abaya saudi boring blackFirst of all what is an abaya? For those who don’t know, it’s the black “overcoat” or “cloak” some Muslim women choose to wear over their normal clothing when they are in public. Read this post to learn more about abayas: Underneath the Abaya

In Saudi Arabia it’s obligatory for everyone, even the non-Muslims and western women to wear it in public places. Actually I recently found out that there is no specific law that stipulates abaya is a MUST. And for sure it doesn’t say anywhere it has to be BLACK.

The Saudi religious authorities have made the abaya compulsory for all women and the muttawa (religious police) is tasked to enforce this on all women. In this case one interpretation of Islam is forced on everyone, yet the Quran states: “there is no compulsion in religion“.

I never really liked being a part of “the masses”. Everyone around here looks the same here in public, it’s all black and white without individuality, personal style or personality showing. In Riyadh most women cover their faces too, so these women are literally invisible and “faceless”.

I decided to choose another color abaya because I wanted to feel more like an individual. I wanted to show other women it’s ok to be different, there’s nothing to be afraid of. Women can show their personality with how they dress, and still be modest. There’s nothing wrong with showing some personality and thinking out of the box.

I hope slowly change will come to Saudi and women won’t be so worried about what others think. I read that back in the days of Prophet Mohammed men and women used colorful attire and the Prophet’s wife Aisha even wore red and yellow garments. Actually, only very recently has black become the standard color of dress for women in Saudi Arabia.


My abaya is blue also because I feel like I’m different, I don’t fit in any ready made category. I am Finnish and proud of my roots and the color of Finland is blue, but Saudi-Arabia feels like my home.  I’m also a person that does not accept everything that is thrown out there and believe all that is said in media. I always question and research things and think with my own brain. I am shy, but I have strong opinions and I am passionate in things I believe in..I’m not afraid to jump a bungee jumps, dive with whales and sharks or skydive, but you won’t find me first in line for public appearances!

Maybe you could call me some sort of a rebel too. Wearing a blue abaya is my way of showing my personality and going on my own path in life.

DISCLAIMER: in 2008 the black abaya was the norm. EVERYONE and their mother wore black abayas in Riyadh. This has changed slowly and in 2018 it’s not uncommon at all to see other colors worn in Riyadh.

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  • omaimanajjarMay 6, 2010 - 1:10 pm

    Hello Layla!
    that is very brave !! wearing a blue abaya..! I kindda like that!
    it takes alot of courage to do such a thing..coz you know its risky and those mutwaa could’ve got u in trouble!
    I like your attitude.. but be careful
    Omaima Al NajjarReplyCancel

  • LaylahMay 9, 2010 - 12:07 am


    thanks, yes I will be careful and inshallah I wont get into trouble with muttawa :)ReplyCancel

  • Tara Umm OmarMay 18, 2010 - 7:28 pm

    Kudos to you for wearing a blue abayah! There is nothing in Islam that says we must always wear a black abayah. Have you had any stares by the people when you’re out and about in Riyadh?ReplyCancel

  • Tara Umm OmarMay 19, 2010 - 4:08 pm

    Also are you married to a Saudi?ReplyCancel

  • LaylahMay 19, 2010 - 7:56 pm

    yes I do get quite a few stares, more from women than from men though, alhamdulillah I am not trying to attract mens attention but to make a statement :)
    Usually younger girls will whisper and point at me and giggle, older women will just stare.. wonder what is going on in their minds!ReplyCancel

  • Tara Umm OmarMay 21, 2010 - 8:57 am

    Masha’Allah you are very brave. I hate to draw attention to myself so couldn’t fathom wearing any color abayah except black here.ReplyCancel

  • BasmaMay 24, 2010 - 12:46 pm

    i say GOOD FOR YOU! be different! who said there was anything wrong w/ that??ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousMay 26, 2010 - 7:41 am

    Salam Layla, can you put your picture with this colour of abaya? Is it really such light like a colour of your blog?
    Greetings from Poland


  • LaylahMay 31, 2010 - 1:15 am

    Salaam Nadia!
    I wouldnt dare wear a light blue abaya in Riyadh-instant jail sentence!
    Its the color of my banner, and now I have added a picture of it too :)ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousJune 15, 2010 - 8:35 pm

    Thank you very much. It’s nice colour. What about Saudi women? Do they comment your style, or it’s popular>


  • SofijaApril 6, 2011 - 12:28 pm

    I would like though transmit (reschedule) on moment and lose in this crowd :)ReplyCancel

  • I am a MuslimahJune 7, 2011 - 6:14 pm

    Assalamualaikum Layla. I love your attitude and your courage mashaAllah. May Allah bless you. I had one question. In one of the comments, you said that you would immediately be put to jail if you wore a light blue abaya in Riyadh. Why is that?ReplyCancel

  • LaylahJune 14, 2011 - 10:36 pm

    I don’t think a very light color abaya would be viewed as ok by the religious police so they most likely could arrest you for it :(ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousJune 18, 2011 - 8:48 pm

    Hello Laylah, I loved your blog!!!
    After reading this article, one question came to my mind: Would it be allowed (for Afgan women, for example)to wear Burkha in Saudi Arabia? In eneral, burkhas are light blue in color…

    Thanks and best regards,

  • LaylahJune 24, 2011 - 11:23 am

    Hello Iva!
    Thanks for stopping by glad you liked it!
    That’s a very good question about the afghani burkha!I would say wearing it in Jeddah medina or Mecca would be fine but Riyadh I’m not sure really!perhaps they would get stopped and advised to change into a black one.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousJuly 5, 2011 - 6:36 am

    I enjoy your blog!

    I’m an American about to move next month to Riyadh to teach English. I’m no stranger to wearing an abaya and hijab, having previously lived in Yemen (until things got too heated this past March). My head scarves are rather colorful and were fine for Yemen; however, I haven’t found any reference to wearing colorful and/or patterned hijabs—that is, anything other than a solid black—in Riyadh. Please enlighten me.

    Shukran, akhti!ReplyCancel

  • LaylahJuly 6, 2011 - 1:13 pm

    Hi there!
    You will have no problems wearing your colorful hijabs in Riyadh or elsewhere in KSA.
    I wear different color ones all the time! Its mostly the Saudi women that actually wear the black ones, other arab nationalities will often have different colors :)ReplyCancel

  • r.alsharifJuly 16, 2011 - 3:09 pm

    I think thats great of you to breakaway from the norms of society and wear a blue abbaya! :DReplyCancel

  • A.StrangerSeptember 20, 2011 - 5:27 am

    :) I always thought all women in Niqab looked exactly alike, that was until I started wearing Niqab.
    Then I realised how one’s individuality really shines through.
    I live in Bahrain, so there are plenty of Niqabis here as well.
    The first thing I realised was how my brothers would be able to point me out in a crowd. It was because they knew me so well, that regardless of is I was ninja now, they could see the clear difference in me and other women.

  • Iggy PickleJanuary 20, 2012 - 12:45 am

    What can I say, your beautiful whether black or blue – as long as it’s an abaya we’re talking about. I would wear a pink abaya, and risk arrest. Or maybe no one would see me, because I would blend into the rest of the pink scenery, especially in front of a pink house or mosque…ReplyCancel

  • Iggy PickleJanuary 20, 2012 - 12:45 am

    What can I say, your beautiful whether black or blue – as long as it’s an abaya we’re talking about. I would wear a pink abaya, and risk arrest. Or maybe no one would see me, because I would blend into the rest of the pink scenery, especially in front of a pink house or mosque…ReplyCancel

  • Reem PhilbyJanuary 29, 2012 - 6:24 pm

    Salam Laylah, interesting post :) I lived in Riyadh all my life up until the point I got married and moved to Jeddah. Here I got used to wearing colored abayas ,, so I have a few in different colors and I wear them in Riyadh when I visit my family. More interesting: I actually made those abayas in Riyadh lol ,, I admit the guy in the shop wasn’t thrilled with the idea but he still made them. My family keeps telling me I shouldn’t wear them in riyadh, but honestly I never found it problematic :) I love colored abayas :DReplyCancel

  • Reem PhilbyJanuary 29, 2012 - 6:30 pm

    Salam Layla ,, Interesting post ,, I live in Riyadh all my life up to the point I got married and moved to Jeddah where I got used to wearing the colored abayas. I still wear them when I visit my family in Riyadh and although they keep telling me I’ll get in trouble I honestly never did alhamdulillaah and never found it an issue :) ironically, I actually had those abayas made in Riyadh LOLReplyCancel

  • LaylahJanuary 30, 2012 - 11:20 pm

    Reem Philby-good for you for being different :) Hey can I ask where you got those abayas made, and where you got the fabrics from?ReplyCancel

  • funikaFebruary 20, 2012 - 9:15 am

    I was googling of shops at Jeddah to get a new Abaya for my beautiful wife ,interesting to have a new colored one instead of the black.. And i was lucky to read what you wrote about it.. so would you please help me finding any good places selling colored abayas here in Jeddah..ThxReplyCancel

  • bigstick1February 20, 2012 - 6:33 pm

    Seriously it is absurd that women have to look like bats.ReplyCancel

  • Proud MuslimahMarch 8, 2012 - 10:25 pm

    How ironic. The woman nearest to the camera has a bag that says “boring boring boring boring boring boring” on it while your blog was about the flatness of an entire society wearing the same thing.

    coincidence? ;)ReplyCancel

  • Proud MuslimahMarch 8, 2012 - 10:31 pm

    Also, Layla, I noticed your quote that Muslims sometimes feel like thinking with our own brains is frowned upon and that’s why you feel like you don’t belong.

    Organized religion is hard for us free thinkers. I have an uncomfortable time belonging to such an institutionalized lifestyle at times too. However, I’ve learned that the only way that I can find peace in an organized religion is to stop seeing it as being that. People have made Islam organized (not only that, but you are literally surrounded by muttawa and individuals that squash personal interpretation of religious texts). It is really hard for me to even get along with the Muslim community because I don’t see the world through the same eyes that they do. Like you, I am a Western convert. I come from an entirely different world. The only way Allah fits into my life is when I stopped applying cultural standards to him, stopped feeling like I couldn’t have any freedom of thought in interpreting my religion MY WAY, and started making Allah my own personal friend. If Islam truly is the true religion, it needs to fit in with everyone–not just people who live a uniquely Saudi/Arab lifestyle. I also, as a human being, have a brain that Allah gave to me. Why give me a brain if He didn’t intend for me to use it?ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMarch 9, 2012 - 1:22 pm

      Proud Muslimah-I hadn’t noticed the “boring” bag! That is such a funny coincidence! Thank you for being sharp eyed and noticing it :)

      I do sometimes feel squashed and suffocated by “advice” coming from hundred directions in what a “real” or “good” Muslim is supposed to look like, act like or say.
      Especially on this blog, but also in real life. Some people I thought were friends cut contact with me just because we disagreed on a religious ruling or whatever. Seriously people are that shallow. Often the holiest of all are like this.
      It draws me further from the community and I prefer to keep to myself.

      “Why did he give me a brain if He didn’t intend for me to use it?”

  • MelissaMarch 19, 2012 - 7:33 pm

    It must get tiring having to wear black all the time. That blue abaya is beautiful, I really love the beads on the sleeve. I got a lilac colored one from a friend when she was living in Saudi for a little while and I'm adding some pretty trim to the sleeves.ReplyCancel

  • sherryApril 11, 2012 - 9:26 pm

    Variety is the spice of life.ReplyCancel

    • AnonymousJuly 4, 2012 - 10:59 am

      I have a blue and pink abaya! I have been in Riyadh for a few months now. It always gets admiring glances from women.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousJuly 4, 2012 - 10:55 am

    I just found your blog by accident and what a coincidence! I also have a blue abaya and it has pink embroidery on it. I have been here in Riyadh for 6 months. I have only had admiring glances from ladies in it. Ironically, due to its jean material it is more modest than the standard-issue flimsy black one (particularly on a windy day!).ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousJuly 4, 2012 - 10:57 am

    I have a blue abaya too! I have always worn it here in Riyadh. It is blue jean material with pink embroidery. It gets admiring glances from women all the time!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousJuly 18, 2012 - 8:08 pm

    my abayah are all coloured. I only wear black when i go to makkah coz its the only one that has a tight enough sleeve that will not roll up when I pray. no run-ins with mutawas just yet. And my abayah are all chiffon and some are made from chiffon silk… if i have to wear this outside my house i might as well wear something i like…

    The Quran said covered but never said it has to be black.ReplyCancel

  • Renee van ZylAugust 25, 2012 - 2:02 am

    Yay to you for the blue abaya. I live in Jeddah and amongst others I have a brown printed abaya and a green one. I figured, they can't sell it if I can't wear it? And green is my favourite colour so this is my way of not always being depressed when I have to go out into the sweltering heat all covered up!!ReplyCancel

  • LaylahAugust 28, 2012 - 5:34 pm

    Thank you everyone and yay for all the blue and colored abayas out there :)ReplyCancel

  • Saadia MirzaSeptember 8, 2012 - 10:01 pm

    I agree with everything you said :) The abaya doesn’t have to be of any shape or color. A loose cloth to cover your whole body from head to toe is called Abaya. I love styling my loose but elegant abayas. I Personalize them. There is nothing wrong with it.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousSeptember 19, 2012 - 4:32 am

    Salaam Aleikum. I personally think the abayas are black to force women to stay indoors given the color absorbs more heat (notice how men wear white thoubs, specially in summer) and the same color clothing (black/white) is an attempt at social cohesion – to make people appear the same so that status (wealth) differentiation is less visible but closer examination of the cloth and the perfume will give it away !


  • Sadaf AfshanOctober 21, 2012 - 11:56 pm

    Asslamaleikum, Masha’Allah you have a very interesting blog. I live in Toronto and run a small home based as well as online business dealing in what I like to call contemporary abayas, jilbabs, hijabs etc. I have been wearing an abaya for the past 6 years and have grown up seeing all my female relatives wear it. However even I felt that most women are just tired of wearing the same old black abayas and here in Western countries you really tend to stick out in the crowd if you wear a traditional black middle eastern abaya. Another problem with most middle eastern abayas is that I hardly find any cotton ones atleast here in US/Canada.So, I thought of coming up with something that is chic,comfortable yet modest.
    However, I am planning to go for Umrah next year InshaAllah so I was wondering if I would stick out in the crowd if I wear brown/grey/green cotton abayas ? Please advise.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahOctober 22, 2012 - 11:10 am

      HI Sadaf!
      No you won’t stick out of the crowd in Mecca at all with colored abayas, in fact most non Saudis there don’t even wear abayas..Many from the African and Asian countries are wearing their traditional clothing, some have Umrah clothing so women might be wearing even white, light colored albeit covering clothing. In Jeddah colored abaya are more common than in Riyadh as well.ReplyCancel

  • JessicaFebruary 21, 2014 - 5:05 pm

    So excited that I found your blog, It is everything I’ve been looking for in a blog about Saudi culture, experiences, and just life in general. It is nice after moving from Canada to have something to connect to in Riyadh.ReplyCancel

  • SalmaMarch 3, 2014 - 3:13 pm

    I think it is outrageous that women in Saudi Arabia aren’t allowed to wear anything other than black! I’v never heard of this nonsense. You go for it! Why would they arrest you for wearing a color? It’s crazy! I think this is not what Islam is about. A women should be able to wear any color she wants, it doesn’t make sense to wear black all the time. Is it the same thing for men? Inshallah you won’t get jailed for the color you wear! Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • HannahJune 16, 2014 - 11:03 pm

    I have a brown and gold abaya that I wore this year here in Riyadh. It ripped though, and now I have a black one with royal blue sleeves. I felt like a rebel in the brown one…and loved every second. :DReplyCancel

    • LaylaJune 22, 2014 - 3:49 am

      That sounds really like a beautiful and ‘rebellious’ abaya ;)ReplyCancel

  • Blue Abaya Interviews » Blue AbayaSeptember 4, 2014 - 7:38 pm

    […] words, she’s an excellent writer and her questions were very interesting too! “The blue abbaya is both a symbol and an attitude for Laylah’s blog. It’s a posture of being respectful to local […]ReplyCancel

  • HiraApril 24, 2016 - 11:16 am

    OMG, while reading this i felt that someone has written my mind. I have only been in riyadh for a month yet but really had same feelings about black abaya. My husband has been here for 4 months now and he said to me that its inly black color that i will have to wear. While in sydney i had very fondly bought a few stylish abayas (of course NOT black) but was disappointed to learn that. 2 days before our flight, he took me to the market to buy a “suitable” abaya and i ended up buying a plain……..blue abaya ?
    Yes people stare at me as if i am comitting a sin ? But feel a bit better after reading your blog. Now i know if i see someone else wearing a blue abaya, it would be you ?ReplyCancel

Everyone who moves to a foreign country or environment will go through culture shock. There are 5 stages of culture shock, each of them with their typical characteristics. Some people go through all phases quite easily, while others have serious problems, or they do not progress at all and hence do not overcome culture shock.

It has such a huge impact on the emotional stability of a person, that psychologists have compared symptoms of culture shock to psychosis and severe depression!
The Oxford dictionary describes culture shock as “disorientation experienced when suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture or way”.

So why do people go through culture shock? It’s a normal reaction for humans encountering anything new and out of the ordinary. It triggers the same kind of psychological responses in us. But when we are moving to a different country and culture, it becomes far more intense.
Everything is different, the people look strange, you don’t understand the language, the religion, the customs, you don’t know how to get around, you can’t even find anything to eat at the supermarket!When a westerner moves to Saudi-Arabia the shock will be very severe, it will seem everything is done the opposite way or upside down than what you are used to..

So what are the different stages of culture shock?

Stage 1-the Honeymoon stage
This is when you first arrive and everything seems so wonderfully different, exotic even, and you want to experience and explore your surroundings. It’s the same feeling people have when they are on vacation. This phase usually lasts up to 2 months.

Stage 2- the Distress stage
You start feeling confused, and things don’t seem exciting and new anymore. You start to miss home and familiar things. The new culture starts to feel frustrating.

Stage 3- Withdrawal stage
In this stage you start feeling more hostile toward the new culture, the people and the environment. You see faults everywhere; you criticize and mock everything. People start comparing everything to their own “superior” culture, refusing to accept the differences they encounter. One might find the behavior of the locals “backward”, and unpredictable. At this stage you start to feel anxious and withdraw and isolate yourself.

Stage 4-Autonomy stage
You start coping better with the culture and problems you face, it has become more understandable and tolerable. You feel less isolated because you have started interacting more with locals.
This is the first step to acceptance.

Stage 5- Independence stage
You start to feel comfortable and confident in your surroundings. You embrace the culture and even start preferring some traits from it rather than your own. You might have adapted some of the local traditions, while still feeling yourself. It feels like this is your new home away from home.

I went through all these stages when I came to KSA. At first it was like being on a holiday, new and exciting then things started to appear weird and I didn’t accept the way they were. To me it seemed so illogical, HOW can they do those things, say this or be like that. It was just incomprehensible to me at that time. But slowly, alhamdulillah through my work and local friends I started to adapt to my surroundings. I started to notice how great some things are here compared to Finland. I started to learn about the religion and no longer had prejudices about Islam. I realized I had indeed been very ignorant!
What I dont quite understand is why some expats here in Saudi don’t seem to overcome the third stage of culture shock.ie they remain in the “withdrawal stage” for the whole time they live here. I wonder why is that? What prevents this progress, is it fear of the unknown, arrogance, sense of supremacy, or even lack of intelligence? I have met people who actually managed to live here 25 years and not learned to speak enough Arabic to order food at a restaurant. Or even worse, the only arabic they know is “mafi mushkila”(no problem). They dont know any Saudis, nor do they wish to interact with them. They call saudis animals, apes, rag-headded idiots and the likes..
These people are unfortunately mostly fellow westerners, living in their own isolated compounds. Maybe that has a negative impact on their lives which they are blind to. They try to continue their lives exactly like it was back home inside those walls. But in the end, they are only hurting themselves. I feel sorry for these people who continue to have no respect for the culture they live in, they have no interest in getting to know locals, yet they slander them with the cruelest most unfair words imaginable. That is called prejudice, which in Saudi-Arabia is sadly the norm amongst western folk. It’s so easy to live in a bubble inside the compound, and deny everything thats going on outside the walls! Most of these compounds go so far as to not letting saudi nationals in AT ALL! And this is their country! Ridiculously arrogant and racist if you ask me. They dont even allow western people to wear thobes or abayas inside some compounds, not even for halloween! Really! Some go so far as banning hijab (headscarves) from ALL women, even western muslims. Maybe they are trying to “get back” to saudis for having to wear abayas outside their compounds. Very childish, or is this incurable culture shock?

Imagine if it was the other way around, arabs would build their own compounds for example in the States. They would wall them and have high security. US citizens would be striclty prohibited. All other nationalities including Canadians are welcome. But NO americans. And no one can come in wearing anything other than “arab dress”. Only thobe and abayas allowed. Oh, but if you are U.S citizen, but happen to have dual citizenship with say, Lebanon, you are welcome in! If someone dares wear western dress they are kicked out of the compound. Sounds like utopia huh?Are westerners in KSA creating their own utopia inorder to avoid dealing with the outside one?

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  • AnonymousJune 16, 2010 - 9:07 pm

    Salam Layla :)
    I have found your blog very interesting. I’d like to ask some maybe silly questions if you don’t mind.
    1 – You are Finnish girl, so very tall comparing to short Saudis. Are you taller than your husband? I know they have complex of height.

    2 – I see some pictures here with blonde lady. Is it you? If so, you look excellent in abaya.

    3 – I read your husband is younger. How many years between both of you? How old are you? You know, usually we hear an opinion about Saudis that they look for young teenager virgin and so many times I see them with older European wives :) Good choice:)

    Sorry if I bothered you…I like to ask:) And I will ask you a lot reading your nice blog.

    Greetings from Poland


  • LaylahJune 23, 2010 - 12:34 am

    Hi Nadia! And welcome to my blog!
    Apologies for the late reply I have been very busy lately!
    Your questions aren’t silly they are interesting :)

    1. I’m average height for a Finnish woman and I know saudis tend to be short in general, however my husband is very tall for a saudi he is 186 cm, so much taller than me!

    2.I haven’t some of them shows me and some are my friends that work here. I’ve tried to put pictures that don’t display directly their faces. One picture shows my sister in Riyadh :)

    3. I’m over 30 and he is under 30, does that satisfy your curiosity? He’s very mature for his age but looks like his age actually, not younger like saudis usually do.

    You’re welcome to ask again :)ReplyCancel

  • BogardesqueAugust 14, 2010 - 1:45 am

    Just discovered your blog today. I think the last sentence sums it up perfectly. I’m a Third Culture Kid, never stayed in one place longer than five years and it’s the same every single place I’ve ever been to. I think most never really move beyond stage three. Someone doing a Sociology degree once told me that it serves as a bonding experience. I don’t know. What I have seen a lot though is that expats who stick together in one group, tend to behave “more” like the cliché of their home country than they would if they were at home.

    I try to stay away from them as much as possible but sometimes our paths cross and it’s there all over again. I think most people are too set in their ways and somehow can’t let go. They know on one level that things will be different but they don’t know exactly how.

    But my overall favorite is still the tourist who goes to another place on vacation and then sticks with his or her own countrymen. Sure it’s nice to meet up and if you’re staying for longer why not but seriously, two weeks in a luxury hotel and you’ve seen what?

    I actually just moved to Finland and the one thing I consistently hear is, “it’s so hard to make friends with the locals” and when you ask them, “well, have you tried” you get, “oh it’s so hard”. I’ve made some amazing friends here, the way I’ve made some amazing friends in other places I lived in. Culture shock is there but I think a lot of people find it more comfortable to stay in that zone than do anything about it. Plus, I really believe they feed off the other expats. Weird thing is, I usually have more in common with the locals than with the expats, and in some countries they’re just there for the free entertainment (and I’m not even talking about Asia here).

    Sorry for writing so much. It’s just one of my pet subjects. If you willingly come to another country, why on earth won’t you at least give it a try for a year? I think it’s a great idea that you wrote about it. Really looking forward to reading more.ReplyCancel

  • LaylahAugust 17, 2010 - 7:27 pm

    @ Bogardesque

    Thanks you for your lengthy comment and welcome to my blog!

    I really apreciate you took time to comment.
    I got very curious, where are you from originally and where in Finland are you now?

    I hear the exact same thing here. It’s so difficult (or impossible) to get to know locals.. Yet I’ve made many local friends here!It’s just depends on your attitude.

    Funny thing is, when I began overcoming the third stage of culture shock and started to make local friends and enjoy my life here, my so called Finnish “friends” all turned their backs on me..They especially disliked the fact I was dating a Saudi and began respecting local customs and religion more.
    These are exactly the type of people who hang out ONLY with other Finns in their tiny little circles. They still do mostly amd continue to hate or at least dislike the saudi people.

    Looking forward to reading more of your comments!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousOctober 30, 2010 - 9:48 pm

    I’ve found your reply just right now:) Thank you so much. Of course I am satisfied :)
    I wish you happy life with your husband. Mine is younger than me 8 years that’s why I am always interested in my friend’s husband’s age :D


  • expats in saudi | Blue AbayaJanuary 23, 2014 - 4:22 am

    […] goes through culture shock in some way or form. For some it can be a breeze, others might really struggle for a long time […]ReplyCancel

  • PRADEEP.GFebruary 19, 2015 - 10:40 am


Welcome to my blog The Blue Abaya! I’ve been wanting to start a blog for a while and now I finally got myself some time to create it. I’m not the most computer savvy person and it took a while to understand some things. I’m hoping some day the blog would have a nice design but right now I’m trying to concentrate on creating more meaningful content.

Through my blog I would like to share experiences from my life as a western woman working in Saudi-Arabia. People tend to have a really negative image and perception of Saudi-Arabia, thinking of it as a hostile and unforgiving environment for the foreign woman to live in. I have found this not to be true. Although we do have some obvious restrictions here like not being able to drive, it doesn’t mean that life here needs to be miserable or that we are confined inside houses and compounds. No! I’m a  really active person and love to find new things to do constantly. Those things I would like to let others here know because I’ve noticed many women have difficulties finding out activities and things to do in Saudi-Arabia. Hopefully through this blog expatriate women and why not men of course would learn more of the positive side to Saudi life.

Maybe just maybe this blog would also help people open their minds a bit and understand other cultures and religions better. Especially in the western world, Islam unfortunately has a very negative image, although it is a religion of peace, tolerance and forgiveness. I think its in fact the most misunderstood religion in the world! I hope through my blog you will learn a lot about Muslims and their way of life, and learn how living In KSA really is for a western woman.
I love taking pictures and I will be glad to share some shots I’ve taken during the years, hope you enjoy!
I also look forward to hearing your comments and views of course!

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  • omaimanajjarMay 6, 2010 - 1:41 pm

    good blog Layla.. !
    Keep it up!ReplyCancel

  • LaylahMay 9, 2010 - 12:04 am

    I am only getting started but inshallah will have time to post more soon :)ReplyCancel

  • IldiJuly 21, 2011 - 11:37 am

    Dear Laylah, congrats to your blog, i enjoy reading it. Keep writing and let your soul to speak :)

    Greetings from a catholic woman from Hungary,

  • AmishaMarch 23, 2012 - 12:08 pm

    Hello Laylah :). I discovered your blog few days ago and I think I will follow it – even if it is in english and my language is polish. But I have foreign husband and we talk in english, so yea. I love to write and read blogs very much, but I use only polish language – your blog is first (and maybe only one) english-language blog, but I will try to visit you :). You seem to be a girl with sense of humor – I like it :). I’m polish married with Indian Sikh, living in Poland (husband is in Sweden nowadays for some time). W have 2 sons (4 and 1). I am 38, a lawyer by profession and a simple woman by heart. Nice to meet you and sorry for my mistakes in english :).ReplyCancel