5 Reasons an American Wants to Visit Saudi Arabia

It’s my pleasure to share with you a guest post written by an amazing lady I’ve been blessed to have “met” through blogging. Jenny Ballif has been a fan and follower of Blue Abaya blog for many years and two years years ago she contacted me with a very special request.. Jenny and I both share a special love for books and reading to our children so she wanted to send me some books that her kids had already outgrown.

So imagine my surprise when I heard that Jenny wanted to send us a total of 27 children’s books all the way from Nevada! I was not only super excited, but touched by this generous and warm gesture. A few weeks later we received the package along with a beautiful letter. My daughter was ecstatic and we went through all of them in one sitting. Some of the books Jenny sent have now become our kids favorites. Each night they want to read “Good Night Moon” and they are OBSESSED with the book they call “Dum Ditty Dum” (Hand Hand Finger Thumb). We are so grateful for this gift!

our new books

Anyways enough about the books, here are Jenny’s five reasons she would want to visit Saudi Arabia! The images she sent me from her area in Nevada have a remarkable resemblance to the geography of Saudi Arabia don’t you think? Do leave her a comment below :)

5 reasons an American wants to visit Saudi Arabia

A few years ago my husband and I met a man from Saudi Arabia. When we told him that we wanted to visit his country he said “That’s crazy! It’s a good crazy, but it’s crazy! I never meet Americans who want to go to Saudi Arabia.”

I’ve met several. I can’t speak for others, but here are five reasons why I dream of visiting Saudi Arabia, or one of its neighboring countries:

1. Arabic.

Languages have different feelings to them, and I’m not exactly sure what it is about Arabic that gives it such an exotic yet comfortable feeling. The script is beautiful, the grammar intriguing and different. And it’s more in-the-throat, like I’m holding all my sounds behind my tongue for a moment before letting them leave to convey meaning.

2. Families mean more.

Everyone I’ve ever met from the Kingdom, Oman, or Jordan visits their family at least weekly. They have closer contact with their extended family than many people I know in America have with their immediate family. The stronger family ties is a quality that I love about Eastern cultures.

3. I’m fed up with commercialism and materialism.

I know that I can’t escape commercialism by going abroad. This preoccupation with acquiring more stuff is a world-wide disease. But we tend to worship it more here in the U.S., and in Islamic culture I see an emphasis on the nonmaterial that is refreshing.

4. I want to understand Islam better.

This one sometimes gets a sharp reaction. Yes, I know that corrupt political systems have done bad things in the name of Islam. But when I look at the tenants of the faith I see such commonality, such similarity to my own beliefs. I would love to hear the call to prayer sounding from the mosques, and observe how the rituals of Islam effect ordinary people in their everyday lives.

5. I love dates.

The medjool variety in American grocery stores- they’re not bad, but the real dates that I’ve had from the Middle East, ahhh, those dates are phenomenal.

So someday, inshallah, I hope we’ll get to visit Saudi Arabia. But if not, I’m glad that I can catch a glimpse through Blue Abaya.

nevada collage

Jenny Ballif is a writer, doula, language enthusiast and mother. She lives in Southern Nevada with her three kids and husband.  Jenny blogs at The Write Shelf and you can find her personal website here, where you can read her touching journey through surviving and overcoming cancer at a young age and postpartum depression later on in life.
 

“I’m currently the At-Home Parent and “Mom” is the best, and hardest, job I’ve ever had.”

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  • Lise GagnonSeptember 30, 2014 - 7:57 pm

    I experience calm and peace when I hear the call to prayer from the mosques. The dates in Saudi Arabia are amazing! It’s like eating healthy bonbons.ReplyCancel

    • LaylaOctober 1, 2014 - 10:29 am

      true! Dates have so many health benefits many are not aware of actually :)ReplyCancel

  • Betsy Sanders-BinzagrOctober 1, 2014 - 8:23 am

    Dates here are incredible. I would’t learn about Islam her though! Commercialism AT LEAST as prevalent in Saudi and I think families are close or not close based on family -not country. But I hope she gets to visit. It is worth a visit.ReplyCancel

  • Diana Spruell KillmerOctober 1, 2014 - 8:55 am

    I grew up in Boulder City, NV and the weather is similar. A little more humid here at times, however.ReplyCancel

  • Susie Johnson KhalilOctober 1, 2014 - 12:24 pm

    I hope you get to visit Saudi Arabia one day because it truly is a jaw dropping experience. You will see things here that you’ve never seen before. I’ve been here 7 years now and I still get that surreal feeling many times when I am out and about. ReplyCancel

  • Um E DaniaOctober 1, 2014 - 1:35 pm

    Dates are delicious and cheap too. Large quantity with variety. I think the reasons you have listed are same for all of us. It is always nice to read your blog. ReplyCancel

  • Hsn HsnOctober 1, 2014 - 5:14 pm

    Main reason is money…Don’t lie to yourself dear.
    ReplyCancel

  • Jenny BallifOctober 1, 2014 - 10:32 pm

    Thanks everyone. Diana, we currently live in Boulder City. Small world :)ReplyCancel

  • Mohsin ZafarOctober 2, 2014 - 4:33 am

    Oh madam Um E Dania G, Kidi sano v bulla lu KSA…………….ReplyCancel

  • AhmedOctober 8, 2014 - 9:21 am

    It’s pleasure to read your opinion about our lifestyle and culture in Saudi Arabia, it means a lot to hear this type of positive reactions about Islam and people here.

    I would love to thank you and welcome you to KSA

    regards, ;)ReplyCancel

  • MollyOctober 16, 2014 - 3:40 am

    Could you please write us a list of the books she sent you? I would love to read them to my sons. :). Thank you.ReplyCancel

    • LaylaOctober 17, 2014 - 2:48 pm

      Ok, here are some of their favorites:
      Goodnight moon
      Madeline
      Little Gorilla
      Bear Snores on
      The Mitten
      Is your mama a llama?
      Hand Hand Finger Thumb
      The Going to Bed Book
      these are the book titles I can remember from the top of my head, I will check for more later!ReplyCancel

  • Dee MangalinoNovember 5, 2014 - 9:12 am

    Points 1, 4 & 5 made me stay in the Kingdom. And now I strive to learn more of their culture and Islam.ReplyCancel

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