In order to make time for writing today’s post, I had to skip taking a shower for a day! Yes, I made that decision with a full conscious since I really wanted to write another culture post. And since I spent the whole day with my dad and got back home about two hours ago. I was planning to take a shower in the evening, but when I thought about all the things that I need to do, I decided to just give it a miss and write instead! That’s time management 101 for you: skip taking a shower when the need arises, and you have more important things to do.
Today’s post answers another question that I get asked pretty frequently while living in Dubai. Many people I meet tend to wonder whether I’m originally from Saudi or not. Because there are some people from other Arab countries who have lived in Saudi for many years and therefore have a Saudi passport, and are considered to be Saudi as well. That’s why, many people ask me questions like: “So by saying Saudi … You mean proper Saudi Saudi?” (this was a recent one that I received from a LinkedIn connection.)
Another one that I received from a teacher at the University where I was recently taking a degree at was: “Are your parents Saudi?”
Of course there are many other versions of that question that I get asked regularly, but I only quoted the most recent ones that I received.
To answer that question, I say: Yes, I’m a pure Saudi. 100% Saudi. My parents are from Saudi originally, I’m originally from there, and we’re all pure Saudis. We’re not other Arabs who have lived in Saudi for many years and then got passports and became officially Saudi. We are by blood from Saudi Arabia 🙂
The reason that I look and act differently is probably because some people from my city (me being one of them) are Americanized or Westernized Saudis. We grew up in a lifestyle somehow similar to the Western one, we used to watch Western (mainly American) TV and movies, listen to Western (English) music, and eat mainly International or Western dishes and snacks!
To understand this point more, check the earlier post about my hometown – Al Khobar. In that post, I talk about the city where I grew up and why we are different than other people from the Saudi society.
I’ll mention a few other points briefly as an affirmation to the fact that I’m a genuine Saudi and not a fake one 🙂
- My father is originally from a city called Al Ahsaa. He moved to Dhahran as a teenager to take up some studies with Saudi Aramco, who later sent him to get a degree from Boston. This was in the 1960’s (I’m not even sure about the dates). But basically, he made the decision to leave his small town and move to the big city to improve his life and take on a serious career journey.
- My mother is originally from Riyadh, but she grew up in Bahrain as a child. She also went to college in Beirut for some time, but didn’t get a degree. She used to write short stories, and she was one of the pioneers to open a beauty salon in our city – Al Khobar. The salon still operates till today. But again, her days in Beirut were in the 1960’s or something. She worked as a school principal in Saudi for some time too.
- I can talk about my siblings in other posts (another question that I get asked all the time). As soon as the person I’m speaking to finds out that I’m from Saudi, they ask: “Do you have any siblings? do they live in Saudi? what do they do? are they married?”.
- In the first private school that I attended in Saudi, there were many other Arab students. This means that the students weren’t all from Saudi. There were many from Jordan, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and other Arab countries. That’s another reason why we’re not like the other Saudis. Because from a very young age, we were exposed to other Arabs and other nationalities. Mingling with those nationalities has a great influence on one’s character. That’s why we’re not “too Saudi”.
- I just remembered another thing, my Arabic dialect resembles that of a person from Kuwait. That’s mainly because of my parent’s background. Also, because of the city we’re from. People from our city actually come from different parts of Saudi – each with their own dialect. But in general, my dialect is not of a typical Saudi person. It’s a very light, and much more simpler version of the original Saudi dialect. You can call it a modernized version of the real Saudi one 🙂
- In the second private school that I attended, many of the students were half-Saudis. This means that one of their parents was from Saudi and the other was from a different country. Some had European or American mothers. Others had Asian mothers. It was a great mix of cultures and ethnic backgrounds. Again, a great opportunity for us to get exposed to other cultures and nationalities.
I can’t think of other points to clarify the fact that I’m a real Saudi. But like I said, it’s mainly because people from my city are different. We’re a distinctive breed 🙂
I hope that this post has helped answer your question about me being an original Saudi or not. Honestly, I don’t feel very Saudi myself. Because I grew up in a very cosmopolitan city (Al Khobar) and with an original lifestyle, I don’t think or act like someone from the Gulf region. I might have some traits from that background that are ingrained in my personality. But overall, I like to think of myself as an expat. A Saudi expat living in Dubai. That’s how I will put it from now on 🙂
I would like to end this post by asking for some time management tips. Since I always have too many things on my daily to-do list, I barely have any time left in my day to relax or even read a few pages from a book. I think the only way around this is to eliminate some tasks from my to-do lists and start doing less every day. What do you think? do you experience time management issues? do you feel like you don’t have enough time to rest at the end of the day? do you have any suggestions or tried and proven time management skills?
Stay tuned for another culture post coming soon to the blog!
Saudi Diva signing off XXX