I had to quit my job teaching English and sell my little side business when Jose and I decided that we were moving to KAUST. I welcomed the time off though because I’d worked for almost 9 years non-stop and I was pretty burned out. Based on all that I read online, I knew that … Continue reading What Does a Housewife Do in KAUST?
After I gave birth things at home were hectic. At one point my parents-in-law, sister-in-law, her husband and their 18 month old were here and it was not the peace and quiet I had hoped for. My sister-in-law Montse cooked a lot but she also had to take care of her daughter so I couldn’t … Continue reading Helping Each Other
About a 30-minute drive from KAUST is a really nice city called KAEC. It’s a HUGE tract of land that is mostly empty for now, but the government is slowly working on it. It’s a community that will house many companies, stores, residential areas, hotels and entertainment and recreation areas. The government knows that it … Continue reading King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC)
Getting Jasmine’s Spanish passport is a bit harder than getting her Taiwanese one. First of all, there is a Spanish consulate in Jeddah but they only do visas and other minor things. We had to fly to Riyadh if we wanted her passport. It’s a major hassle but we had to do it and the … Continue reading One day in Riyadh
Today was the first time I actually went to a mixed (men and women) yoga class since I’ve been in KAUST. In prenatal yoga of course all the students were women. Afterwards I just kept going to Suganya’s (the teacher) class. I would see some women enter the room wearing their abayas and hijabs and remove them quickly, revealing their workout clothes underneath. So one advantage of wearing an abaya is that you don’t need to change when you go to the gym. Our yoga teacher always kept door closed/locked to make sure the men outside couldn’t see the women inside.
Well today Suganya’s class was full so I had to take her husband Rajiv’s mixed class. I was pleasantly surprised to see that there weren’t a lot of people and we didn’t have to complete for floor space. It felt weird though to be in yoga with men. Then I thought I was weird for feeling weird. I mean, I’ve been to all sorts of yoga classes with all sorts of people before. I guess Saudi really changes you.
Just to give you an idea of how it is here: there are separate male and female gyms. The pools are for everyone but there are days/times when only male or only females are allowed. The beaches are for everyone as well except on Mondays (I think) when it’s only for females. This is to give more conservative (or shy) women a chance to use the facilities.
Classes are mixed and generally everyone walks around freely on campus. Women are allowed to drive cars inside KAUST. This is quite a controversial issue in this ultra conservative country. Many hardliners (outside KAUST) oppose this kind of set up so we have to be careful about talking/publishing about our activities. However, many, if not all, the Muslims and Saudis in KAUST are more open-minded, which is why they even agreed to come in the first place. Continue reading “Yoga and Segregation”
The first few days we were in Taipei we stayed with Cerise and Tom (thanks, guys!). Later on, we moved to an amazing apartment we found on Airbnb. At first Jose and I talked about staying at a hotel but in the end we felt that Airbnb was a much better option especially since he … Continue reading Skygarden