Saudi Arabia: Abdullah and the Egg Nog

Since it is the holiday season in the States, I must share a memory of Abdullah.  We were in Florida during the holiday season and visiting family. My sister was hosting a traditional holiday dinner.  In addition to her and her husband, my brother and his wife and my dad and stepmom were in attendance.  I should also mention that this visit was also during the time Abdullah was meeting the Florida based family for the first time.

My family made Abdullah very warmly welcomed.  He was comfortable with everyone and having a great time.  He quickly learned that my brother and brother-in-law were practical jokers.  He also learned that my sister was a fabulous cook and could rival any chef.

We sat down at the table to enjoy a meal of roasted turkey, dressing, and and an array of vegetable and salad dishes.  My Dad was at one end of the table and Abdullah was seated at the other end.

My sister had used her best china and dishes to lay out the table.  It was beautiful and festive. Everyone had a crystal glass filled with her homemade spiced eggnog.

The dishes were passed around the table family style.  My brother was seated to Abdullah’s left.  As my brother passed mashed potatoes to Abdullah he accidently bumped Abdullah’s glass of eggnog which tipped over and spilled right onto the platter of turkey.  There was a pregnant pause and then my brother said, “Abdullah, now why did you have to go and ruin the turkey with eggnog?”

Abdullah was aghast and for a few moments did not know what to say.  He did not want to offend my brother but he also wanted to proclaim his innocence.   He started to respond, “Now Mike, you saw what happened…” when my brother-in-law interrupted him.  “Come on Abdullah, we know you are nervous about meeting your wife’s family.”

My Dad, who did not see what happened, chimed in with, “It’s okay Abdullah.  Accidents happen.”  At that point both my brother and brother-in-law told Abdullah, “Welcome to the family!”  With a wink showing him that she understood, my sister gave Abdullah a new glass full of eggnog.

My dear husband took the incident in stride and eventually my brother and brother-in-law learned that Abdullah could also give as well as take…especially when it came to practical jokes.

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24 Responses

  1. Abdullah sounds as if he was a wonderful man. I am sure that you miss him very much.

    I had a Saudi friend named Faisal over to our house for dinner. I have two roomates, a man and a woman, so there were 4 of us. I met him at the door, with Hijab and abaya, and when he got inside and comfortable.

    Then I took my Hijab off, thinking that in my own home this would be permissible. Then he walked into the dinning room where I had “Tabla Turbo” playing on sound system. I did not realise it at first but he was quite alarmed, but seemed to calm down when I stopped the music (it was the strings in the music) and put my Hijab back on.

    I was insensitive to his cultural needs and I learned much from him.

  2. He probably thought he was in a madhouse.
    Or more likely, you made this up: nothing in your story adds up.

  3. Haha! Cute memory. 🙂

  4. That is a good memory.

  5. Hmmm….if Faisal was so easily alarmed by such things…what was he doing in your house in the first place? Not being related and all…

  6. Well, you see, I am American, and Faisal is Saudi. I had known him for about 4 years, and encouraged him and prayed for him as he wended his way through the red tape to finally get a visa to come to America to attend college. I thought that I knew him very well, and he called me Aunti. We were friends.

    So, after he was here for a while, I invited him over to our house for dinner. I did not realise how conservative he was. I started out in Islam as part of the Niqabi set, but later understood that it was not necessary in Islam, and especially not in the US, though some do.

    Someone else made a snarky comment about not believing me. Look folks, can’t you see this is not about a flame war against me but I was just making conversation with American Bedu. I told no lies, not one.

    Faisal used to complain about how nasty Saudis were to each other, and had trouble accepting how nice Americans are to each other. If nastiness is a way of life for you, take it up with Allah SWT.

  7. That ”somebody” was me. Your stories are fake, or you are seriously psychologically confused.
    You make conversation on an open forum, you should not be surprised to be called out on the inconsistencies of your silly stories.

  8. Gwendolyn, I find it odd, especially as a former niqabi, that you would have thought to answer your door to Faisal covered but then uncover because you thought it should be ok since you are ‘in your own home’. If you knew enough about Islam to be wearing a niqab you should have known that is wasn’t being worn for protection from a ‘building’ but for ‘people’. So, unless that male roomate was your brother you should have been covered (IF you believed in covering) at all times around him, even if he lived with you. But perhaps you weren’t a niqabi quite yet? Perhaps Faisal taught you how to be more conservative?

    Also, please don’t confuse Aafke with an American, she’s one of those ‘Ugly Europeans’. 😉

  9. I can’t get over how lovely that cup of eggnog looks, how onearth did someone get that pretty design on top… it looks so good. i don’t think i can drink and ruin that 🙂

    Hope your keeping well carol. enjoy the season .

  10. @Radha – I was thinking the same thing! I’m thinking that the nutmeg and cinnamon are sifted over a poinsetta stencil or something. It makes me want to get some for Christmas!

  11. From the your first comment here none of your stories go beyond the stereotypical.
    You read stuff online, gain some superficial knowledge, and make up nonsensical stories here.
    Everything you talked about has been silly, and unconvincing. You really need to learn more to make up more convincing stories.
    I’m not buying your nonsense.

  12. That comment was for Gwendolyn

  13. @lynn – Yes, even the cup is perfect.
    I don’t think i can drink eggnog – raw egg i assume is one of the contents.. i can’t get myself to try it..
    but i showed this to my daughter and she’s planning a spiced pannacota with this type pretty design for dessert …can’t wait. I’m so glad she inherited the cooking gene that skipped me .

  14. No, I started out in Islam as a Niqabi, but found it too hard. Eventually, as I learned, I decided that a well placed Hijab was enough. I do not need to prove anything to you or anyone else. The very idea that I would write lies reveals the darkness in your own souls.

    We do not always get to chose our living situations, and mine is not the best, but I remain pure before Allah SWT and he knows this. Islam may not be the best in America, but at least here, I am not likely to be murdered for some infraction.

  15. No, it is you who is living by your lower nature. I need to prove nothing. Allah SWT knows.

  16. Didn’t you chance to Mormon by now?

  17. Yes, and here is the heart of the problem. The incidents that I related happened while I was still Muslim. And yes, I am not Muslim any more but I can not get some of the beliefs out of my heart. The belief in Muhammad PBUH and his work, and the Qur’an are still part of me. The nastyness of Muslims is not part of Islam. And it was my disillusionment with backbiting Muslims that drove me away. I am not following this thread any more. This is my last post.

    Yes, I think I will become LDS, but will remember what I learned, because I did learn good things. It is people like Aafke that made it too much. Allah SWT knows.

  18. Gwendolyn , No Saudi who comes to America will be shocked by music, ridiculous. That’s where it showed you make stuff up.

    FSM SWT knows better.

  19. I think everyone is coming down a little harsh on Gwendolyn. She is going through her own challenges and as we should all be able to relate is that decisions and challenging times can be confusing to sort through.

    Abdullah and I fully embraced each others cultures and traditions which I think played a significant part in the success of our relationship. When I was in Pakistan over Christmas one year he took the initiative and made sure my family received lovely hand-selected gifts. He even bought exquisite stockings and took great pride in stuffing stockings for my son and DIL at the time.

    Yes; I do miss him. Thankfully we packed so much life and love in the years we had together.

  20. This is off the subject but since we are talking about kindness at Christmas I thought I would post this link. It is wonderful to know how many good people there are in the country. those who can afford it are helping those who can’t..so nice.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-500188_162-57344658/operation-santa-grants-poor-kids-gift-wishes/

  21. oby, I think you’re quite on topic. 🙂
    How did your ”christmas for a poor family” work out? I would really like to know. Did your daughter have a good time preparing it?

  22. We had a great time preparing and shopping for it…unfortunately it didn’t go quite as I had planned. We were given a day that the gifts had to be delivered. Unfortunately I would not be able to do it that day as I would have already left town, so I was supposed to call them to arrange another time. I called several times but they did not return my calls. I am not sure why. Anyway, when it was about 36 hours before my time to leave town I just couldn’t wait anymore and beside that I was now in a time crunch for my own Christmas preparations so I had to give the gifts to the organization to deliver for me. I told them that I had tried to contact the family but had not had luck. They said that in situations like this often the people are embarrassed and sometimes feel uncomfortable. They would deliver them on the day necessary. So that is how it was left. So maybe it was better to let the organization handle it at that point because they knew the family and the family knew them and it might have eased the families discomfort. I really would have liked to have done it myself, but it wasn’t happening that way… besides my daughter got a bit nervous when they did not return the calls and she felt a bit awkward thinking that it might not be received the way she expected…oh well…we tried.

  23. Oby, I think anonymous is better anyway. Certainly much better than a possibly embarassed and shy family potentially giving off a bad impression to your daughter and causing her to have a less than wonderful experience of giving to those less fortunate.

  24. Lynn..

    You read my mind. When I couldn’t get contact with them, I started talking to my daughter about giving anonymously for the joy of giving and not the thank yous or “pats on the back” that we would receive. True giving comes from the heart and not with strings attached like expectations of thanks on the receivers part. 😉

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