Today it was literally a sandbox. A "schmall" rolled in (big dust storm) and it was crazy. No sky, no sun, no road in front of you, no nothing (including no breathing). And today was supposed to be beach day. We went to the beach anyway, but it was just a mess of blowing sand. However, we had great fellowship with new friends. We just sat around the beach in the blowing sand and wind and talked. I really love the people over here!
Lately I've gotten to do some really neat things. I think my highlight has been sitting in on an English conversation class with a bunch of women who want to learn to speak English. It was wonderful to spend time with some of the local ladies and hear their stories. . .fascinating!
We have had great lunches and dinners with so many fun people. I have loved listening to stories about their exciting lives and I really feel like I have made some forever friends here in the Sandbox!
Last night a few girls took me to the mall for a cultural education!! So, we threw on our abayas and headed to the FAMILY mall. . .what is a family mall? you ask. Well, on the weekends, only families can go there. . .meaning no single men are supposed to be allowed in the mall so that the women can feel more modest and so that the families can spend time together (or something to that effect). We actually saw a group of guys get kicked out. Interesting. The best part of the evening (besides the conversation) was trying on formals (dresses). There are no changing rooms in the stores because it wouldn't be appropriate for women to try on clothes when a man (working in the store) is right outside of the dressing room. So, we each picked out our favorite dress (the tackiest and gaudiest we could find) and handed them to the guy working. He put each of our dresses in bags (as if we purchased them) and without asking for any IDs or money or anything, just handed us the bags and we left the store. There is a dressing room (one in the entire mall) through a sort of non-descript door, down a LONG hallway and up three flights of stairs where women can try on their clothes before they buy them. It was fascinating!
Today was also henna day. I'm doing whatever my hostess is telling me to do in order to get the "full experience," so today I got a henna tattoo from a lady from India.
All in all I really have had the best time here! I really love the people (both the locals I've met and the ex-pats). I feel so at home here! I am fascinated by the culture. I have laughed a lot. And most of all, I have really loved every single minute with Andy. I forgot how much I loved being around him with no kids. . .just us! Best ever!
Tomorrow is our last day here and then we will be headed to the Red Sea for a couple of days. I am so looking forward to that excursion before we head back home!