hello from Saudi

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Meet Brittany (and her sweet fiancé Daniel)

Our friendship dates back to our preteen dancing days and is one that never seems to lose its place. We always pick up right where we left off. Brittany is one of the most real people I know. Her kind heart and honest words always fill me up and keep me begging for more, or spit out my drink because I’m laughing so hard. She is also quite fearless and is currently planning the wedding of her dreams while living across the Atlantic in Saudi Arabia. You can check out her blog here and I’m excited to share her with ya’ll. So sit back, relax and prepare to laugh…

So here is the run down…. My name is Brittany, 26 years old, I was born and raised in Wilmington NC. I am engaged to a man I’ve known nearly 8 years as a hot mess (which is pretty convenient because I, too, am a bit of a disaster) and !BONUS! I am planning the final details of my North Carolina wedding from my new “home” in Saudi Arabia. I am pretty fearless when it comes to traveling, experiencing different cultures and just life in general (my fiancé and I actually reconnected as we were both joining the Peace Corps) so while Saudi Arabia sounds like insanity, most of my friends and family have had the same response of “Oh you would. That is so Brittany.”!

I have been here for a little over a month and I am doing my best to adjust to life. I am not a Muslim (shout out to my homie Jesus!) so I do not cover my face like all of the other females and I am the ONLY white girl in this city, so it’s no secret that I am definitely not from here. Nobody seems to be able to pick out exactly where I am from; in fact, that is a secret weapon I have always had when I travel and usually comes in handy because not many people like us Ah-mur-reh-kanz. Despite being raised in the South I am proud to have a pretty stellar non-regional dialect, thanks to my Jersey mother. Sure I can turn on that Southern charm when needed, but most Americans guess I am from Connecticut and most foreigners think I am either French or Russian.

While I love experiencing this bizarre adventure I am not sure I will ever fit in here. And I NEVER thought I would say this, but I think I am too Southern for this place! I am not talking about Southern Belle/oh darlin’ I feel faint because I need a man to rescue me Southern, I am talking about mind your manners before I knock you back into last week Southern.

***Now before I go any further, let me make a HUGE disclosure… what I am about to say does not describe EVERYONE here. I have met some really amazing Saudi people who are kind and respectful and have literally welcomed me into their home as one if their own. But the bad apples of this community really stand out in my mind and have shocked me to the core, and I would be doing you a huge disservice if I didn’t share the realness of this situation! So let’s get real… ***

For your entertainment, I have compiled a short list of the most bizarre things I have experienced so far…
   1. Kids run the show – they don’t listen to their parents, they stand on tables, eat candy until 2 am, scream, don’t wear seatbelts, push adults and walk like they are wearing a blindfold.
   2. Trashcans might as well not exist – people throw their trash anywhere and everywhere but an actual trashcan; on the floor, out of the car window, etc.
   3. Men are pigs – they stare at my bare face like I am a piece of meat, they cut me off when I am standing in line, they do not hold open doors, they are nosey and R-U-D-E!
   4. Nobody smiles – apparently smiling is just not a part of their culture. So when I am being stared at all day by the men, it is not just a stare, it is a mean-mug! And if any female actually does decide they want to smile at me, I would have no clue because their faces are completely covered. Tyra Banks needs to come out here and teach these girls to sm-eye-z so I can read some emotion from these chicas!

I miss being around children who have a healthy fear of adults and being around people who have a shared concern for our environment and being around men who are MEN (definition of men? Read Proverbs 1-4 in the Bible– Man School!). And because I don’t know what else to do, I handle these situations like any good Southern woman would… I smile big, say hello/please/thank you to EVERYONE, I pick up trash children throw on the floor and direct them to the nearest trashcan and I stare right back at the nasty men who can’t seem to take their eyes off of me because if ‘ish hits the fan, I want them to know exactly who is coming after them! Don’t you know? Hell have no fury like a Southern woman! Bless yall’s Saudi hearts!


Brittany being welcomed to her new "home"

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