You Know You’ve Been Living in Saudi Arabia…

Sand dunes and Mosque in Shaybah, Saudi Arabia

Sand dunes and Mosque in Shaybah, Saudi Arabia

I just came across this while editing my eBook Black Chick in Saudi – The Early Years. When I first made the decision to join my husband in Saudi Arabia, like everyone else, I started to do some research. During that time, I came across this piece. I thought it was funny, though at the time, I really couldn’t relate to it since I hadn’t moved there yet. Well, after more than five years of living in Saudi Arabia, there are several I can relate to. 🙂

You Know You’ve Been Living In Saudi Arabia When:

You think SR500 is a good price
You enjoy channel 2
Your idea of housework is leaving a list for the housekeeper
You think black is appropriate daytime wear
You wear a jacket inside and take it off when you go out
You know which end of a Shawarma to unwrap
You give directions by landmarks
You expect gold for every birthday
You send your friends a map instead of your address
You expect to pay more for water than for petrol
You remember not eating in public in the daytime during the holy month of Ramadan.
You have ever had to wait for prayer call to be over to finish shopping.
You have friends from 50 different countries.
Rain is still one of the most wonderful sounds in the world.
You have sat in a “men’s” or “women’s” section in an airport, hospital, or restaurant.
You don’t think it is ostentatious to own more than one Rolex.
Your school closes early because of sandstorms
You are not surprised to see an 8 year old driving the car next to you
You can’t buy anything without asking for a discount
You think cars only come in white

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About Terri Lundberg

Terri Lundberg is an American expat currently residing with her husband in Saudi Arabia, but she calls Seattle and San Diego home. She’s a travel writer, an avid photographer and is a resource and cross cultural trainer to expats relocating to Saudi Arabia. She's been to 100 destinations, 30 countries, and counting.


  1. what area did live in ..
    Rolex…and gold for birthdays!! gotta move to where you live

  2. You find mayo at the store so you buy 10 and urgently call all your friends!

  3. You feel as though you should be singing the hokey cokey when you meet a man in a business scenario that you have not met before.. ” you put your right arm in, your right arm out, in out in out ..”
    Is it appropriate to shake hands or not?

    • I believe it’s up to the individual. The rule of thumb that I use (though I’m hardly ever in business situations) and what I’m told is a good rule is the following: Upon introduction, if the man extends his hand, you shake it (if you want). If he doesn’t extend his, don’t you extend yours.

  4. You expect to pay more for water than petrol – wow!

  5. Wayne Morris says:

    Where are you in Saudi? I lived in Tabuk for 14 months and enjoyed the area also being so close to the Red Sea we would go diving on the weekends.

  6. Kathleen Olin says:

    You get excited when you find Oreos and Pop Tarts in the supermarket.
    You say BEBSI. ….Instead of PEPSI.

  7. Karen Jennings says:

    You have tinned products in your pantry that are over 10 years old! Some are probably without labels, so it’s definitely pot-luck when you open them!

  8. Marcella says:

    You can hop off the bus at the outside (batchelor side) run thru the commissary, pick up the mail, and make it back to the bus; for the outgoing trip back to the Temporary Housing. All so that you didn’t have to wait an hour for the next bus. LOL
    Record setting, in my day. 🙂

  9. lol this is so hilarious especially that one truth about paying more for water than to oil!! this is like one of first “mind blown” facts when i tell my foreign friends!