Stuff That Annoys Me. Only in Saudi Arabia

I’ve noticed myself pretty annoyed lately. Lots of stuff going on last week. Some things in Saudi just tip off my irritation. I’m going to have to rant to let some steam out. If you’re easily offended and don’t have a sense of humor, stop reading now PLEASE.

What really gets to me is the constant DUST. Seems like it’s been here since January. The last sandstorm started Thursday and only cleared up a week later. Saturday came along, the weather was perfect. We headed out to the desert for a nice outing and picnic with friends who haven’t been out in the desert for many years, so I convinced them it was a fantastic idea to go. So after five hours of preparations and driving all the way to Rawdhat Kuraim. BOOM. Sandstorm hits. Fantastic.

This wasn’t the type of somehow barely tolerable-kind of sandstorm. Nope. It had to be the brain-blasting, bloodstream-invading, eye-quenching, hair-raising type of a hell of a sandstorm.

go away sandstorm

After two days of the blasting sand I got my usual sandstorm headache aka BRAIN BLUR and was not able to think, breathe, sleep let alone write anything intelligent.

If you want to have your house clear of this nasty ass stuff, you’d need to clean and wipe all over like every hourly. The dust is so fine it’s more like flour, or powdered sugar.  It’s so sneaky it seeps through the apartment building’s main door, then sneaks in through the hallways, to our front door, then makes its way through the living room door to reach the kitchen door and finally arrives at the cupboard door only to creep inside the freakin sealed (or so I thought) food boxes. Can you believe the nerve of this stuff??

What else.
No one gives a damn about where they live. The environment outside of the villa walls or apartment buildings simply doesn’t seem to matter. Seriously sometimes I think people here just live in pink bubbles floating around, oblivious to the world around them.

Who cares if the street outside your house is full of trash or the empty lot next to your villa has been turned into a dump yard?? Who cares if there’s a river of stinky sewage flowing through your neighborhood from a leaking septic tank and it’s causing multiple health and environmental risks to inhabitants? Who cares if jus outside your window there’s a pile of crap and dangerous looking stuff left there by the construction site next door? Who cares if I park my car sideways and take up three reserved spaces? Who cares if the roads are not lit properly causing accidents and who gives a damn if they build a power plant next to your neighborhood?

How about service.
You know like customer service?
Why is it impossible to find good customer service here? You would think with all this money and having hundreds of employees in one store that there would be at LEAST one person who knows something. But no. That’s just too much to ask for. And how about when you want to return something and they give you just a plastic card instead of money back? And then you go all the way to the other shop it works in only to realize they FORGOT to charge it. That is like someone handing you an empty cardboard box when you thought you were in fact purchasing a coffee machine. And then when you go back to show them their mistake you are not allowed to even return the EMPTY BOX.

So you go back to the original store (which btw is H&M in this case) with your empty card and the guy has to do the whole thing over again. Then another customer service killer expert comes in and suddenly tells you in a very rude manner that the items you’ve just successfully returned, cannot suddenly be accepted anymore. Because of policy he says.

The first customer service hero did not know. So now you end up being forced to take the things back as well as your pathetic few riyals on the ridiculous plastic card which at this point you want to shove down the manager’s throat. Off you go after spending three hours with this disservice. At home you realize the dimwit manager stole your receipt and the rest of the stuff on it cannot therefore be exchanged. EVER. What would H&M headquarters in Sweden for example say to this “service”?
Answer: They would fire these incompetent rude idiots.

That reminds me.
I was trying to bake some Finnish cinnamon rolls also known as pulla the other day for a visit. We didn’t have milk. But only in Saudi does this become a huge logistical issue. Obviously I’m not allowed to drive. Not even going to start on that one. Second, there’s no supermarkets nearby I could walk to. Third, people don’t walk anywhere, not even a 30 meters distance can be done without a car so there’s no sidewalks or safe areas to walk on, IF I had somewhere to walk to. Fourth, I don’t have a driver so I need to sit at home like a duck waiting for my husband to bring the milk after work. But he forgot and had to go somewhere else.
SO now what? Pulla needs to be ready in few hours. My husband has genius idea, he orders the milk from the small store and the Indian moped dude brings it over to me. Problem #5. I have no cash. Husband says it’s not an issue.
Ok so dude arrives at door. I open and see the milk on the ground in front of me. I confirm with him that they agreed husband will stop by later to pay for the milk. He had a sudden change of mind. No ma’m BIG problem! I say no problem! This goes on for a while. I start feeling desperate and decide to snatch the milk from the ground. As I reach for it he tries to take it from my hands which should be a huge no-no here, to touch a woman like that.


I panic and slam the door closed. OOPS. I just sort of stole milk. Meanwhile the dude goes crazy, bangs on the door, shouts and rings the doorbell for at least half an hour. For SIX riyals. He could be a psychopath killer and I have just set him off. Imagine the headlines: Finnish woman killed In Saudi over milk bottle.
I start baking and realize that just because they don’t allow women to drive I just had to go through this crap. How utterly ridiculous.
Why are we not allowed to drive again? Why are women forced to be nearly killed rather than drive to the supermarket, HUH???

How about professionalism then? Unheard of mostly. Ever heard of Handy Manny? In Saudi they are called Handless Headless Mannies. No skills, no training, no English OR Arabic language skills, no respect for others stuff, no common sense whatsoever.

Take a look at these pics:

Ladies and gentleman this is professional Saudi service at its finest. Words cannot describe my irritation when I saw this in our new apartment.
Did you blast it with dynamite? 
Can someone pass me the rifle?
Have you not painted a freakin wall before? You’re supposed to remove the nails and smooth out the holes, not paint around them! If you’re painting in a room full of furniture at least cover it or better yet take it to the nearby empty room! Don’t use furniture to climb and stand on and don’t scratch it! Don’t you have your own freakin ladder or something? And for the love of God don’t place the dirty items on the sofa when you’re done! Did you think it was placed there for your convenience! I bet you took a nap on it too! When you’re done clean up and air the room!


Ugh. And then last but not least. Saudi postal services. What freakin SERVICES? Took you two months to send a couple of freakin postcards by EXPRESS mail to Finland. WAY TO GO. Yeah, I know why. You’re too busy sampling all the chocolates and other candies and reading through the women’s magazines on your sugar high. I bet you took those ripped off pages from my health magazine home.

Saudi professional thieves and terminators I would say! Every single time I get a package from Finland you must snatch something or destroy something in it. You think you’re clever huh? You think I don’t notice when you take out something that has an actual packing list to go with it? You bastards.

How dare you open my long awaited special 300g Finnish chocolate bar and munch on it and then PUT IT BACK IN half-eaten?

And btw the last item you STOLE was not real gold you chocolate monster. It’s kids play money. You thought I wouldn’t know my sister sent me three bags instead of two? WRONG.
I hope you almost choked on the Finnish salty licorice when you thought it’s chocolate.

Next time at least get rid of the evidence and throw away the empty wrappers.
And look what you missed from my latest package!

See that there? WINE gum. congratulations. You have just allowed something that says “WINE” into Saudi-Arabia! So much for the censorship! You should have at least blacked out the word WINE, just like you black out the word pork on other products and women’s arms legs cleavages and faces on my magazines.

As we would say in Finland: “Break yourself into small pieces”.

That is all for now folks. Excuse my language. I’m off to bed.


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  • Faisal HajiMarch 22, 2012 - 2:50 am

    Nice post, let me say:

    The sandstorm, here is a tip, a moistened towel under the doors helps in collecting the dust :D …

    Sewage problem, hmm, sorry can't help. Not familiar with the services in the kingdom. A gas mask might help :P

    For the retailer problem (H&M), I think KSA should start something like what we have here. Called the consumer's rightReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 23, 2012 - 5:33 pm

      Faisal-thanks for the sandstorm tip! I heard about it but never got myself to trying it out..
      Where can I get a gas mask? Luckily we are moving out soon so won’t have inhale it anymore.

      If the dress was that expensive they should have insured it, surely they did right?

      Sure I can post the recipe lots of ppl have asked me for it but I havent had time yet!ReplyCancel

    • Faisal HajiMarch 24, 2012 - 7:44 am

      I am sure that it was insured, but it was still irritating to do that. Thanks for the recipe, no rush :PReplyCancel

    • IldiMarch 24, 2012 - 5:39 pm

      Dear Laylah, pls pls post the recipe as possible, I'm desire to taste Finnish cinnamon cake as well. Kiitos! :)ReplyCancel

  • Om Lujain©March 22, 2012 - 5:56 am

    I don't know if I should laugh or cry at this well put together post!! Sandstorm.. don't remind me.. a real killer to what was supposed to be an epic trip!!! ufff… the milk.. sorry.. I had LMAO again at it :P (Wasn't laughing at the time though.. you milk thief :P) Saudi Post.. aha… I don't trust them.. would rather pay an arm and a leg to get Aramex shop and ship to send meReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 23, 2012 - 6:29 pm

      Om Lujain-you think your husband will ever go through the hassle again and we’ll have another go on the desert trip?

      It seems this dishwasher problem is very widespread, we had same problem getting someone who knows how to install it..ReplyCancel

  • Kuwaitin kaunotarMarch 22, 2012 - 4:21 am

    Meilla myos tuo hemmetin hiekkamyrsky pilasi viikonlopun!!! Vihaan tassa maassa ehka eniten juuri hiekkamyrskyja.

    Tuo asunto nayttaa ihan samalle kuin Intiassa omamme, kun piti muuttaa. Olivat muka siivonneet sen. Kuulivat kylla kunniansa. Mutta siita kansasta mulla ei ole yhtaan mitaan hyvaa sanottavaa…

    Asiakaspalvelu meilla taalla Kuwaitissa toimii hyvin (useimmiten),ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 23, 2012 - 6:07 pm

      Kuwaitin kaunotar-Tuntuu et taa hiekkamyrsky on levinny koko arabian niemimaalle? Joko siella selkenee? Talla ei vielakaan!!

      Meneeko koulut kiinni kun on paha myrakka?ReplyCancel

    • Kuwaitin kaunotarMarch 24, 2012 - 4:10 pm

      Qatarissa oli myos ollut todella paha myrakka… eli ilmeisesti tama on ollut vaivana kaikkialla taalla pain. Nyt meilla on jo paistellut aurinko kirkkaalta taivaalta pari paivaa!

      Koulut menevat kiinni, kun riittavan paha myrakka sattuu kohdalle. Sunnuntaina ei tarvinnut menna toihin eika lasten kouluun.ReplyCancel

  • ShimshimMarch 22, 2012 - 5:48 am

    Wow! You've had quite a few days by the sound of it. Sandstorms are horrible and the dust does get everywhere, even up your nostrils. I hate the stuff. We used to suffer when a sandstorm would hit Baghdad, but there was no escaping it sadly. You just had to face the music (sand) later and keep cleaning :(

    As for the drainage, that is disgusting, I suspect the only way you will everReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 23, 2012 - 6:28 pm

      Shimshim-We have tried complaining to the land owners and who else about it, the problem started few months ago, nothing has been done, nobody cares. My husband called all over the place no one will do anything.
      They just said if it’s not fixed the land owner will get fined.Looks like they don’t care about fines.
      Thank God we’re moving out soon!ReplyCancel

  • ربة منزلMarch 22, 2012 - 7:02 am

    I know I should not say this right now because you are annoyed by a lot of things but your post really made me laugh hard. Every time I return to visit my family in KSA, I want to pull my hair out of its roots. I mean, simple things can be done to fix major problems but everyone decides to turn their back and leave the mess for others. Once me and my brother were in the car driving in one laneReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 23, 2012 - 6:31 pm

      don’t worry I’m taking it with a sense of humor so laugh all you like what else can we do?
      Please never get used to things and keep the fight against corruption going strong!!ReplyCancel

  • ♥●• İzdihër •●♥March 22, 2012 - 8:54 am

    You are awesome .Lmao after reading it.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 23, 2012 - 6:31 pm

      Izdiher-thanks lolReplyCancel

  • Omani Princess (not Omani LOL)March 22, 2012 - 9:21 am

    Oman is slightly better. But only slightly. We do care where we live lol. My husband’s Aunties fought the government over the right to put a welding shop in a family neighborhood. They’re not supposed to here, so if they do, it’s because of wasta and you have to counter wasta.

    And when you find a skilled carpenter, plasterer, builder, plumber, electrician, you save their numbers in an address book and phone them every few weeks to make sure they still live here and remember to tell you if they change their phone numbers even if you arne’t planning any projects or renos for years.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 23, 2012 - 6:32 pm

      Omani Princess-I have yet to find any of the above mentioned group of workers that are anywhere near to skilled..ReplyCancel

  • JeanMarch 22, 2012 - 12:52 pm

    Does such bad service exist for the Saudi nationals. Or do ex-pats get picked on for bad service?ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 23, 2012 - 6:37 pm

      Jean-it exist for EVERYONE. Saudis usually don’t care as much for good customer service because I assume they never had a taste of anything else, so what you don’t know of, you can’t really miss can you??ReplyCancel

  • HudaMarch 22, 2012 - 11:29 am

    Here’s a tip Laylah, next time your sister sends a package of those yummy chocolates, get her to lace it with something. That’ll make them think twice about stealing people’s food :)ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 23, 2012 - 6:33 pm

      Huda-thanks for the tip! Next time they will have lots of surprises in the package! I will ask her to put a rat trap in there so it will SNAP when his fingers reach for the chocolates!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousMarch 22, 2012 - 12:26 pm

    looooooooooooool Love it…I can see the steam coming from your ears!!! You Forgot to mention about the Pious Academic guy who wanted to sell his TV only to NON-MUSLIMS so that “He” does not get sin for the stuff they watch!!! lol Don’t mention Saudi Mail Service in front of my HUSBND!… Last time someone sent him priority letter from Jedda, he had to go to the sorting facility and dig through 10 piles of MAIL to find it LOOOOOOOL , on top of it, the INDIAN lazy worker, asked him to PAY 10SAR if He wanted his help!! what a joke ….


    • LaylahMarch 23, 2012 - 6:36 pm

      Hope-thanks for the refreshing and relaxing walk/wadi hanifa tour yesterday :)
      I can’t believe Saudi post actually lets people off the street come into their facility and go through peoples mail like that! I mean in Finland that would be a crime, and your husband could have just took anything from there! What a joke indeed!!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 23, 2012 - 7:51 pm

      Annoyed-you have misunderstood, she meant to say that the guy was not even Saudi (as in more open to corruption) but of another nationality, in this case Indian. nothing against Indians,it’s just very strange to find any non Saudi that would ask for bribery so bluntly here..ReplyCancel

    • AnnoyedMarch 23, 2012 - 7:00 pm

      Dear Hope,

      Was it necessary to emphasize the word “indian” next to the word lazy in your post? What exactly were you trying to say when you emphasized on someone’s nationality? You just end up looking like a racist person.

      I’m sorry if you didn’t mean anything by doing it , but that’s how it came of as!ReplyCancel

    • AnonymousMarch 24, 2012 - 8:54 pm

      Annoyed: Sorry to annoy u .. That was my not intention at all, I didn't even notice i had the word Indian all caps.. The worker couldve been Arab , Pilipino, or bangledish.. That wasn't the point of my story…Like Layla said my point is be wasn't even Saudi.. It's just annoying that workers are never trained in Saudi… Theyunprofessional incompetent.. Plus management is notReplyCancel

  • AnonymousMarch 22, 2012 - 12:55 pm

    Had to laugh and shake my head the whole article! You are so funny! Thanks for sharing! Francesca from Ottawa, CanadaReplyCancel

  • AnonymousMarch 22, 2012 - 2:08 pm

    Salam alaykum Sister,

    Really praying for you Sister.
    Sometimes life is hard for us.
    Listen to my story: My brother (who tried to kill my mum and rape me) returned to my parents´home from the Finnish so called “hoitokoti” = a nursing home.
    No garantee of safety for the most beloved ones.
    This is the reality in Finland now.
    I hope I`d have the sewege problem.ReplyCancel

    • HudaMarch 22, 2012 - 10:57 pm

      Asalamualaykum sister, I just read your post. I know you directed the comment for Laylah but I just wanna say may Allah protect you and your family from those evil actions. Look after yourself and be careful because there are many situations here where I live also that have this happen… within families. Its so sad and disgusting because you would never think that it would happen in your OWN family but it does! But at the same time, its a test from Allah SWT and everything is ultimately good for the believer, even if it seems bad for us. Imagine the rewards you and your family will get for your patience insha Allah. May Allah help you find a way out from this problem and keep you safe.ReplyCancel

    • Om Lujain©March 23, 2012 - 7:00 am

      May Allah protect you and your mother! That must be really hard :( I wish he was thrown in prison instead .. and the key lost :( I am truly sorry!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 23, 2012 - 5:21 pm

      I’m so sorry to hear this!!How on earth did they allow him to return home?? Inhsallah everything will be ok despite these circumstances..I wish I could help somehow!

      I hope my post does not give the impression that I’m a person who complains about little things, because I’m not like that at all..I just had too much piled up in such a short time. In reality my problems and annoyances are petty and nothing compared to real problems in the world.ReplyCancel

  • FarooqMarch 22, 2012 - 2:17 pm

    Well written Laylah, was smiling wide.

    Regarding the sandstorm, the one that happened this week from Saturday made my son sick. He has been coughing since then. So less said the better.

    I don’t trust Saudi post at all. I once mailed a greeting card to Singapore, a month before my mother in law’s birthday and she got it 2 weeks after her birthday. (And I count her lucky) lolReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 23, 2012 - 5:23 pm

      Farooq-looks like many people, especially the children are getting sick from this weather. I have asthma which is pretty bad right now :(
      Hope he gets better soon!ReplyCancel

    • FarooqMarch 24, 2012 - 3:57 am

      Thanks Laylah. My wife has asthma too so its like double risky for him. Though he hasn’t shown any signs of Asthma yet. But it does break your heart to see a 3 month old coughing over and over.ReplyCancel

  • AlejandraMarch 22, 2012 - 4:26 pm


  • onesweetchickMarch 22, 2012 - 9:08 pm

    Hi Layla,

    I can totally relate to this !!! I too have had my mail opened,and had items taken.
    The customer service in Riyadh is not the greatest.I understand your frustration with H&M.I had a similar situation with returning a clothing item,that could not be returned,.I managed to sell the dress to someone else,for the exact price that i paid,for .In addition,I used to detest when the men would follow me around the store,and stare at me.I can recall a time when i was paying,for my groceries,and the man at the counter tried to touch my hand,i said to him,don’t touch me,and this guy just laughed at me.From that day onward i decided to pay with my bank card,or lay the cash on the counter.

    I have had men walk by me,and drop a piece of paper by my feet.I was like “what a dirty dog”.I find that to be unattractive&classless,After that experience i would cover my hair&wear sunglasses on my face when heading out to the mall,

    As,for the Handless,Headless Mannies, Hopefully something can be done about how your apartment has been left,this is just unacceptable.

    Take care
    And hope you have a better week :)ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 23, 2012 - 5:31 pm

      onesweetchick-I got an idea what I could do with the stuff I tried to return, it’s Marni accessories so I could use them in a blog giveaway :)

      Drop a piece of paper at your feet? OMG that is so pathetic.

      Where are you from btw?ReplyCancel

    • onesweetchickMarch 24, 2012 - 6:14 pm

      To answer your question,

      I am from Canada,
      and yes Men do walk by sometimes,and have dropped a piece of paper with phone numberReplyCancel

  • DentographerMarch 23, 2012 - 2:22 am

    I am sorry to. Say this but this is the first time you made me feel like you actually live in saudi!ReplyCancel

  • mrsbawazirMarch 23, 2012 - 2:30 am

    Hope u have a better week Laylah! The milkman sounds like a psychopath what with the banging and shouting, how dare he!!!It is funny that u cannot drive there in KSA but want to drive whereas I hate driving even though I can and have a license here in KL (I have no patience with traffic).But in most cases,it is a necessity to just pop down to the market without waiting for dear hubby to come back from work!But the way I see men in KSA drive, I wouldn’t want to get behind the wheels in any circumstances! Perfect maniacs and that is a lot coming from an Asian LOL!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousMarch 23, 2012 - 4:17 am

    LOOOOOOOOOOL! i love you blog thats all i can say

  • GeoffMarch 23, 2012 - 11:14 am

    OK great job! You just cleared up a huge question I had, so the Headache two days after the Dust Storm isn’t just me! I was beginning to think I was the only one, and yes it’s the worst headache I’ve ever had! Also “nice” to hear I’m not the only one who has things “stolen”, “disappeared”, from the mail, the laundry, etc…or “magically price increased” when I walk in the store! I’ve met some great Saudi friends here now, well educated and true friends. They’ve unhappily explained that although they believe this type of behavior is unethical, the men who do this type of thing don’t feel that they are doing anything wrong because we’re American and not Saudi. I asked if I was a Muslim convert would that change anything, and they replied probably not, you’d still be American. Can’t believe that Government employee pilfering is tolerated based on nationality!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 23, 2012 - 6:40 pm

      Geoff-I didn’t know Brain Blur was so common. Nothing, I say NOTHING helps. There is no cure!!! Except better weather of course.

      Everything here is based on nationality it seems. The prices hike up when a western expat comes, but they do hike them for my husband as well..ReplyCancel

  • Susie of ArabiaMarch 23, 2012 - 4:13 pm

    I’ve had all the same problems. Sometimes it’s good to vent… Hope things get better!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 23, 2012 - 6:41 pm

      Susie-I guess it’s Saudi-wide problems lol
      Hoping so too, we’re moving this week so I have some doubts..ReplyCancel

  • LaylahMarch 23, 2012 - 6:34 pm

    Felicia-I’m glad I’m not a clean freak lol that would be the last thing combined with this dust invasion!ReplyCancel

  • NurieMarch 24, 2012 - 3:01 pm

    Assalamualaikum Laylah,

    Stumbled upon your blog last week while I was googling something about ksa and since then Im hooked on your blog!

    Im a malaysian living in Riyadh for the past 5 years and reading your post today really made me chuckled and yet at the same time I feel your pain! All these may sound humorous when we tell our friends back home but when you are experiencing it, you juz feel like killing somebody! hehehe…

    Hope your days will be brighter when this sandstorm goes away! Maybe it makes everyone a little bit cranky and crazy :DReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 25, 2012 - 11:33 pm

      Nurie-was aleikum salaam! Thanks and my day is much better today! Apt looks like there's progress and the weather is great, rained all evening!ReplyCancel

  • bigstick1March 24, 2012 - 7:38 pm

    This is the culture and mindset that you agreed to and it is the environment that you wanted to raise your daughter in. Enjoy. :)

    I am looking forward to a camping trip with the kids, family and some friends soon. We intend on all going out and enjoying the river, fishing, swimming, etc. All without the morality police, the women being able to be themselves not judged on how theyReplyCancel

    • KarenMarch 25, 2012 - 12:39 pm

      bigs tick 1: the only thing keeping you from personal perfection is your smug attitude. give the sista a break!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 25, 2012 - 11:30 pm

      Bigstick I wonder what you want to really say with this comment. I think you have just made a fool out of yourself here. Even If you were trying to be sarcastic then you FAILED miserably. You end up looking pretty ignorant about Saudi, which I already knew you are in some aspects or then you just refuse to see the truth.

      Gloating at someones misfortune or whatever you call it is justReplyCancel

    • mrsbawazirMarch 26, 2012 - 4:36 am

      Bigstick, mocking someone on their decision to raise their daughter in any country and culture shows your extremist,fundamentalist, militant are extremely rude, and unaware that this blog opens up a whole new outlook of life among Saudis, Muslims, culture, religion and life in general. You love to twist and turn every topic into a religion-bashing, culture-ridiculing and lifestyle-mocking rambling rant! If I were you, I would change my attitude 360 degrees and learn to stick to the topic and be more respecting towards other people.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousMarch 24, 2012 - 10:50 pm

    Wow, those pulla look awesome! They are one of the few things I miss from Finland…delicious cinnamon rolles with the big sugar chuncks that melt in your mouth!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Mira BassamReplyCancel

  • StandyMarch 25, 2012 - 3:45 am

    LOOOOOOL.. this is sooo funny loolReplyCancel

  • Karen KingMarch 25, 2012 - 12:42 pm

    You know you live in a Finnish town, albeit Fitchburg, MA, when you can buy home-made pulla at any gas station. That's right, all the Finnish mamas here bake pulla, and the gas stations let them sell their fragrant wares right at the registers. Next time you need something Finnish, just ask me to send it to you from my hometown!

    Oh, and as usual, you have SISU! You will prevail,ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 25, 2012 - 11:31 pm

      Karen-how awesome that sounds just like Finland then! HAve you tried making them yourself?ReplyCancel

    • Karen KingMarch 30, 2012 - 3:09 pm

      I’m going to begin to photograph all the cars here in Fitchburg that have “SISU” bumper stickers on their car. I was thinking of putting one on mine in order to fit in.

      I haven’t made pulla yet because there are so many good Finnish breads and cooking around town that my attempt would be futile. You can buy Finnish products at our grocery stores – that’s how large a Finnish population we have here! And my house was built by Finns, as you know, and I own a sauna. It’s right next to the 40K gallon pool in the back yard! LOL!

      Maybe, with your guidance, I’ll make my own Finnish foods along with Armenian foods for Easter…ReplyCancel

  • bigstick1March 25, 2012 - 2:30 pm

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 26, 2012 - 9:47 am

      Bigstick get over that one comment already sheesh man don’t you have anything else to refer to? You were being so stubborn I thought that saying things simply in a metaphore would help but obviously it did the opposite since you misunderstood just about everything I wanted to say. But perhaps it was on purpose..ReplyCancel

  • bigstick1March 26, 2012 - 12:00 am

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.ReplyCancel

    • AnonymousMarch 26, 2012 - 4:42 am


      If Laylah’s blog is so concerning to you then I do not see why you need to be here. No one is forcing you to read it and get upset, so if that is whats happening just leave the blog. Its that simple.
      I feel like that is a better solution than repeatedly leaving condescending and inflammatory remarks, especially when theyre aimed at the owner of this blog.
      Of course if you want to stay and voice your opinions, that’s fine too, but perhaps you should try and be a little less disrespectful towards Laylah the next time you comment on one of her posts rather than just trying to show how “superior” you and your life choices are compared to hers.


    • HudaMarch 26, 2012 - 5:07 am

      Ashley, bigstick1 has just got some knickers in a twist and despises the fact that the majority of Laylah’s readers are Muslim women who are actually cool with Islam and cool with what Laylah says in this blog. We are h-a-p-p-y to be Muslim women and bigstick1 is just trying to be a party pooper. This is one party that no one wants you at if you’re going to be rude bigstick1.ReplyCancel

  • bigstick1March 26, 2012 - 4:53 am

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousMarch 26, 2012 - 4:06 am

    Wow! What have I done! I just accepted an offer to come from the states with my family. Honestly, I knew that there would be some adjustments, but this is just crazy. Is the dust a problem in Jeddah?ReplyCancel

    • JayMarch 26, 2012 - 2:57 pm

      No, Jeddah is compleeeetely different from Riyadh! It’s super humid, not crazy dry and dusty like Riyadh.Correct me if I’m wrong, Jeddah-dwellers, as i’ve only visited there.ReplyCancel

    • Sandy :)March 28, 2012 - 8:47 pm

      This sandstorm hit everywhere. We didn’t have it blasting so much in Jeddah but there was so much dirt in the air school was cancelled for a couple days. It still is not completely cleared up.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 29, 2012 - 12:32 am

      This sandstorm hit everywhere but as I understand it’s MUCH better dust wise in Jeddah. But if anything is going to get to you, its the humidity. So you have to choose between the dust and Riyadh or Jeddah and the killer humidity lolReplyCancel

  • Afsal_ AlifMarch 26, 2012 - 6:15 am

    luv’d the blog……Will be in touch…..Thnk You……!!ReplyCancel

  • SaraMarch 26, 2012 - 8:52 am

    Laylah, you must have Egyptian men working there. I have same kind of mess here after what ever things we had to get fixed or built :D
    Same problem also with postal services here. Or we have even worse. Usually you get nothing at all what’s been sent to you. Alhamdulillah you got you wine gums at least.

    BTW I never use milk when I make pulla. I make it in water and you can’t taste any difference. Just try it next time when you don’t have milk.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 29, 2012 - 12:29 am

      Sara-nope actually they are Bangladeshi and PAkistani, might of been a few Indians in the mix as well. The floor ppl coming tomorrow will be Philipinos.
      So where is your “here”?

      I had no idea you can make pulla without milk!Thanks for the tip!!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousMarch 26, 2012 - 2:53 pm

    I’ve been in KSA for a couple of months now, trying to set my household as a working single mother and I could have written this! I have shops withing walking distance, but the ‘handymen’ ARRRRGH! So your venting could have been mine :) Great blog, by the way, and want pulla now!ReplyCancel

    • AnonymousMarch 26, 2012 - 2:54 pm

      Sorry I had to sign as Anonymous as I don’t want a google account, Jay :)ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 29, 2012 - 12:30 am

      Jay-I can’t imagine how hard it must be to set up a household as a single mother here, seems like you always need a man to get stuff done here!ReplyCancel

    • FarooqMarch 29, 2012 - 6:54 am

      Nowhere does a man seem more important than here (evil laughter) lolReplyCancel

  • AnonymousMarch 26, 2012 - 3:36 pm

    ..just read bigstick1’s comments…
    man u got issues..seriously..especially the last comment.. u sound like those freaky stalkers that just don’t go away and always have dramatic words to end on. An educated/cultured/open minded person can voice their opinion and give their POV even if its not the same as the bloggers..unlike you who made yourself look like a fool!
    Thanks for leaving this blog you shall not be missed!

  • LaylahMarch 27, 2012 - 11:18 am

    Bigstick-your comments have been removed as per your request.ReplyCancel

  • Proud MuslimahMarch 27, 2012 - 9:18 pm

    That is so incredibly unbelievable. It makes me so happy to live in the USA when I hear these things. I cant believe the mailmen opened your packages and ate things!! Thats a felony here! I just cant even believe it.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 29, 2012 - 12:27 am

      Proud Muslimah-I know what you mean. it’s mind boggling, and that they get away with it without consequences..ReplyCancel

  • Sandy :)March 28, 2012 - 8:50 pm

    I’ve had my mail opened and eaten. I only ship through ARamex now generally. It still goes through customs- but I think they are more careful with ARamex because there is someone to follow through with complaints.

    Many people are boycotting the Al Shaya stores because of their stupid no refund policies. There’s even a Facebook group. But they are all the best stores- so I try to to get only what I must. I don’t want to make my own life harder either. It’s a fine balance.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 29, 2012 - 12:25 am

      Sandy-I would use Aramex all the time but some companies from abroad don’t use it so I have to take the risk :)
      I should start this boycott too! So annoying.ReplyCancel

  • nicoleMarch 28, 2012 - 11:50 pm

    i had to laugh at your story of you “stealing” the milk! :) in december i sent my husband a box to riyadh via ups, and it had some cake pops that i had made for him. a few got eaten at customs. but i guess that’s a small price to pay for not having them all confiscated, since they were in the shapes of christmas trees and snowmen. anyway, i hope they liked my baking. and i hope i can try pulla sometime!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 29, 2012 - 12:26 am

      nicole-that sounds like a small miracle then, that they would let those shapes pass!ReplyCancel

    • nicoleMarch 29, 2012 - 7:44 am

      we’ve actually had lots of christmas-themed things get through–a spongebob stocking, gifts wrapped in christmas paper, candy canes. we’d never had anything taken until that incident. and then in february, i sent him a valentine’s box. it was chock full of valentine’s themed things; everything had red hearts, be my valentine, etc. on it. the only thing that got taken at customs was the card. :(ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 29, 2012 - 10:47 am

      nicole- that’s interesting! Saudis LOVE spongebob so he will always get through. They sell candy canes here. I dont think they know its a christmas thing!But your valentines box wow was there anything edible in that one?ReplyCancel

  • UmmIbraheemMarch 30, 2012 - 12:19 am

    I can totally relate. I lived in Madinah for sometime and although overall our experience was good and enjoyable some things just didn’t make sense!
    I was more patient with bad customer services and things like that, but my husband on the other hand just had enough. Maybe because he dealt with more people and services than I ever did so it’s no wonder he doesn’t seem to ever want to return…as much as I’d like to!ReplyCancel

  • nicoleMarch 30, 2012 - 3:06 am

    yes, some heart-shaped marshmallows and a big chocolate chip cookie in a heart tin. :) a few books, some valentine’s-themed angry birds boxer shorts (overshare? sorry, lol!), and his favorite easter candy, hershey’s marshmallow eggs. couldn’t understand why they’d let all the heart stuff through (easter stuff too, but like you said, they probably didn’t know that’s what it was) and just take the card! husband was pretty upset about losing the card; he called ups to complain and try to get it back. of course, they said it had been thrown away by then.ReplyCancel

  • maryMarch 30, 2012 - 2:44 pm

    Hahahahaha! Omg Laylah, your post just made me roll with laughter! You write well. ^_^ Thanks for the visit too!


  • MinäMarch 31, 2012 - 7:39 pm

    As always I am so glad to read your story from Saudis. These storys really open my eyes about life and sometimes it is scary. But I hope you will keep writing. I`ll be here. Looking forward.ReplyCancel

  • Proud MuslimahApril 4, 2012 - 9:59 pm

    Tell your family to make cupcakes with laxitives in them next time ;) Let’s see how they like eating things that don’t belong to them after that!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousApril 8, 2012 - 5:53 am

    As an American living in KSA, I love reading your blogs. I swear, I thought I was reading my own thoughts on this post!ReplyCancel

  • lalaApril 21, 2012 - 8:48 am

    Lmfao!!!! Sugar high part!!!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousJune 15, 2012 - 1:55 am

    It is amazing how foreigners married to Saudis feel the same way and struggle with the same issues…though I would add the NIGHTMARE that can be to have a maid…it is killing me! You should also write about it…best regards.

  • Karen BrownJuly 20, 2012 - 1:53 pm

    I’ve just found your blog and this post is RIGHT ON! We’ve been living in Saudi for about 13 years now, and even though our experience is a bit different (not married to a Saudi), these irritants drive me insane too! If it’s alright I’m going to link to this on my Facebook page, my other expat friends will love you!
    All the best and happy Ramadan
    Karen BrownReplyCancel

  • AnonymousJuly 31, 2012 - 5:04 pm

    Lol, funny. Hope everything is okay now. I’m from England and actually envious of you living in Saudi. We would take any oppurtunity to live there in Makkah or Madinah.
    Do not take it for granted. This is an oppurtunity of a lifetime for some people.
    Here in England we have a lot of Islamic education alhamdulillah so we get taught a lot about Islam and stuff so we really take up these oppurtunities when we visit KSA.
    All the best for your new home!

    P.s. My cousin and her family live in Madinah and they enjoy it a lot there. Why don’t you move there too?ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousNovember 19, 2012 - 10:47 pm

    lovd your post. i wonder if there are educational solutions to many of the issues you raise regarding integrity and also sense of civic pride/duty. Are you aware of Ahmad Shugairy? he has an interesting tv show and website, based on his interesting attitude of trying to bring about improvements to Saudi and Arabic societies. do check him out.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahNovember 21, 2012 - 9:21 pm

      No I haven’t heard of him thanks for letting me know!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousNovember 23, 2012 - 5:39 pm

    thank you for responding to my comment Laylah!
    He has a website called Ihsaan to sponsor projects that are about reviving the true spirit of Islam through real actions such as volunteering, creating spaces that are wheel-chair accessible, educational projects, service to the poor, – all by encouraging regular people themselves to start such things – he is not a director of all these projects, just someone who wants to inspire them…so it’s a decentralized thing but quite empowring. He has a cafe in Jeddah for young people, and he is the host of the program “Khawater” – there are many episodes on youtube- including with subtitles – here is one:

    here you can read an article in the American press about him:

    i just really think you and him would have many same ideas; by the way, he did visit Denmark, a Scandinavian country, and i think he even went to Finland and he did some Khawater shows on that experience (search Youtube for Khawater 7) it was really neat.

    • LaylahNovember 23, 2012 - 9:52 pm

      Thanks so much, I will check these out!ReplyCancel

  • AsiaAugust 20, 2013 - 8:52 am

    This is the awesomest rant I have ever read! Lol! Maybe because I can relate to every word literally. This makes me think if they are "already" like this (their ways and attitudes) even before expats came in?? If YES, is there a hope for the future? If NO, umm… let's just go back to "YES". LOL! Just like today, I forgot to remind my husband to get a drinking waterReplyCancel

  • AnonymousAugust 23, 2013 - 7:44 am

    I am just about to move to Saudi and read this page. Very interesting and I was actually crying with laughter at your last bit about the postal service. I guess when you get annoyed like this the only thing you can do is laugh! Thank you for helping me prepare for life in Saudi.ReplyCancel

  • Adelina RashitiJuly 23, 2014 - 8:34 pm

    Love your sense if humour and reading your post.. never stop writing! ReplyCancel

  • KashifSeptember 4, 2014 - 12:57 pm

    Hahahaha, this is hilarious. Just started reading your blog- keep it coming!!ReplyCancel

  • […] It is indeed remarkable how none of the chocolates have been opened for “inspection”. There were a total of four bars in the package, the same amount as my mom had put it (had to check of course). None have been nibbled on or half-eaten first, then left in the box. Which actually happened once, read about it here: Stuff That Annoys Me […]ReplyCancel

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