or find a hobby that will keep herself busy. Without new friends and something to do, surviving here would be difficult.

It will take some time for a woman who has been busy with her career, to suddenly find that she now has no focus in her life, no office to go to, no where to go to dress up for. She has to give herself some time to come to terms to that. And if she so wishes, she can try to find a job here.

Anyways, the reason I am sharing this story here, is that I hope the wives who are about to embark on the journey of becoming an expat wife can take a leaf out of DF’s book. You may go through a little bit of depression, you may go through a little bit of culture shock and you may start breaking down, questioning your existence as a woman here.

Once again I have to stress the importance of doing your research before coming. And if you don’t have any children to accompany you during the day, make sure you are comfortable being alone, being with yourself, and stepping out of your regular comfort zone. Keep an open mind and be prepared to face the idea that naturally everything in your new environment is very different from your home environment.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Silver lining in the cloud

With every vile and nastyness I encounter, someone else shower me with generosity and kindness.

Such is life, one door closes and another opens.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Somewhat upset

Why is it some people only care about how much they have been offended and not realize how much they have offended other people?

In some ways, this feel like a kindergarten tiff and I try to refuse to dignify it with a response or even an acknowledgement. But I guess when someone splash water on you, you will get somewhat wet. Although I want to ignore the person's attention seeking behaviour, somehow I cannot help cursing and feeling somewhat upset with this person.

Unlike other people who, when they did something wrong, immediately point fingers to other people, I try to look inside and ask myself. Was it me? If I am the insulting and the offensive one why do people come to me sometimes even to complain about her? Don't get me wrong, its not about taking sides, but I found that I'm not the only one who have problems getting along with her and I am too polite to tell her that.

Perhaps she should look into herself and ask why people stay away from her, instead of blaming on other people. She claims that the others are prejudiced because she is married to a local. But its difficult to hangout with someone who is constantly trying to preach instead of making a jovial conversation.

Example of a conversation:

A: Oh no, why are they bombing Amm@n now? What are the @l-q@edah up to? What do they want to achieve?

Her: No kak its not necessarily the @l-q@aeda doing all this. I disagree that its the Musl|ms are doing this. Perhaps its the IRA thats responsible.

Me: IRA? Gimme a break! (<--- comment considered sarcastic)

{grrrrrrr takde orang bagitau kat dia ka IRA nak buat apa pi bomb tempat tu! Tapi degil nyer pasal dia nak jugak tegakkan benang yang basah tu. Pasai apa? Dia tak nak ngaku yang buat bende ni orang @rab. Taulah dia kawin dgn orang @rab tapi tak semestinya kita criticize some sections of the society sama cam kita condem laki dia. Malas betul! Kalau tercakap skit tercritcize skit psal org Timur tengah dia yang terasa dah tu dia nak defend. Tu psal org semua insulting to her psal apa kita bual dia ingat its all about HER. GRrrrrrrr)

But anyways, I refuse to allow this deteriorate into a rant or a list of how much she has upset me. Just that I need to vent out some steam.

To quote a friend whom I had a conversation with, "Some people cannot differentiate being a Musl|m and an Ar@bb." Some people feel that to be a religious person is to adopt the arr@bic culture and customs.

Go figure.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

What can you do with leftover nasi impit?

OK the story went like this. There were rumours here that Eid would fall on the 2nd November, so we got all excited. I decided that I wanted to eat kuah Lodeh for Eid this year with the Brahim Nasi Impit. So on the afternoon of the 1st November, I boiled all 6 packs of the Nasi Impit. At the same time we had made plans with some friends to have a BBQ on the night before Eid. (Which was the sticky part really because we didn't know exactly when Ed was going to be.) The plan was, we'd buy the meat and marinade them on the 1st, if Eid was announced to be on the 2nd, we'd have the BBQ that night, otherwise we'd keep them for another night.

However, my dearest decided that he was too excited to wait for the Eid announcement and called our friends to come over and have the BBQ that night. So while lighting up the BBQ fire, we waited and waited for the sms from friends, hopefully tellng us that Eid was to be tomorrow (the 2nd). But it wasn't meant to be. We had our BBQ and the nasi impit was placed in the fridge.

I thought I would cook kuah lodeh the following day, but we received a call in the morning, inviting us for Malam raya grub at a friend’s place. It was really yummy and we had a blast.

And the Nasi impit stayed in the fridge.

At this point, my plan was to cook the kuah lodeh on the morning of Eid, so we could have it for lunch. But on the morning of Eid, we received a call at 8 am, inviting us for a Laksa brunch. Yummy! So we got dressed and went over for some lovely laksa.

And that night we had dinner at the Embassy. Food was yummy! Almost everyone was dressed in baju kurung and there was some lagu Raya.

And my Nasi impit was still in the fridge.

On the second day of Eid, we had another lunch invite. This time it’s a full pledged home-made laksa! Ade mokcik from gannu and her daughter made home made laksa noodles with authentic laksa gravy. It was soooo good that we ALL had at least two bowls of laksa each, until there was no more gravy!

That evening, for dinner, I took one pack of Nasi Impit out to eat with the kuah lodeh and rending which we bought from the local Indonesian shop.

5 packs of Nasi Impit remained in the fridge.

The following day, we decided that we had to do something with the nasi impit or it will all go to waste and t would be a shame really. So my dearest suggested that we made Soto Ayam and invited some friends over for dinner. The Soto Ayam was a hit although we only used up 4 packs of Nasi Impit.

And we’re still left with the last bag of Nasi Impit.

What can we do with it? I am no longer excited about cooking kuah lodeh. Already had some kuah kacang with some nasi Impit the other day. Made the soto.

So what or how else can we have the Nasi impit with? I really don’t want the last bag to go to waste, so I would really appreciate it if you can provide me with suggestions for the Nasi Impit.

And how did your Eid went?