Saudi Arabia: What Do American Bedu Readers Seek?


I believe it is time for me to provide an update on myself and my life.  I have returned to aggressive chemotherapy.  I’ve completed to sessions of treatment and have 16 more to go.  So far it is going well with not too many adverse side effects.  The biggest ones I am contending with seem to be fatigue and mush for brain!  I know that regular American Bedu readers have probably noticed a change in my writing.  It is not as collected or formulated.  I recognize that too.  Rather than take a blog break I am determined to push forward and work through this slump which is likely medically induced.  I am hopeful that as my body adjusts to the new regimes and medications I’ll adapt and find a “new normal.”  What I would like to ask of you in the meantime is to dialogue with me on what topics, issues would you like to see more at this time?  Analysis?  Experiences?  Politics?  Culture?  Should I also just set a tone for a few posts on answering questions you may want to know about me and experiences abroad?  I am open to suggestions and look forward to your dialogue.  I also ask for your patience as I work through this slump~


22 Responses

  1. I really enjoy your personal stories. I would like to hear more of your personal challenges and triumphs and funny moments. How did you become interested in foreign service and what was your journey that brought you there? Did you have to have a specific major in college?

  2. It would be nice to read about experiences and people in your life that distinctly changed you, failures, successes, personal stories from such a real person like you. More power to you!

  3. Thank you for keeping your blog going despite your mushy brain. 🙂 It’s always nice to read the variety of topics here. I always enjoy your sharing about cultural things especially when you compare and contrast life in Saudi Arabia with, say, the US. I still fondly recall the posts when a Saudi relative visited Houston. I don’t know why I like those so much, but it’s rather fun to see countries, people, customs through other eyes.

    Did you have any reverse culture shock when you came back to the US? I don’t recall you growing up in the South so was it shocking to you to experience this part of the US? I imagine you never saw yourself spending so much time in North Carolina, but it’s what God willed for you at this point of your life. I’m glad at least that your son and grandchildren can be nearby. Speaking of which, how often are you able to enjoy them and what activities do they most enjoy with you?

    I like what Kristine asked as well. When did you first go to a foreign country? Was it a life goal to serve overseas or just something you picked up later in life? Do you recall what was most shocking to you when you had your first overseas assignments? What took the most getting used to? Did you accidentally use your left hand when you should not have? Or other cultural no-nos that you can laugh about now?

  4. I’d say ditto to what the other ladies said. I won’t add any more questions for right now but I bet you KNOW that many will pop up 😉

    I wish you continued strength to continue with everything that makes you happy.

  5. Carol,

    I sincerely pray for the betterment of ur health. May Allah grace and bless u always. I want to learn abt ur personal expereince with MUSLIMS (e.g. ur freinds, colleague, ur husband, his family n relatives etc)around as individual. Not their fakie side but reality.

  6. Hi Carol, Best of luck to you on your continuing treatment. You are in my prayers. Ditto what everyone else said…I am very interested in your foreign experiences, and what brought you to your line of work. I remember one story you wrote about: while you were in Pakistian, you invited some people over for Thanksgiving, and they expected Hamburgers and french fries, because they thought this was “American food”, and instead you served them a traditional turkey dinner!! I’d love to hear more stories like this.
    Again, you are in my prayers, and thanks for keeping up the blog!

  7. I hope you feel better.

    I would like to know more about your non-Saudi life.

    Also, I feel horrible asking, but why do you type in italics? At my old age, it is very difficult for me to read. 😦

  8. I am sorry to know this. Your blog is one of the best blogs out there, get well soon because we people always need to read decent stuff like the things you post on your blog. My best wishes, Hussam Qasim

  9. I would like more details about your career. I might also like more details about your late husband (how many wives did he have, was he married when he met you etc.). If it is something you can share of course.

  10. stay tuned! (smile)

  11. Being that it is a blog about Saudi Arabia, I love hearing the stories going on there, especially about women. It reminds me never to go there, hubby is working there now. I also would like to have regular updates about your health and how you are holding up emotionally.
    I feel like you feel the need to always be strong for all of us, while I know that gives you purpose, please know that you have so much support and probably hundreds of shoulders to cry on. Keep your chin up.
    Oh and I love the love stories of you and Abdulla (Allah have mercy on him).

  12. I do have many more stories and experiences to share about Saudi Arabia. I think that is an endless subject for noone can ever have the same experiences about the Kingdom.

    Healthwise I am holding up okay. Thus far there have not been any bad reactions or side effects; just challenges with my writing and energy….could be worse! (smile)

    Abdullah and I packed several lifetimes of experiences into our short time together. Neither of us ever envisioned of falling in love like young teenagers at our age. We were both so cautious and shy. But he made it clear that he was not a play boy or someone who just wanted a casual relationship. It took me time to adapt and accept the idea of opening my heart to love at a time when I thought commitment and partnership to a man were behind me! I was happily single and did not feel I needed a husband. Thankfully I saw the light and changed that direction! We approached our relationship with open hearts and minds and always talked candidly to one another on our expectations, desires and values.

  13. I hope you feel better soon and the treaments go smoothly.
    I would agree with the others with learning more of your travels and experiences and maybe you could share how your reactions were to middle eastern culture initially.
    Also very interesting would be if you’d like to share how you came to know about islam and how you converted :))

  14. Carol,
    You are doing well with writing the posts. I do not see a ‘mushy brain’.
    I always enjoy your choices of topics. Sometimes the best are not planned, just plan old ‘as hoc’. You are incredicable insightful and creative, so I enjoy all the topics here on American Bedu!
    You are in my thoughts and prayers…

  15. I enjoy all of your posts, but my favorite are those of every day things and daily life. And pictures!

  16. I would agree with most others here, but I would add that I would particularly like to hear about specific memories or instances that were culturally interesting, especially when they feature someone you know. You learn so much by watching how people react when they or someone they interact with are out of their usual comfort zone. For example, it was very interesting to watch my Abdalah and my mother the very first time they met, each trying to maneuver in a situation where they weren’t really sure of the protocol but wanted to make the other person feel welcome 🙂 Also, I like to hear about the news concerning Saudi from your point of view – we don’t get much of that here and when we do it’s often skewed one way or the other.

    Feel better soon, Carol!! Like Jessica said, anytime you want support or sympathy you’ve got a lot of shoulders to choose from 🙂

  17. […] Posts Saudi Arabia: Removing the Fear of Muslims in the USASaudi Arabia: What Do American Bedu Readers Seek?Saudi Arabia: Renewal of IqamaMakkah, Saudi Arabia: Is the Holiest City also the Most Deadly […]

  18. I’m chiming in here a bit late. I do like all of the above suggestions.

    I find it interesting how often you write warnings to women about getting involved with a Saudi Man but your relationship was so good. The warnings seem entirely appropriate but there is a bit of irony that your relationship was so good. I’d like to hear of any initial doubts you may have had about Abdullah as a Saudi.

    Also I would like to hear about women’s shelters in Saudi or in other Middle East Countries. This is probably difficult information to obtain but I would like to hear about it.

  19. Salaam alaikhoum Carol. I pray that allah gives you the strength to see your treatment through without any problems. As far as I, and also the couple that you know about that I posted an item for, I think it would be practicable things about setting up home in Saudi (and other islamic countries) where it would be possible for europeans to move to (obviously in saudi any move would probably be linked with work)! The kind of things would be. (a) Where one would have to go to find a home – real estate agents or their equivelent for example; (b)approximate cost of “normal” properties! (c) other costs of living in these countries; (d) the right areas of a country and its towns; (e) any organisations in existence who are there specifically to befriend/assist newcomers to settle in especially if they themselves are muslims. What I was thinking of here which ties in with your latest post re saudi graduates would be Saudis who were bilingual because they may have studied in America/Europe and so had experianced life in these countries and so would be much more open to other people than maybe their peers who had not travelled outside their surroundings! Again, best wishes. Maasalaama, Amelia

  20. Thanks Amelia for the great feedback. I think you have hit on an excellent business opportunity. I have written articles in the past on my blog about finding a home and settling in to Saudi. It’s not easy to work directly with realtors or landlords as an expatriate to the Kingdom. A Saudi graduate could probably start a viable business helping expatriates settle and adapt to the Kingdom. There are relocation services in so many places of the world which are fabulous but they really do not exist in Saudi.

  21. Salaam alaikhoum Carol. Shukran for your reply to my post. You say that there are relocation services in so many places of the world but not in Saudi. Do you know of any in other muslim countries. My friends have had two very good holidays in muslim countries. Both times they were hosted by local families. The first was in Oman where they were hosted by an Omani military officer ( a group of them were sent over to the town where they live – a recognised centre for english language schools – to improve there english during Ramadan); and my friends met them at the mosque early on in their stay, and two invited them to visit Oman. In the end only one was involved in the hosting of my friends. Just through interest, the husband of the couple does have the initial teaching english as a foreign language qualification!!. The second time was a year later. Soon after the lady married her husband, she met and did a dress alteration for a libyan sister who was studying at the towns university. This sister had invited them to visit Libya at that time but the invite was not taken up. The Libyan sister had since returned home, but came over for a holiday and phoned my friends that when she arrived she wanted to meet up with them. This they did, and she re-iterated her invitation which they were now able to accept. When they got there they found that the ladies husband was one of Colonal Gadaffis advisers! Maasalaama, Amelia

  22. Muslim countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Turkey have international relocation services. Other countries do too but I know that such services are not typical in Saudi Arabia. There will some individuals (usually expats) who will offer assistance. I think locals providing services are a win-win.

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