Friday, May 8, Ramadan Hot Pot & The Mother’s Day Wish

By Sarah Rollinson JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA

It’s… I don’t know how long now…2 months maybe? I’ve been in Saudi 4 months almost, locked away in this world that I am trying to understand.

When you are away in a house with people, you learn a lot about them, but more so about yourself. I know that I am more patient than I thought, but also that patience runs thin very quickly as well. You learn who to trust and who not to trust. You learn what is most valuable in life. Most valuable for me is family and true friends. The people that I can trust the most are family and true friends, not the ones that perceive to be, but the ones that have proven themselves to be. I have reached a time in my life that I am not Ok with dancing around bullshit anymore. Life is black and white; the grey has been pushed out of my thoughts. We live, or we die, I have no time to deal with bullshit anymore. I’m too old for this shit.

Ramadan started on April 23 here. It’s the ninth month of the Muslim year, during which strict fasting is observed from dawn to sunset. From what I have read, Muslims don’t eat all day until dusk (or drink anything, including water). They then indulge until 4 am on food. Also, they are supposed to go shopping at this time. Still, it isn’t an option right now. From what I gather, Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection, self-improvement, and heightened devotion and worship. Muslims believe that Ramadan teaches them to practice self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice, and empathy for those who are less fortunate, thus encouraging actions of generosity and compulsory charity.

I am still trying to teach myself about religion, as it is a huge thing in Arab culture. I am trying, at least. I am in their country; I should at least try to learn.

I Skyped with my son yesterday (I do twice a week) I have just gotten news that once I can get my documents to get the process done getting my PR documents (I’m not a Canadian citizen, British, although living in Canada most of my life). I might be able to go back to Canada (yay!!!) It’s Liam’s birthday at the end of the month, I was trying to see what he wanted, but once I told him that he said that me coming home would be a great birthday present, and great Mother’s Day present to me. I agreed.

Nothing tests you more than being stuck in a country that women are looked at as nothing, and men rule. I am trying to get this out of my head, but it’s hard.

The weather right now is hot and humid, reaching almost 50 degrees Celsius some days with the humidity. I love to be able to go to the beach and bike for exercise, but it’s 5 pm curfew. We can’t even watch the sunset. I think the coast guards (who are military dressed in desert camo attire) have somewhat relaxed when it comes to going there. Last time they were talking to my husband they told him “10 minutes to curfew, where are you from?” he told them “Russia” and they said “Bottle, bottle!” and laughed, meaning Russians like to drink. We gathered that they knew this after FIFA 2018 when a lot of Saudis, serious soccer lovers, had gone there to watch the world cup and knew that drinking was a big thing with Russians.

The more I look out of my bedroom window and see the sand and palm trees, the more I want to see maple trees, robins, blue jays, cardinals, and squirrels. It might look like a dream, but it’s a very clouded one.

I made myself and the family “Hot Pot,” a meal that my mother used to throw together when there weren’t enough ingredients, and the grocery store was a good 30 minutes away drive, and she’d be tired from work. I managed to make some from what I could put together here. It’s comfort food. It’s what made me feel at home and safe. It made me feel relaxed and less uneasy.

Basically, stock…, whatever root veggies you have around (potatoes and carrots are good in this), throw in some garlic, Worcestershire, onions, tomatoes, and corned beef to finish it off 🙂 Root veggies first to soften and then the rest to simmer a bit 🙂 I threw in a bit of paprika and some hot spices to give it a bit of a kick…and of course salt and pepper.

Everyone, please stay safe, stay home unless you have to go out and wear a mask and gloves when you do. I am closer to ‘ground 0’ than a lot of you, but Saudi is trying to keep very safe. Please; wear a mask, wear gloves…everything you touch and breath could be deadly…maybe not to you, but to your grandfather, or someone else’s grandmother, or a child that has lung issues, etc., etc. Think about every chronic smoker that you know. Just be safe. Think about others, not just yourself.

Love to all.

Sarah.