I am 22!

I was supposed to post this yesterday but because I got very ill and I couldn’t write anything about my birthday. I don’t celebrate my birthday very often, but I always like to look at myself again, to reevaluate  and think of all my weakness and strengths. I have always tried to develop a friendship  with myself. There were bad times when I felt that I don’t wanna be me. There were also good times when I felt that I am happy with who I am.  The struggle to move from who I am to who I want to be isn’t easy and always painful.

However, I am happy with who I am, I am happy with all the struggles I have been through,  I am happy with all the mistakes I made because it taught me a lot. I don’t want to be same person as last year. I want to be different. I want to have new experience, encounter new friends, make new mistakes, listen to new stories, think of life differently, read different books, and have new struggle and challenges.

At the end, I would like to thank  all the people who come by my blog, Thank you for sharing your thoughts, your stories with me in the blog. I am always grateful for your help, your kindness, your understanding and your honesty with me.

July 09 Panorama

  • ” When you have a sister, you have someone who cares about you, thinks of you, and never forgets you” said Dhiya  AlSuliman when we had a conversation about the advantage of having a sister
  • “The movie contained pornography content, you were closing you eyes and you missed all enjoyment and the pleasure” two guys from UAE talking to each other in the lobby about the recent movie they watch.
  • “I believe it is fair to say that in America most Americans have grown up hearing their mom’s and dad’s say “Clean up your plate.  There are children starving in the world with no food at all.” from American Bedu blog in her post Dining:Saudi Way vs The American way
  • “In comparison with capitalism, which reconstituted man as an economic animal; in comparison with Marxism, which found man an object made up of organized matter; in comparison with dialectical materialism, which saw him as unwitting plaything of the deterministic evolution of the means of production, Existentialism made man a god” Dr. Ali Shariati from his book Marxism and other western fallacies
  • ” I don’t want anything more than to be able to walk in the streets and shops without finding someone gazing at me or giving me a comment or flirting me” from najla blog in her post امنية
  • “… joy and sorrow are inseparable. . . together they come and when one sits alone with you . . . remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.” one of my best quotes of Kahlil Gibran
  • “It’s creepy but I live with the knowledge that my cousins were the victims of a selfish society.” said Coralbead in her blog‘s post
  • “I have learned from poor people that even if you don’t have enough money to buy the breads, you can still enjoy the smells of it” me talking to one of my friend
  • “They say one shouldn’t get upset over something that they never had. What a falsehood! For the deepest sorrow and pain comes from something that could have been but never was” Said my friend Terra Bliss
  • “The girl has died because we are a cowardly society, because we are afraid of pointing out the causes of the problems, because we are afraid of asking someone to fix it, because we don’t fight for out basic rights” Fouad Alfarhan’s comment on the death of a saudi girl in Jeddah’s beach because of  irresponsibility of governmental agency.
  • “I felt proud to be a Saudi woman in US, but as soon as I arrived to Saudi, I suddenly started to only portray myself as the American woman married to a Saudi. That way, I can get away with so much more” comment by Tasneem on my post Saudi Women in US.

Saudi Women in US

Throughout my life here in Portland, I have met many Saudi girls who are incredibly genius, creative and talented. In every discussion I have with each one of them, I always feel sorry for my society for never recognizing this treasure, for never giving enough space for women to show their ideas and thoughts.

Saudi Arabia was always represented by men and never by women and I can say this: If we change just a little bit in this formulae, in this representation, and make it more balanced to give more space for women to represent this country, I can assure you that the we would a have a different society, more modern and civilized one.

When I listen to Saudi women when they talk, When I see their dreams as they walk around university buildings, When I see their ideas as it reflects freely in the reality without restriction , I realized that it is true that you just need one woman in order to change the direction of a whole society.

I remember one time I decided to give a workshop about ( exchanging ideas, blogging & open discussion) and I knew from past experience that Saudi guys will never show up because they never care! I went the class and I found most of the attendance are mostly Saudi women (and only two Saudi guys came to the workshop)

In general I can summary my observation and my interaction with Saudi women in following:

  • Saudi women in US don’t have that much interaction with American men but they do have a great interaction with a whole society.
  • I feel that Saudi women are better off when they aren’t that much socialized with each other because first, each one of them get to have a unique experience, and second, getting socialized with each other sometimes creates tension and sensitivity among them. That is true for Saudi guys too.
  • Saudi women are doing better job in the university than Saudi guys. They have a higher grade than Saudi guys most importantly, they never cheated or plagiarized while many saudi guys do.
  • Most of Saudi women feel that Saudi guys here in US are chaotic and gives a bad representation of Saudi Culture.(I agree with them in that)

At the end of my post, I would like to thank Saudi women whom I have met, worked or studied with: They are

  • Aysha Alkusayer, She is philosopher and psychologist, Intellectual and knowledgeable in any area. I met her when she gave a presentation in one of Saudi event at PSU. She encouraged me  a lot to start blogging. In fact, the name SaudiAlchemist was picked from her blog post.
  • Hanan AlSaif: I always seeks her advise whenever I have any new idea or project. She has a great perspective in every fields. She looks at things differently and I think that is the secret of her creativity.
  • Fatima Alkhars: I have worked with her in PSU Volunteer group. She astonished me by her organized and hard work in the club. She has done a lot volunteer work ( cooking for homeless communities, cleaning school garden, writing letter for ill children, etc) Everyone in the school is proud and amused of her work.
  • Fatima Al-Mousa: She has done several great events in our university. She is creative and makes something from nothing. From the first time you meet her, you can tell that she will have a great future a head of her.
  • Alia Kabbani: She works in a way that would surprise everyone. She transform her dreams into her reality in artistic way. She learn from everything and everyone and she leaves her footstep behind every journey.
  • Fatima Albar:  She is pursing her master in double major (engineering and something else) She is such aspiration person to many of us.
  • Kholud Alsaif: She inherited her dad’s dreams as well as his amazing thinking.
  • Soha Alsharifa: I refer to her as a woman who is stronger than 10 men. She came to US to study journalism. She is kind, brave and funny in the same time.
  • Leena Neyaz: She has done a lot for the Saudi Club and I always see her as an example of women who never gives up. She recently moved to Florida to complete her master degree.
  • Byan Daker: She works part time job at PSU international office and whenever I come by, I always feel proud of her because she represent a great image of Saudi women in her workplace.

Do Saudi Men Understand Saudi Women?

Studying in US has given me a great opportunity to observe and understand  people from different backgrounds, cultures and religions but most importantly it has enabled me to observe and study people from my own country. I was curious to explore the level of understanding between Saudi men and Saudi women here in the open and free society where both men and women have the freedom to interact with each other without restriction or fear. What I found out from my experience is funny, interesting and sometimes sad. I will answer series of questions from my own experience in working and studying with both Saudi men and women.

First Question: Do Saudi men understand Saudi women?

Saudi men in back home didn’t put any effort to fulfill the gap of understanding between them and women because first and for most they don’t see any needs for that since they have the (social) power in their side and second because of the separation issue. Now here in US, I have encountered some Saudi who felt the need for fulfilling that gap of understanding to correct many of their assumptions. So, they go and interact with saudi girls like brothers and sister and best friends. They work together for Saudi event, they interact openly and they exchange stories and experiences.

I have also encountered Saudi guys who couldn’t accept the idea that Saudi women would have equal power to them. I remember one time I was talking with a Saudi girl in the university campus and once I finished my conversation with her, a saudi young guy came to me and told me that he wants to marry that girl ,although that he has never met her before. Surly, in that guy’s mentality, woman would never say no and even if she said no, she is for sure the loser! Now, how can I deal with this mentality? I didn’t say anything to him and went to my class

Another saudi young guy I have met has another interesting and funny story. He told me that he thinks that one Saudi girl has fallen in love with him and when I asked him how, he told me with full confidence : ” She smiled at me last week”??

I have met  three Saudi girls who complained about other Saudi guys and their mentality. “Whenever I walk around campus, I see Saudi guys gazing at me” She told me. Another girl told me that she is  felt tired of receiving continues love E-mail from another Saudi guy. There are plenty of stories of this kind and it made me despair sometimes but once I encounter a saudi decent guy who would improve the whole image, I renewed my hope again!

I have spent a lot of my time trying to understand the cause of such behavior from guys but I failed to get to any conclusion. For example, I thought that might be due to separation between male and female but then I realized that even students from UAE and Kuwait  at our university have exactly the same problem. I think I would need to study in depth the psychological and social factors that led to this problem.

Up Next,

Do Saudi women understand themselves? Did they succeed in representing new image of strong and smart women to the public and Saudi?

what size ,,please!!

Saudi-Lingerie Boycott

One of my American friend has asked me whether or not male employees still work instead of women in Women shops and clothes’ stores in Saudi. I told him that it should be obvious that anyone in my conservative society wouldn’t allow his wife or his sister to go to the male cashier holding underwear or bra or to ask him about the better size for the panties that she want to buy. But wait, I said to myself, doesn’t my country always have this type of contradiction. I mean there are always things that don’t make any sense to us and yet we accepted as our holy values. So,before I confirm my answer to my american friend, I went and asked a couple of my friends from Saudi. They all told me the answer that I don’t want to hear. It is that women aren’t allowed to work even in the women shops and clothes stores, only men do. One my friend told me that his wife feel miserably embarrassed whenever she goes shopping for her clothes. The scene  of a man employee coming to a woman and asking her if she needs any help finding a better size for her panties is so humiliating for women in a way that many men aren’t conscious about.

Bloggers Panorama

  • “I too don’t like the concept of everything happened for a reason or fate, the resaon -whatever it was- may take longer than our life time to be revealed” Hala Aldoseri commenting in one of Marahm post regard fate
  • “Oh, no! If people got to know each other before marriage, NO ONE would get married!” Marahm quoting her Egyptian’s friend during a lively discussion
  • “I have always said that Saudis should not complain about how hard it is to get a visa to any country as long as it is still extremely hard to get a visa to come here. The foreign ministry is not making a good point when they compare Saudis to citizens from other Gulf countries; these countries offer visas to EU citizens on arrival at the airport. It is all about reciprocity” from Ahmed Al-Omran post Visa Wars and Reciprocity 
  • “It is probably best to believe that discrimination against, race, gender or faith would never change. To live in a remote state, while “others” fix the problem” said Aysha Alkusayer when she couldn’t enter the audition for a comedy in Riyadh after it has been announced that is is open for men and women
  • “We didn’t and still don’t know the truth about this country (Iran) and of its social and intellectual structures. I would say that I didn’t notice in those days when I walked between the exhibition halls and the streets of some of the popular markets and five stars hotels and popular restaurants and businessmen’ palaces, any manifestations of signs or indications of a strongly revere and sanctification of Khomeini and his group as we imagine*” said Yaser Alghaslan in his blog post Tahran as I see it (*translated by me)

a woman! or an angel!

pic from bktheman34 on flickr

I woke up this morning with a sad news, My cousin has died in a car accident in his way to work. I was holding a book on my hand and a couple of tears on my eyes. I decided to  take a long walk on the Portland river side. Walking has been part of my life ritual. As I walked forward to the river side, My memories took me backward to the forgettable past. Back to our childhood, when we sat together awake all night with our silly stories about the big giant monster. We both knew that we were lying to each other but we keep telling it over and over and laugh at our selves. We grew up and each of us chose a different path in life. I haven’t seen him for a long time, maybe for 5 years. My mom recently told me that he is planning to get married and I told her that he needs a woman that would carry him with her in a life journey to the sky, a woman that would build up his dreams from the tears of her eyes, a woman that would take all his sad memories away by the smile of her face. My mom smiled as she listen to her boy talking. Then she asked: ” what about you sweetheart! don’t you need a woman that would take you to the sky?”. ” I don’t know my lovely mom, I don’t know!” 

My cousin was waiting for a woman to carry him to the sky but fate has chosen otherwise. Fate chose the angles to carry him to the sky with no coming back. and I don’t know who will carry me to the sky, a woman! or an angel!? Only fate knows the answer for such a question!

the picture is taken by Kbthenman34