The following is my personal love story from the ‘Magic Kingdom’ of Saudi Arabia. How I met my Saudi Prince post was originally published 2012 on the 4th anniversary of the day I randomly met who I thought was (and is) the most handsome and charming man I ever laid eyes on. I had left Finland to work in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh in a large governmental hospital. The plan was to stay a year, maybe two exploring Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. Saudi Arabia as a country and culture had fascinated me quite some time before I’d made my final decision to take on the challenge of relocating there as a single western woman.
Before I left to KSA some of my friends, family and co-workers used to tease me that I will never come back to Finland if I go to Saudi Arabia. They would jokingly say things like “you’re so pretty an oil Sheikh will surely kidnap you and lock you in his palace” “a rich prince will sweep you off your feet, you’ll move to a palace and have 20 kids with him” and so forth.
My reply to them was: “not in a million years! I would never marry a Saudi guy!”.
Lol and now 7 years later, here I am, married to a Saudi guy and we have 2 kids (at times it does seem like there are in fact 20 of them in the house). So I called this post “Saudi Prince” because of the irony of it all.
Disclaimer: My husband is not from the Saudi royal family and no we don’t live in a palace either.
..Exactly four years ago my shift at the Saudi hospital had started out like any other night. The allocated patients kept me busy and life seemed to be rolling on as usual. Little did I know that night would change my life for good.
I was thankful to have my friend “Katherine” working on the same shift, it was always a relief having another westerner and English speaking person to talk to during the night shift. We had again agreed to exchange our patients over to each other to enable a break in the middle of the shift.
The moment that would change my life happened very randomly. I was looking for Katherine to ask her which coffee she wanted from Starbuck’s. It was my turn to fetch that night’s caffeine dose and I was on my way down to the coffee shop. I saw her nurse presence light on in one room and decided to pop my head in quickly.
As I peaked in, Katherine was chatting inside with the patient and his relative. The Euro Cup football match was playing loudly on TV. She excitedly motioned me to enter the room further so curiously I did, at the same time asking what her Starbucks order was going to be.
As I glanced at the patient sitting there on his bed, something strange happened. As if time had stopped, like a missing piece had fallen into its place. A handsome young man looked back at me, equally baffled by the moment. For just a few seconds our eyes met and then both of us shyly looked away. I greeted the men with salaams and smiled. They replied back politely, not even looking at me for long but eyeing the floor or the TV. I had learned by now this was a sign of respect, not disrespect as my own culture would tell me. They did not want to make me feel awkward.
I felt a rush of blood going to my head, I was blushing now. Oh how I hated when that happened! I wanted to leave, but then I felt a certain curiosity of this man who I thought was probably one of the most handsome men I had ever laid eyes on. He had a certain sparkle in his eyes that intrigued me and his smile seemed to light up the room. I didn’t want to leave anymore.
I lingered for a moment, asking about the game on TV. The truth is I knew nothing about football, the only thing I cared about was the Italian football team, for other reasons than their skills. He made a joke about the Italians and we all laughed. I told him I was rooting for Italy and more jokes were thrown around. Secretly I was thinking to myself how the patient actually reminded me of an Italian football player with his long black hair brushed up in a ponytail and his smiling dark chocolate eyes.
When I couldn’t think of any more excuses to stay in the room I left to fetch the coffee. I kept thinking about the patient and wanted to ask Katherine about him. I felt drawn to go talk to him more. Later that night my chance came when Katherine and I swapped patients for her break.
Katherine had informed her patients she was leaving for an hour and meanwhile nurse “Layla from Finland” would be taking over. As she was leaving she teased me, “he will call you for sure, something tells me he wants to see you again. When you walked into the room it was like something made a “click” sound! I swear I could hear it!”
About five minutes after she left, the call bell rang. Room 42. It’s him! I was nervous to enter and felt my heart racing. The young man asked if he could get a pain killer. Sure, I said and left to check his files. When I returned he thanked me for the medicine and shyly asked a few questions about me.
I was amazed how it felt so easy to talk to him, his English was perfect and I forgot he was even Saudi. It was as if we already knew each other somehow. It became apparent that we had actually lived in the same area in the U.S as kids. What a coincidence! We talked about Finland and at some point I mentioned how we have so many moose there but I couldn’t remember how to say the plural. What was it, perhaps mooses? He laughed and told me it must be meese! To this day I remember that silly joke and how it made us both laugh so hard. His smile filled my heart with joy.
Thinking back to that day and where I was in my life I realize how fortunate I was meeting this remarkable man. From that night shift, it has been a long, sometimes extremely hard but rewarding journey to where we are now. We have had to overcome so many obstacles on the way.
No one believed in us in the beginning, except us.
Never in a million years did I think something like this would happen to me when I landed on Saudi soil. When I left Finland for Saudi, people used to tease me, you will find a Saudi Prince there, fall in love and stay forever! I told them, in your dreams only! I guess sometimes fairy tales do come true.
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Hello there! I’m Laura, the founder of Blue Abaya- the first travel blog in Saudi Arabia, established in 2010. Travel has always been my passion- so far I’ve visited 75 countries and I’m always on the lookout for new adventures inside and outside of Saudi Arabia! Follow my adventures in Saudi and beyond on instagram: instagram.com/blueabaya
It’s so sweet Layla…like a real fairy tale
Thanks for sharing…
Thank you Mrs Gebu!
It’s so sweet Layla…like a real fairy tale
Thanks for sharing…
Congrats on your anniversary!
Layla, you have such a great way with words. I loved your story and how things developed between you – in fact I am now even more intrigued and want to know more! I can see the parallels in your “struggle” to get to where you are now – I am still “struggling”, my other half is working in Riyadh whilst I am working in Indonesia for now – we have been “together” for 4 years too! Maybe next year we will both be in nearer countries! Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing ;)
Shimshim-thank you and I hope you will be able to live in the same country with your other half soon!
Hi laylah, such a sweet story :) have always wondered how you met your significant other in saudi, I guess this answered my question :)
Hi Sireh, thanks and I guess you could say it was totally randomly!
i love your story! ♥♥♥ Wishing you many many happy years and cute kids more around! Finnish princess found love and got love back so far away from home and a different world! :D Thank you for sharing lovliest moments from your life.
Thanks Ildi! Never would’ve thought to find love in this country!
Please, please write some more. What happened after that? Love your blog!
Diana-thank you!Ohhh many many things happened after that. Maybe I really should start writing that book, eh?
Aww mashaAllah what a lovely story :). May Allah swt bless your marriage eternally,and place an everlasting love and mercy between you two always!
Aww thanks for the kind wishes!
Subhanallah!…what a beautiful story i was imagining the entire seen playing in my mind mashallah. Allah make it a long and happy marriage ameen.
Umm Lujayn thank you!
Salammualaykum Laylah,thanis for sharing with us this story :) Subhanallah,we can never know how or when we will meet our soulmate. I met my Saudi Prince while in university here in Malaysia,he was cousins with a friend of mine and we too immediately ‘clicked’. Now we are blessed with a beautiful princess. Although,as you experienced, the journey to our marriage wasn’t easy,but Allah has willed our union ;) Laylah, how does his family accept/treat you as a non Saudi wife,may we know?
Umm Gamar-yes we can never know when that day comes! They have come to accept me and treat me very well alhamdulillah.
Very nice story :) wish you guys much much love and happiness inshallah
Thanks Lady Carrot!
Magical! When I interviewed for a writing position with my husband’s company (our week anniversary was yesterday), everyone I met seemed to be impressed with me. I was asked by everyone, have you met David? Turns out my future husband was out that day, home with sick children. So many people mentioned David in that interview, that I knew there was something special about that man. I didn’t meet him until first day on the job, but I felt that same click, too. As we married last week, I remember bowing my head during prayers and thought about your true love. I pray that we are both happy with our princes and our lives forever. God blessed us, and I am so grateful! Thank you for sharing.
Karen-thanks for sharing your story too!
MashAllah Laylah what a beautiful story and I am so glad you found true love. Its so true we never know when it will happen. If you would have told me as a girl I would marry a Saudi and live here I would have never ever believed it would you lol. Oh I get the married a Saudi prince thing all the time to weird lol.
Noor, true I would’ve laughed and not believed as well! Life is full of surprises.
Lovely story of how you guys met each other. Speaking of football, Euro2012 is going on right now, and as I type, I’m watching Italy vs Croatia. lol!
I’m still rooting for Italy to my husband’s annoyance ;)
beautiful story..so sweet mashallah!.
I am intrigued to know like Umm Gamar how his family accepted/treated you into their family..there are many girls going through similar situations and it will be nice to hear from someone who has experience.
Your husband as you mentioned spent time in america so his family does that make his family a little less conservative to other saudi families who have never travelled and maybe more open to the option of the “dreaded western wife
Well I can say that even though they all lived in US they are still very conservative, except for my husband I guess:)
OMG, it’s love from first sight! You’re so lucky Layla! Or should I rather say: you are so BLESSED! Such love is a luxury, does not happen to everyone. I’m happy for you and hope this love will flourish forever!
Alice thank you! I don’t believe in love at first sight but it was definitely something at first sight :)
thanks for sharing the story Laylah. Remember a movie’s tag line. “Love will find a way” Well it sure did.
In the words of the great (just kidding ok!) Justin Bieber, “Never say never” lol.
My wife said she would never have imagined marrying an Indian but here we are 3 yrs this July and still going strong alhamdulillah.
Farooq-congrats to you for the upcoming anniversary!
Great story Layla. How long after meeting your husband did you become Muslim? Or are you Muslim? If not, would you consider it? Sorry for all the questions, but you have such an interesting life it leaves one wanting to hear more and more.
Hi it was about a year after.
Beautiful story. Made me smile all the way to the end. Starbucks must be your favorite coffee place today :)
lol Ya I have a favorite there :)
Lovely story, very well written. (I’ll take issue with the Italian football team though! I prefer my footballers to have machisimo.)
Steve-oh come one! Italians are a “league” of their won haha
Your story inspired me so much! I’m an expat nurse too here in ksa but not like you i think my love story in kinda complicated. I want to share it with you and ask some advice if you dont mind. I really need it from a person that can understand my situation.
Hoping for your response
Hi there Ms J,
Why don’t you drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your story there :)
oh, thank you, such a lovely story…. please post part 2!
there would be probably up to part 200 if I continued the story :)
Great story, you are soooooo lucky!
Thanks Soile! You never know who you will meet here ;)
Thanks Star Vogue!
Wonderful story, I`m so happy for both of you. You look so comfortable with muslim culture, which I appreciate. Do you speak finnish to your child? I love the way you tell in your blog about Finland but also about good things in Saudi. I hope you and your family all the best!
I was wondering if u knew the “undertheabaya” blogger and why she decided to go private. A lot of her readers cannot contact her now and it just seems strange that she failed to mention anything or even a reason and won’t accept anyone trying to read her blog either. I didn’t know anyone else who may know of her so thats why I’m asking you..hope you can shed some light on the matter.
lol, loved it. hope to hear more. May Allah protect and bless you both, ameen.
Loved your story! Thank you for sharing! It's so romantic! Francesca from Ottawa, Canada
You have a great love story, I love it…!!!..Where do you live now? In Saudi Arabia or Finland ? How many children do you have ? Wish you the best !
You have a great love story !!!
Great love story
felt like reading Romeo & Juliet…..love @ first sight….Seems like the Indian love epic (Laila & Majnu ). I wish I too have such a wonderful & fascinating experience in the near future……!!
That’s so sweet :-) I wish I could meet a Saudi like this
Mashallah you are lucky to have met someone so sweet, and its quite a story to tell your kids :-). You certainly ahve a way with words, you painted quite a picture, I love reading your posts, especially the ones where you share personal stories, they really draw you in, and we as readers feel ike that we know though we’ve never met…enjoy your summer holidays in Finland.xxx
This is an amazing story! Thank you so much for sharing it!
THAT IS SO SWEET.
I am a hopelessly romantic 19 yearold, and your story made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
I have read your entire blog, and have enjoyed it very very much. Please don’t stop posting. Ignore the haters and the copycats, they are only a drop in the sea, there are so many more people who love and appreciate your work and your awesome sense of humor!
Hugs from Canada <3333
I LOVE this story! so happy for you. may God bless your lives together, in this world and in Heaven! much love to you from a sister in Ottawa, canada.
Wow, unsure how I came across your blog and ended up reading this. I wish I fell in love with a woman this way. It’s so beautiful. I guess for some dreams as such come true, for others they remain just dreams.. God bless your entire family for always and preserve your love till you reach paradise and forever.
Thank you all for the kind words and wishes!
Mrs. Layla…You are really lucky….May God Bless You…. Both
What a great story! I have heard of so many doctor-nurse stories (my own marriage is one of those) but this story of nurse-patient is unique and so entertaining! May you always stay happy with your dream prince. and may your blog continue to enlighten us in the same way as it has been doing for the past several years.
= Dr. Taher
How I Met My Saudi Prince | Blue Abaya
[…] Surprisingly there are countless love stories that started in Magic Kingdom..So many of my friends found love here. It’s actually quite ironic that of all places in the world, these couples met in the Saudi Kingdom. I compiled a list of short love stories from Saudi-Arabia. Read our love story here. […]
I want to see your family pics, can I? where?
Sooooo romantic! I just started reading your blog and I cant stop! Im a fan!
thank you Abbey:)
This is my second time commenting on your blog. I love your posts. It’s a good-read and I keep learning from you.
I love your story, something worth to share. Your story can enlighten couples who are currently having the same situation you had before. You maybe like a living proof of a saying “against all odds”
Please don’t stop blogging.
More power to you and may Allah bless you and your family. :)
Thank you Dee! I hope our story can give hope to those who feel that the entire world is against them succeeding!
can I get married to Ksa girls there?? I am from India.. will they get married to Indians??
Pleas Please, tell us more. What happened next?? dying to hear more….
l would love to visit Dubai one day , happy for you layla and good on youm !
Congratulation, you got your prince…
can i get my princess here,
[…] in and stood by my choice to marry a Saudi man. She knew our love story from the beginning, when I met my husband, at the very same ward. Waiting for his family to accept his choice of spouse was one of the most […]
It was so nice to read something positive for once, especially being a result of a mixed marriage (my father being Saudi) and a western mother.
Things are never black and white when it comes to humans and relationships. I’m sure you will (or already have) had problems issues and worse with your husband, his family or even yours .. as most marriages do .. only yours will have more facets that most would not be able to relate to.
May you be happy always.
Nice story… I have been living here all my life all my family did. And i am about to leave this Land. Wish you best of luck and hope the world you are living in may stay as it is for ever.
Because the world i experienced here is totally different then what you described lol. I came her with my family when i was just 1 year old baby. Now i am 30 Years old
Anyways best of luck once again.
I have seen your posts from a long time back with our dear friend, Carol. Oh how
I miss chatting with her about our lives here in KSA. It was so fun to read your story
About how you met your ‘Prince’ as well. Isn’t life exciting here? Ha ha. I’m so happy for
You. I understand that look and feeling….but I never thought I’d actually marry my husband
When we met. I did go home and told my mother I wanted to marry someone just like him,
such a great story
BTW didn’t know you are medical as well!