I'll go back and forth so as to not provide uppers or downers :) LOVE: 1. I can cover my face and NO ONE cares.
I can cover it at work. At the mall. In public. And never once has anyone said "go back where you came from!" Ironically, this is not where I came from and America is :)
HATE: 1. People think I'm Saudi.
I can get along in Arabic pretty well. Full conversations, even. But when someone asks me something really specific, I can't get it. I've also been yelled at no less than ten times for going with the international workers instead of the Saudis. I constantly have to yell "HEY! I'm WHITE!"
LOVE: 2. The FOOD!
OMG it's so gooooooood! Everything is halal!! And yet still, MIRACULOUSLY, I lost 10 more pounds.
HATE: 2. The drama of getting food
Call a driver, take the driver to a restaurant, get the food, come home with the food, eat the food. No thank you.
LOVE: 3. A majority of the people
Never met nicer people in my entire life. Everyone is happy to help me.
HATE: 3. A minority of the people
They make the *tsk tsk* noise at me sometimes. Maybe too much of my eyes show? Maybe the top of my foot peeked out? Sorry people, but I'm doing my best. And some of you *tsk tsk*ers aren't as holy as you think. Also, in one meeting a man absolutely REFUSED to look at me the entire time or speak to me EVENTHOUGH I was the person he should have been speaking to. I hated him. He had an evil twinkle. The boys at work defended me.
LOVE: 4. Not driving
Woah, it's really nice to not have to drive in this city where the driving is PSYCHOTIC.
HATE: 4. Getting nauseous in the backseat
If I don't take an SUV, there is no doubt I will puke within 3 minutes.
LOVE: 5. The houses
I've only visited a few of my friends at their particular houses, but woah! They were gorgeous mashaAllah!
HATE: 5. Having outfits with no where to go
The social scene here for me is still very slowly improving - I wish I had tons of friends here that we have stuff to do all day, but I just don't.
LOVE: 6. Work
The people I work with are HILARIOUS and we're all a gang like we knew each other for years. (Inside jokes GALORE! To the point we bust out laughing during the meetings). They literally keep me sane when Hate #6 happens.
HATE: 6. THE FREAKING SYSTEMS
So, I guess we can say I did this to myself by accepting a government job, but OMG it's like pulling teeth to do ANYTHING. I just now got a bank account today. It took a whole month. I lived on $700. I've never lived on $700 in my entire life for a whole month. Alhamdulilah I made it through, but I couldn't transfer money! It was tragic. My iqama took forever to come. My housing is still a messed up situation. UGH! Thank God for Love #6.
LOVE: 7. Improving my Arabic
It's gotten a legit 10% better since I've been here - and it's been just one month. Imagine after a year, inshaAllah!
HATE: 7. I kinda miss English
Today I spoke Arabic for 82% of my day. Just spoke English to the Subway guy. I want to speak English people. I miss my language :(
LOVE: 8. The humor
I get it soooooo much better than I get white people jokes. Hate to say it.
HATE: 8. How rude workers are
For example, at the bank, they needed to see my iqama. Instead of doing the American style, "How may I help you? May I please see your iqama?" the guy just said "Gimme that" I wanted to cry. I miss the nice way.
LOVE: 9. Making new friends
HATE: 9. Gahwa Arabi
I realllllly am ashamed to tell you this, but I HATE Arabic coffee, astaghfirAllah. It does not taste good AT ALL. I don't know how you guys drink this stuff. And, I am constantly being offered it as if it is the supply of life. BLAH. Turkish coffee, please! P.S. I miss Starbucks.
LOVE: 10. A new culture
I thought I knew Saudi culture before I came. I was pretty well prepared for an American, but still the culture continues to surprise me every day. It makes me laugh, it makes me cry. Just like American culture.
HATE: 10. Other foreigners
I can't stand how they walk. Please, if you're moving, keep moving. If you're stopping, move to the side and stop. Also, don't eat spaghetti at 7 am. Also, good for you that you can do arts and crafts but if you can't make a graph, I will hit you. Not trying to be racist, but they drive me a little nuts.
I once read a quote that said, "I often wondered why birds could go anywhere in the world and yet they stay close to home. I asked myself the same thing." Life is short and this world is huge.