Zufelt Family Sept 2013

Zufelt Family Sept 2013

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Abaya Good and Bad this Week

I wasn't looking forward to wearing an abaya. I knew it wouldn't be the end of the world but what I was most dreading was covering my head. Now that I don't need to do that I'm pretty okay with it. In fact I often forget I'm wearing it at all. I was in the kids school the other day for 20 minutes before I noticed I was the only one still dressed in all black. The head scarf on my neck does make me particularly hot, but these wild 110 degree F/44 degree C days should be over in a month or so.

The abaya has been a two edged sword so far.

The Bad
We hadn't gone anywhere or done anything since we moved here and were heading to the mall shopping one day. I thought, "I've done the ironing and I have a few nice shirts ready to go. I feel like looking nicer than old gym clothes today. I'll dress up." I got on some earrings and cute shorts. Then I realized it was a total waste of my ironing to wear it that day. We were heading into public which means I would have to be covered the entire day. I would just sweat and wrinkle it all up. So I threw on a t-shirt and long pants and off we went. The abaya has completely destroyed any internal drive to try to look good or pick out a nice outfit. And if you know me, that desire was often low anyway.

The Good
We had been told the kids will love some of the local food here called shwarmas. Fresh off the boat newbies that we are we decided to give it a go. We called the driver and went to the only place we had noticed where we could probably get some because it had in enormous letters on the side of the building that said "SHWARMA." Pretty safe bet. We went in the family entrance and it was pretty apparent it was a much nicer place than we had bargained for. Luckily Brian was still in a nice button up shirt and slacks from work. The kids were in t-shirts and such but kids sort of get a pass all the time anyway. I however had a neon orange running shirt and super old shorts I had nabbed from someone's salvation army donation box 10 years ago...BUT I also had an abaya. So no one was the wiser I was woefully underdressed for a fancy pants restaurant like that. Plus, families eat in booths and draw a curtain so you are fully isolated from the world. Score one for the abaya!

Burkas, Abayas, Hijabs and My Learning Curve

First things first. When people asked about us moving to the Middle East they wonder if I will have to wear a burka. Turns out I didn't know much about Islamic dress code. For the sake of a quick conversation I just say "Yes except the face part." But the truth is I don't have to wear a burka (burqa). A burqa is a full body, head to toe, wrist to wrist covering, generally in black. The face is even fully covered with a thick cloth that works like a one way mirror where the woman can see out but you cannot see in. I do NOT have to wear that.

I wear an abaya. It is basically an all black, very long, flowy dress. It covers from the neck to the floor and to my wrists. It should not reveal the form of a woman so they are all very loose. The abaya the company gave me at the airport when I arrived has a small amount of pretty deep red embroidery on it and a few sequins. I must also carry with me a black head scarf at all times which I drape over my shoulders. I am told that I live in a more liberal part of Saudi so I don't need to cover my hair but if the religious police ever approach me and ask me to cover I need to be ready. It doesn't happen often but it does happen. Mine doesn't close properly in front so below the knee my leg shows. I need to get a zipper to make it properly or maybe a few more buttons but for now I just wear long pants until I can find a tailor or a fabric store.

Other pieces of the Islamic wardrobe are the hijab which we saw day in and day out in Singapore. I had many friends who wore this. In fact many people work the abaya in Singapore but in beautiful colors and patterns.

I told Brian last spring as we anticipated coming here that I could process the idea of covering up much more easily if they would just let me wear pretty prints and colors because the Singaporean women had some gorgeous things I would have loved to buy. In retrospect it's probably best for me to have an all black abaya selection. Otherwise I would amass a whole wardrobe of "pretty" abayas and hijabs that I would never be able to use anywhere else.

From .com to .sg to .fr

I saw this ning that my blog "suffix" if you can call it that has changed again. When I blogged from the US my address was zufeltzoo.BlogSpot.com. After a while we moved to Singapore and maybe a year after we arrived there my blog address shifted itself to zufeltzoo.BlogSpot.sg. Well, this morning I logged in and was surprised to see we are now .fr and I'm wondering if I'm in France? I find it incredibly interesting how the internet and computer algorithms that send targeted marketing ads to you and all of that work. Big Brother is everywhere now.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Called In Again

Welcome back to base plant operations. Ugh. Brian has spent years supporting "projects." Now he supports day to day operations. He has been called in every single weekend to work since we arrived in Saudi. This morning (weekend) he got called and had to go to work at 3am. Poor man. And poor us. And he's late home from work a lot too. We sure had a sweet deal in Fairfax and Singapore! Now we have everyone else's life again and, as Ben would say, I don't love it. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

School Has Begun

First day solo with Ashlyn. Big kids are at school all day. Daddy at work. No Gina. Let's PLAY!

Wardrobe Fights

Madison and I butt heads over clothes. Daily. Here is what she wore today. I don't know who "won". She didn't wear nice silky skirts to play in the dirt. *Win for me* She didn't wear long sleeves or long pant variety winter clothes for the forecasted 110 def F. *Win for me* But she did successfully cover her entire leg with fancy boots so there will be no actual cooling of her body. *Win for her*

This was the third outfit she put on this morning. I can't wait for cooler weather so she can wear whatever she wants and not get heat stroke at recess. Yesterday Ben reported that she had worn the summer clothes I made her wear but came to recess in a jacket zipped shut with the hgood on. She has a good today on that t-shirt and wore it most the morning.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Saudi Arabia is Awesome

Driving through old Jubail my kids made up a new song. They have been singing the "Everything is Awesome" song from the Lego Movie. The new song written by Jacob is constant repeat of the words "Saudi Arabia is awesome!" I hope that means he is happy about the move.