Saturday, July 3, 2010

Oh, you know I have seen, un cielo sin sol y un hombre sin suelo

I am inspired by many things around me. Songs, art, words, whatever I find in my near vicinity tends to make me think and make me want to do something. When I read a play, I want to act again. When I am delivering a monologue, I want to write my own. Et cetera. However, I tend to believe that humans themselves are extremely flawed and I feel that it is hard to be inspired by people themselves rather than whatever they create. That sounds weird because it is - I have always found it hard to trust people. I know my own demons, therefore I made the conclusion that everyone has demons of their own. When I look up to someone, it is really rare and it is still very easy for my opinion of them to drop.

Maybe my expectations of them are very high. Maybe it is because I never had very supportive role models. I don't really parents are pretty nice, and other relatives have been really good to me, so why shouldn't they inspire me in some way? Well, most of the time, even with people I really like, I find that either a) they look down on me, or I feel that they do, or b) they do something that makes me realise just how human and broken they are...just like me, really!

I hope I don't sound like a horrible person who doesn't like anyone. I used to be like that - as a teenager, I hated authority. I went through that phase when you are a teenager and you hate everyone and everything even fi they are trying to help...except, well, this phase lasted from before I was a teenager and lasted for way too many years. I don't know who or what to blame except myself and maybe my bipolar disorder. I was seriously depressed and saw no hope in anyone or anything. Now, I see hope within the goodness I know exists within people. Yes, I said goodness. I may have just told you about how I think humans are flawed, but I didn't yet tell you the other side of things.

I think people can be really, really good. I think they can be worth your time and effort to save, support, and love. I hope I believe that forever because not too long ago, I didn't feel this way. I have only just recently understood that other people are worth my time if I just give them a chance. I hope people who I have misunderstood in the past have forgiven me for my younger years. I did not treat some people well.

Very recently, I realised that I needed to cut some people some slack. I needed to open myself up to them because I had been very unfair. I used to be so closed; I never told anyone what was going on in my head and heart but I still expected them to bear with me, be my friend, and deal with all of my mood swings and moments of anger. I never told them why I was feeling the way that I was. I didn't really know why, but I could have at least said something like that. Then, maybe I could have stopped myself from digging myself into a deeper hole of depression. The truth is, although I did not like people in my earlier years, I needed them more than I would let them help me. What a terrible way to live! But I lived that way. With all the moving, the shifts in relationships, and hormonal garbage, I was also unable to like people. I am sure many people have felt that way in their lives, and with certain popular media (like Daria or even Buffy for examples) I started to understand that the loners or the people who felt they were alone were not so few and far between.

It really is due to movies, music, and theatre that I understood human nature. Isn't that strange? Isn't that just wrong? But it is the truth. As I sit here, in my bedroom, in the villa in the middle of the goddamn desert, I realise just how important popular, commercialised media has been in my development. Sure, I am sure it has screwed me up a lot - I know it has, especially in terms of my body image - but it has given me stories to escape real life, but also to understand how important friends and family are to me. And yes, I find this out in the middle of the desert of Saudi Arabia, where - guess what - I am ALL ALONE.

Isn't that great?

I don't want to leave this entry without saying that while I have found it very hard to be inspired by actual people, there are a few who have really broken through my dumb, antisocial, human-judging shell to make me believe that they are extraordinary and worth looking up to. There are a few personal examples of people I have met, but now I am going to talk about a woman who is famous for, as I believe, the very wrongest of reasons. She is:

Yes. Her hips do not lie, whatever. I don't care. Do you know what this woman has done? Like, really done? Here, if you wanna see, take a look at some of the stuff that is posted on her website. I even clicked on the right filter for you.

Okay, so you think, "so what, Khadeja? Every damn artist blabs about their own philanthropic work on their website. They just like to BLAB. Why should I care about their narcissistic garbage?" So you need something else? How about some news items?

- Shakira meets the President-Elect of her country for like, an hour to talk about creating a better Colombia. Have YOU talked to your President lately for like, an hour? Yeah.

- Shakira started a cool, awesome foundation. Have YOU changed lives lately by trying to give children education? HAVE YOU?!

- Shakira is in talks to make a debut in Bollywood. Oh my GOD, I want to make MY debut in Bollywood! Lucky Shakira! (Okay, maybe this is not even going to happen, but...I can dream, right? ohmygodthisissoawesome!!!)

- Shakira is a Unicef goodwill ambassador. Sure, a lot of celebrities are, but I think any celebrity that tries to use their power and influence to help other people is great.

- Shakira spoke at Oxford Union. Do you know where that is? Oxford University. Look, I am not interested in Oxford because I think it is a stuffy, rich people oriented school. But if you go and take a look at the people who have spoken at Oxford Union before Shakira, you'd probably be impressed. Shakira is following in the steps of people like the Dalai Lama, or Mother Teresa.  The Dalai Lama, guys! I mean, damn:

Check it OUT, guys. I love this woman. I think Shakira is worth admiring, for the work she does around the world as well as her music. Yes, I love her music too. A lot of people think it is brainless, or dumb, or that her lyrics are stupid...but you know what? I don't care. I love to dance to her tunes. I like to shake my booty along with her fantastic hips. I sing along to her Spanish AND English lyrics with pride and happiness. Shakira makes me genuinely happy and yes, I look up to her. I hope that I can help someone and touch their life even half as much as Shakira has.

So, when I am left alone in the house when my parents both go to work and so serious things, I put on my Shakira-sponsored WAKKA WAKKA t-shirt (that I bought from MANGO in Granada Mall here in Riyadh, I'll have you know) and shake my thang.

This time for Africa!

Friday, July 2, 2010


I absolutely have to link to three sites tonight, or else I won't be able to sleep. REALLY.

Pushing Up Roses: First of all, this is the first person who ever linked to me on a website. I love her site, which is part gamer blog, and part personal biography. I love it! I've been a fan for a long, long time and I am very grateful for her assistance and support.

Saudi Jeans: Oh. My. God. This guy writes about Saudi and...well, he is basically one of the best. I can't say any more, except that if you want to learn about what is REALLY going on in the Kingdom, this is the place.

Blue Abaya: This is a blog written by a Western woman who lives in Riyadh. She is very involved with events going on in Riyadh and has such an interesting point of view. I especially love her entry about Bedouins she has encountered at work.

Anyone who happens to visit this humble place: visit these links! They are seriously worth your time.


Rich Gentlemen have it, boys: IN-DI-GES-TION!

I just finished watching Julie & Julia and was a little inspired to write a little disclaimer. I am not anywhere near as ambitious as Julie Powell so don't expect me to start cooking for this blog, but I do admire what she did, and I loved the movie. Stanley Tucci totally stole my heart - was Paul a great husband or WHAT? But besides that, it reminded me of myself and how I feel right now. I write because it makes me happy, but also because it might make someone else happy out there on the internet. I also write because it gives me a sense of purpose during my time here. Besides trying to not screw my life up, it is important that I do something which is truly just for me. Yes, grad school is also about me, but it's different. Don't ask me how! So, I hope I never become self-centred or difficult because of my blogging. I don't want to lose what is truly important to me - these precious moments in Riyadh that make me feel things, either happy or sad. So, this entry, let me talk about something happy. This blog needs a little cheering up, in my opinion!

Today, I am going to talk to you about one of the most wonderful things in the world: FOOD. Oh, how I love food! I love eating, making, and looking at food. And when I say food, I mean  food - real food, not fast food or junk food.

When I was staying in the US, I have to admit that the food I ate (most of the time) was absolutely dreadful. The college I went to had disgusting food 90% of the time, with the other 10% varying between pretty good and just about edible. Outside of college, I ate mostly Bagel Bites and other forms of pizza. What can I say - the best thing about New York IS pizza! Even after going to Chicago and eating its famed deep dish variety, I gotta say that New York pizza wins the prize. Sorry, Chicago! Don't worry - you have the shiny bean. That is seriously cooler than pizza...maybe.

Anyway, I really started to hate food when I was living in the US. I then realised that something was SERIOUSLY wrong. How could I hate food? Food is not only necessary, but it is so full of joy and colour and love! But yet, I was still losing faith in food because nothing tasted right and everything was gross and oily and bad for me. It was only when I left upstate NY during the summers that I would remember why food was so incredibly worth the time and pain it takes to prepare and TOTALLY worth any money you could pay. Good food, to me, is a better investment than gold. You can lose a necklace but you can't lose a meal you already ate! Well, unless your stomach hated it, and...oh, yuck. Let's not do that.

FOOD! Glorious, food. Yes, I just referred to a song from Oliver! I was in that once, when I was still a musical theatre junkie back at school. But that's totally off track. Today, when I knew I was going to write about food, that song got stuck in my head and I needed to open up iTunes to make it go away. But you know, it's probably still there, lying in wait. But you know, that song comes from my heart today. Food truly is glorious! I have been waiting all summer to get to Riyadh for the promise of good tasting, healthy foods. And here, in Riyadh, you may find it surprising to know that great food is available in abundance! It has absolutely made trips here worth it in the past.

Today, my father treated my mother and I to a meal at the best Chinese restaurant I have ever been to, period. I have been going to this restaurant since I was a little girl; during my first time living here. It has not changed much, and the food is consistently worth it. I took some pictures:

The Golden Palace Restaurant

Oh, how I love you and your red and green decor, running water and "islands" built for us to sit and eat! Once upon a time, this place had live birds in cages that sat next to all the tables. The kids looooved it. While we were sipping on Saudi Champagne (fizzy apple and grape juice with pieces of fruit floating around in it. Non-alcoholic, and pure bliss with a meal) my Dad mentioned that we could never bring my little niece there. She'd go nuts with the water. There are no longer any birds in cages, but the decor is still extremely unique. More pictures!

Check that OUT! It's extravagant and over the top but I absolutely adore this place. Here's a little detail; I hope the picture is clear enough:

This is the kind of thing that would drive a child wild. "Look, Mommy!" screams the child as he stands in the running water, splashing viciously with his little hands. "I'm a fountain!"

When we were there this morning, however, the restaurant was pretty empty. We were the first ones there for lunch, at 13:30. It seems pretty late for me, to be honest, but it works for the people around here to come later to meals. It probably has to do with the heat and the fact that it is soooo hard to wake up early on Friday morning (remember: Friday is the second day of the weekend; i.e. it's Sunday for most of the rest of the world. Can you wake up early on Sunday morning? Do you want to?)

Sadly, I could not take a picture of the food I ate because well...I was eating! I kind of forgot that I should be taking pictures. I ordered something called Enco Shanghai Shrimp. I do not know what that really is, but I can try to describe it: juicy shrimp cooked in coconut milk, a little ginger, and tiny pieces of cooked chopped tomato. It is divine and basically the best thing on the menu, in my opinion. With a side of fried rice, I was extremely happy. I would have preferred steamed rice, but my Dad ordered fried rice so I dealt with it. The fried rice is simple and it is nothing special, but that shrimp...oh, Lord! Soooo good. I took the rest home with me and I will DEFINITELY enjoy it tomorrow.

Every time I have gone to eat Chinese food in the US, I was always left severely disappointed. Last time was at the Jockey Club in Chicago, which I honestly find to be one of the more decent places. I made a mistake of ordering something with the ever vague title of "Shrimp cooked with water chestnuts". I love shrimp, and water chestnuts, so why not? Oh man. It was eating shrimp in snot. With chunks of something chewy; i.e. badly cooked water chestnuts. What the hell happened? It was very, very upsetting. I could barely touch it. It not only looked like snot, but it truly tasted like it; like the snot of some huge, monstrous animal. Ugh, I shouldn't have started talking about it! I feel like I am going to be sick.

The Golden Palace is superb. I would recommend it to everyone who dares venture into Riyadh. However, it has its good days and its bad days. It is consistently decent, but on some days it is much better than others. Then again, it is always better than American Chinese. Which isn't even real Chinese, mind you.

There is something else I wanted to talk about. Since I was unable to eat dessert at the restaurant, I decided to talk about something else that was sweet and delicious; it ended up taking the place of a potentially tasty and fattening dessert. What I wish to display to you here is the legendary peach fig.

Oh, peach fig. How I love thee! Of thy kind, there is no other fruit. I was going to take a picture of a full peach fig but I ended up eating half before getting my phone out. Too lazy to get another one, I decided to take pictures of this half-eaten treasure:

The half.

The juicy, juicy flesh of this gorgeous fruit.

I wish I could tell you something more interesting about the peach fig, but honestly I cannot find any information online! I bet that it is given another name, a more popular and better sounding one than "peach fig". However, I have not yet found it. I think that it is sold in the US, but according to my parents, it is extremely expensive. Here, it is quite cheap and we basically buy it every week since now is the season. Oh my God, I have never been so enthusiastic about a fruit in my life.

This is what I appreciate about Saudi Arabia. Here, they know the importance of fruit. Due to the diverse cultures that have converged here, fruits from all over the world are available; some more expensive than others to be sure. However, food in general is much cheaper here than in the US. Therefore, I feel the need to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. As long as I live here, I will definitely be pigging out on the peach figs. Mmmm...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I once mentioned that I care a lot about cats. Here, I am about to give you reasons and evidence of this.

This is me at 4 years old, the first time I lived in Riyadh. This picture was taken back in 1993.

I like to show this picture of me because it pretty much describes what I was as a kid. I was a chubby little girl who loved cats. Not much has changed since then!

That cute kitten in the picture is Stripes, one of my best friends in the entire world. I miss her every single day of my life and I have never missed anyone or anything that much since. She travelled with us until my years in Mauritius. In order to get Stripes to live in Mauritius, the government declared that she would have to live in quarantine for 6 months.

Stripes was a territorial desert cat who lived mostly outdoors. Dealing with the knowledge that she had to sit in a little cage on a plane whenever we moved used to be too much for me to handle. She would not have survived for 6 months, and neither would I.

There was a lot of crap that went on after that, but to cut a long story short I will tell you only what was important to me. The family issues we were having and the individuals who fought amongst each other were not important. But, that Stripes was no longer with me and she lived with someone else in the U.S. - that was the horrible and important part of the whole ordeal.

I saw her once in her new home and to be honest, I don't want to remember it. Her new owners treated her well, and they were fond of her, but I still cannot bear to deal with the fact that she was so far away for such a long time. Whenever I prayed, I thought of her and hoped she'd be happy and that she wouldn't be sad and remember her past life too much.

She remembered me, though. She purred and meowed and let us pet her and rolled over to let us stroke her belly like she used to. I know I thought about lying down and having her lie back to back with me, like we did so many times when I was little.

Here's the two of us when we lived in Oman; I was about 9 years old. She liked it when we lived there:

It hurt and dug right into my heart, the fact that we couldn't see her every day. Sometimes, I wish she didn't remember us at all. But then again, she lived a long life, and she was so beautiful til the end. My lovely silver Bastet died of cancer, from what I understand. I think it was liver cancer, and I think I remember that my Dad would joke about my little Stripes being an alcoholic. She sure was badass enough, I guess.

I don't think it was easy for my Mom to tell me that Stripes died - we were still living in Mauritius, then. I only remember that my sister and mother didn't seem as moved by it as I was, so I left the room and dealt with it on my own. Like with most things, I don't really like grieving with other people anyway.

I know that for the rest of my life, I will always have something of a soft spot for cats. I have no sympathy or kind words for people who do not understand this. However, this brings out a weakness in me that still, at 21, I do not know how to deal with. Cats bring me a lot of joy, but also a strong depression at the same time. Mostly, it is because I miss Stripes. I don't know what else it is. Maybe it is because I lost one of the strongest bonds I have ever had at a young age and I lost it due to something beyond my control.

You probably think I am being really dramatic over here, with my talk of Stripes and my loss. But honestly, I have felt no other loss, even with the life I have had, which is full of the loss of friends and places to call home. I have moved several times in my life, losing people who I cared about along the way - but I moved on. I made new friends and acquaintances and I dealt with it.

Did I do it right? Was I supposed to care more that I was leaving? I think I was, but even as a little kid I was pretty stoic. Then again, my memories may be fading. I don't remember ever begging my Dad to let us stay. I don't even remember crying with friends about us parting ways. I know that I packed my things, put them in cardboard boxes, and eventually got my stuff back in the next country. I also know that when my Dad suggested to me that I ask my friends if they wanted to adopt Stripes, I screamed at him. I ran up the yellow stairs in our Omani home and found her sitting in her favourite spot. It was a corner where she would curl into a ball or lie upside down in a silly position, like this:

I remember crying and I remember her scratching me. She always did that when I cried. I used to think it was because she was trying to get me to snap out of it, or that it was her way to make me stop. I used to think that it was her way of being my friend.

Every move, I got Stripes back...until we had to leave Oman in 1999/2000. That was a difficult time in my life so I don't really remember the year too well. I think giving Stripes away to relatives hit two out of the five members of my family the hardest: my Dad, and me. It is my father who really felt the same immense pain and anger that came with losing her. Up to this day, if one of us mentions Stripes, the other goes silent. We just cannot do it - to us, she was precious.

I don't connect with my Dad on many things. Sometimes, it seems like he is on another planet and that I am on mine. However, we connect on this one extremely depressing thing; this very real pain regarding Stripes, and any other cat we have become close to. And I have lost more after Stripes.

Legolas (orange) and Gimli (brown), in Mauritius:

Sorry for that terrible picture.
Grosbebe (white and orange) and Chibebe (dark fur; AKA Gollum) also in Mauritius:

Each of my cats has their own special story. I loved them all very, very much. I was very moved and upset by losing each and every one of them. However, losing Stripes, the first cat and my first real friend, was probably the worst and hardest to deal with. I never saw her during her last moments.

To add something happier, I do have a cat that is alive and well in Mauritius. She is being taken care of by the same people who are presently living in my Mauritian house. I am always glad to hear news of her and I miss her. To add to this picture-heavy entry:

Sillabub (AKA Fifi, or Mauvais depending on the day):

I have several dozen pictures of her, and it took me a lot longer than I'd like to admit to choose this one, where she is climbing up her most hated (loved?) chair. She treated that chair like it was her greatest enemy, biting and chewing and ripping the straw out constantly. It was damn hilarious.

I'm still that chubby girl who loves cats. But I am more than that, now that I think of it: I am a chubby girl who loves cats and treats them more like friends. My Fifi is my furry little friend back in Mauritius who lived with me for some years. Stripes is my best friend who passed away some years ago (again, I cannot remember the date and I don't think it is that important anyway).

These cats and memories surrounding them are extremely important to me as they have shaped and changed my life - not unlike my human friends. I am extremely grateful for the positive influence they have had on me. But, I also do regret the hold it has on me whenever I lose them. It is all too real and all too painful. Any animal lover would understand.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

...Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Leave This Place

The summer before my undergraduate years and every summer in between, I have visited Riyadh. This was not always my choice, but I had to return for official reasons, for at least 4 weeks from what I understand - ah, the pleasures of being a Saudi resident. Anyway, even though I have been here a lot, I don't actually have any friends. I have many acquaintances, most of whom I do not know by name, and I like them all very much, but I do not have any legitimate friends besides the one I wrote an earlier entry about.

So how do I spend the time here in Saudi without going totally insane? Here is a list for you:

1. I spend time with my parents. It is not every child's dream, to spend the summer hanging out with parents, but hey, it's not that bad. I actually like my parents and enjoy spending time with them. Therefore, it is with my parents that I go to the mall and other stores that are outside the compound we live in. However, they do get tired and they can't very well go out as often as I'd like - they actually have jobs. In the end, I don't get to go out much.

2. I go to the gym/swimming pool. My summers have become the healthiest time of year for me! I work out, eat better, and basically lose the weight I gain while living as a disgusting pizza-eating college student. I have already been successful after only being here for a week - I notice that my legs have become more sturdy and muscular.

3. I watch TV or movies. TV here is pretty horrible. I get reruns of some fun shows but all in all it's just as crappy as the US, mainly because we get reruns of American shows, host of which I hate. As for movies, here is a camera phone picture of my personal DVD collection (with some other things shoved in there for space!):

It isn't much, but it is something! My Dad has all 7 seasons of Buffy, 5 seasons of Angel, and many classic movies like Sunset Boulevard, The Thomas Crown Affair, and several others I still haven't seen yet. I prefer my own collection, but it contains everything my Dad wouldn't be caught dead watching. However, I only recently bought the Daria seasons, and I am curious as to whether or not he'd enjoy Daria's acid tongue.

4. I play video games. Ohhhh yes, video games. And not just puzzle games that girls are apparently so mad for. No, I play all kinds of things INCLUDING those! I play Prince of Persia just as often as I play Plants vs. Zombies, Peggle, or something like Diablo 2, which is probably one of my most favourite time wastes of all time. You would have probably noticed Prince of Persia hanging out next to my movies in the above photo. You probably also saw Grim Fandango there too, but alas, it is for the PC and I am blessed with a lovely Mac. I wish I could play all of my old adventure games...oh, adventure games! Your golden age has passed, but I still hold on to the hope that your glory will rise again from the ashes! The Tales of Monkey Island helped!

We also have a Wii, but we only have Wii Sports and Wii Fit at the moment. My Mom is a HUGE fan of those, but I am not as enthusiastic. Since I have been here this trip, I haven't even turned it on once. The Wii really is a family activity, so it's only fun when other people are around. These days, my Mom seems too tired to play, and my Dad is apparently too good for the Wii, or something.

5. I read books. I love to read. Right now, I have just gotten through The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which I did enjoy even though the protagonist is SO irresistible that every woman in the book absolutely needs to have sex with him - and those women don't seem to care that he has been with so many other women. What? That is the biggest letdown of the book to me. On the other hand, the crime aspect was so interesting and chilling that I would gladly read the sequels just to see more of that.

While here in Riyadh, I shop at Jarir Bookstore, a place that doesn't just sell books. They sell computers, phones, art supplies, amongst other awesome things. It is absolutely freakin' AMAZING. I could spend a whole day looking through their stock; it gives me so much inspiration. I buy all my books there, and they really do have everything, even controversial books about Saudi Arabia like Girls of Riyadh (which I do recommend to anyone who wants to read something that is feminist, funny, and heart-wrenching at the same time - as well as insanely educational). If I miss anything about Riyadh when I leave, it is definitely Jarir Bookstore. It really, really is not just a bookstore.

Reading books is probably the most productive thing that I can do while in Saudi, in a creative sense. Reading has always inspired me to become a better writer, and to become more analytical in general. I love being sucked into a good book. I also love being sucked into a good movie, but lately good movies have been very few and far between. I am incredibly lucky to have been able to watch Toy Story 3 before leaving the US because I was beginning to think that Hollywood was failing more than ever this summer. The last really good movie before Toy Story 3 was actually How to Train Your Dragon, a movie that has since become one of my favourites, so I guess it cannot be all that bad. I have to rely on old favourites, however, to let go of my present worries and immerse myself in a setting where there are characters I can really care about.

The sad truth is that when you are all alone in a place where you have only a few friends, what you have to do is get transported into a different world through artistic means - either you create art or you experience the art of others. Literature as well as film are forms of art to me, no matter how commercial they are considered to be. I let myself become part of the worlds they create for me; i.e. the audience. But then, after I lounge around like a princess, drinking tea with honey and reading my book, I turn to my laptop and write to my heart's content. These are my outlets and they allow me to stay more than sane in Riyadh - I actually find myself with some peace of mind.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

So, how do you FEEL about that?

NOTE: I have since altered some parts of this entry due to new information that I had gathered.

Today, I woke up at about 13:15. I use the 24 hour clock because it is what I was raised on - some old habits really never die. I slept for about 22 hours or so because I had a very eventful, strange day yesterday. It is as funny to me now as it was frustrating for me then.

The night before last, I did not sleep a wink. I stayed up, went to the hospital for a routine appointment at about 9:00, and then came back at around 13:30-ish. I didn't go to sleep until 14:45 because I was supposed to wait for someone to come over to do the ironing (yes, we hire someone to do that. If you read my entry called "Drunken Arrival", it might help you understand why). He never came while I was awake. I took my pill at around the 14:45 mark and lay in bed, waiting for sleep. It really didn't take long.

I woke up and told myself that if I had slept for 24 hours, I was going to starve myself of anything sweet, including honey in my tea, for the whole day. Thankfully, I slept for less than that! I don't know how I'd be able to drink the silver needle white tea I am drinking right now without a bit of honey in it! If you wonder why I give myself little ultimatums, it is because I feel like I am the only person who can successfully punish me. And it's true! I punish myself better than anyone else could!

Actually, I was only supposed to go to the hospital for an hour at most to visit my psychiatrist, a Saudi man who is really good at prescribing pills and being friends with my father. As weird as it is to have a psychiatrist who is also my Dad's, and I want to get a different doctor, after yesterday's events I feel like I cannot be bothered. It is still strange to think that I have a rather-I hate to say it- unethical doctor, and that I don't care to do anything about it. This may be a result of the actual reason for me going to see a psychiatrist in the first place; a result of my condition - a story I do not care to tell right now, but that will certainly take up an entry or two as it spans many, many years of my past.

So, I went to see my doctor. I ended up waiting about 2 and a half hours for him to even show up...and I saw him for about 10 minutes. He had had a car accident on the way to the hospital clinic, which is an understandable excuse. I was still really irritated, though! I kept telling my Dad that I was going to leave and go to sleep at home. I stayed, though, and played Peggle on my iPod to pass the time. Peggle saved me from cracking completely under the lack of sleep. I already started to break a little bit; I told my Dad some things I did not really want him to know. I cringe at the realisation that I told him things I would never, ever want to tell him. But I hadn't slept for so long, so it makes sense that I'd start babbling a little bit. I was incredibly relieved when the doctor finally showed up. As I said, it was for only 10 minutes; it really was a routine check-up to see if my medications were working. I didn't tell him everything about how much I was skipping my meds, but I think he is smart enough to figure it out. He told me not to skip for more than 2 days. I think I can deal with that just fine.

I have to admit that despite all the potential craziness due to the cultural differences (can you talk to a Saudi doctor about everything? I think so, but I am still unsure), the hospital system in Saudi Arabia has been extremely good to me. I am lucky to have access to a clinic for anything I want without any costs. I think my father only has to pay for dental work. It is great for me, and I never feel as worried as I do in the US about my health. When I went to college, I had a lot to deal with. I had insurance, but it was the college's insurance and I don't even know how much it covered. I had to pay for certain things while I was there, like certain medications (antibiotics, stuff for a nebulizer when I had bronchitis, cough syrup, and more) but never any procedures, mostly because they were covered by insurance. However, I knew that if anything seriously bad had happened to me I would have to pay the price for it. I wanted to be cautious, but how cautious can you really be? Some of these things happen out of nowhere.

Fortunately, I have never had any horrible accident happen to me. I have had other things, like pneumonia, bronchitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc. but I've never been in a life-threatening car crash or the like. I am grateful all the time for that. Now that I am here in Saudi, I know that if I have any of the ailments that I had in the US, I'd get immediate and free health care - just like anyone else, from what I understand. There is no insurance for me to deal with. I think the system is a little more complicated than I have researched, but I will link to wikipedia just in case anyone wants a starting point on how the health care system works in the Kingdom. So here you go.

In all honesty, this is one advantage for me to live/stay a resident of Saudi Arabia. I'll get free healthcare because my father works here, and no matter how old I am, I am his daughter so I will always have this advantage. As long as I keep my residence here in Riyadh, I'll be taken care of. It's not so bad, is it? Well, this is why I am keeping my residence at all. If I did not have this, I would have insisted I stayed in the US. Sadly, the US healthcare is so full of shit that I would rather not deal with it if I do not have to. And now, I don't.

I get my necessary medications here for free, and if I lived in the US, my one medication alone (the one that made me sleep for so long) would cost me around $350 a week, from what my father has told me. $350 a week, without insurance? It is absolutely full of shit. What would happen to someone who is unable to get insured because of some other ailment they have no control over? HOW ON THIS PLANET COULD THEY AFFORD THIS MEDICATION?!

My subconscious shivers at the thought of people with a similar condition to me in the US. How do they deal with their everyday lives without this medication? I know some of them have to because there is no way they can afford it!

However, Saudi is not perfect either. I don't really get how the health care system works but I know everyone has some kind of emergency health care. I don't think they pay for it, but it's all very vague to me. I think I am one of the very lucky foreigners who gets access to good health care.

What a sad note to end on! Yes, I feel extremely sad for all Americans who live in a country that doesn't give them the most important service their country could give them. I also feel very grateful that I am not in the US right now, dealing with that very issue. My health is safe here in Riyadh, at least. But then again, sometimes I wonder whether or not that is enough.