Not without my cat

Just a few meows, some might call it rantings and ravings..

Location: Jiddah, Saudi Arabia

An old Cologne cat that had to adapt to a new home.. lol

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Well, we are back home after almost four months in Germany this year - the longst time ever since we married. And actually, we have been looking forward to Saudi Arabia as a wonderful haven of peace and tranquility. We just forgot about the family...

Now it is quite normal that loving family members wish to pay a visit to the long missed relatives and we sure do not mind - but why oh why do we have to be related to half the Hejaz? And for crying out loud - why must it be Ramadan??

In Saudi Arabia, Ramadan is the time of the year where you get thrown out of bed at half dark two in the night by banging and shouting at the door as if the house would be on fire - there before your sleepy eyes standing one or two of your two dozens or so laughing brothers or sisters in law, or any of your 37 or so cousins, each complete with wife or husband and half a dozen of noisy kids, cordially presenting a cake or something like that because you sure must be hungry after fasting all day, the complete entourage rolling into your living room ("Oh all dark? Were you sleeping?") and the kids jumping around everywhere ("Can we see the cats? Where are the cats?"). The terrified cats are under the bed where you would wish you could hide as well..

And no, we do not belong to the league of those who reverse night and day during Ramadan - we still get up at Fajr and go to sleep early. At least we try... right now my husband has gone to sleep because the poor guy hasn't slept all night. I was a bit luckier because he had told me to just stay in bed and he told the relatives I wouldn't feel well. Since we are back we haven't had one night undisturbed and our sleeping rhythm is badly disturbed. My husband already plans to spend next Ramadan in Morocco..

What complicates matters a bit is the fact that we live together with my husband's parents, more or less in one 'house' - it's a bit hard to explain. It actually have been two separate houses until one day a weird head got the idea to combine both houses with a common 'entrance hall' - as a result we now have an 'entrance hall' the size of a parking lot and the whole combination looks a bit.. err.. odd. When my German father - a former architect - was here the first time he just stood and stared for full five minutes until he finally said that this would be 'the monument of an unknown architect'. My husband told him the architect hadn't been unknown but had left the country after completing this masterpiece of his. My father nodded and mumbled something like "Perfectly understandable..."

So we live in one half of this architectonical monstrosity and my father in law and his two wifes occupy the other. I guess this is another specialty of our family - not that my father in law has two wifes but the way they live. Normally two wifes require two separate households and I guess this was how they started some 50 years ago. Until it turned out that those two wifes became best friends, constantly sticking together and always doing everything together - and it is still like this. They actually have each her own realm in their house but it's of no use - they stick together like they were limed together. One can start a sentence and the other one finishes it. My husband once joked the only person in the world who ever saw them separated in the past 50 years was his father. By the way - none of them is my husband's mother who died when he was born. He was raised by both of them, calling both of them Mama, which is why he actually has two mothers who both have the same place in his heart. And I have two mothers in law - it's always funny to see the reactions of Germans when I talk of my 'Schwiegermuetter'..

Under normal circumstances we enjoy living so close together but Ramadan can get straining when my mothers in law more or less have party time the whole month - in which night and day are reversed. And since the whole relationship on their way to that everlasting Ramadan party pass through our 'entrance hall' it is unavoidable that they see our door and think 'Oh, once we're here we can as well...'
At least we can be sure that there is no risk of any visit at this time of the day - they won't show up until after sunset. I hope nobody thinks we are unsocial, or that we wouldn't like our relatives. It is just all a bit.. err.. enervating. My husband always says Ramadan is the month of contemplation - I'm afraid we cannot hope for any until Ramadan is over..


Blogger Farooha said...

LOL.. you guys are too sophisticated for the real Ramadhan experience where we live one of the unhealthiest lifestyles ever.. junkfood, lack of sleep, lack of concentration at school (because we were up all night partying) and so on and so forth... you guys better be thankful that you're not into the whole scene.. I AM.. and I pay the price EVERYDAY at college.. I JUST CANT KEEP MYSELF UP...
As far as the weird entrance is concerned, hehe.. from what you described, it sounds like the house my uncle lives in. My uncle in Gaseem is married to two wives (long story) and their house is like that too.. it's sooo much fun cos it's a 24/7 party house.

say hey to the loving famalia!! Mmwaaaah..

5:22 PM  
Blogger Rani said...

Aaaaw, Farooha - what about those rings under my eyes from too little sleep? Don't they count for a real Ramadan experience??
My husband already told me I should not worry because he had always thought that owls would be the most beautiful of birds. He fled before I could throw something at him..

9:07 AM  
Blogger Farooha said...

LOOOOOOOOOOL you guys are so cute wallah :XX

1:27 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

That's a sweet story about the inseparable cowives!

11:05 PM  
Blogger Rani said...

Oh yes, Nancy, they are sweet! Maybe except that they always think I'm too thin and that at times they mistake me for a barbie doll (in as much that they insist on getting me new clothes because they think my bad husband does not take enough care of this..).
But I just love them and I guess I'm closer to them like I ever was to my own mother to whom I had a very distanced relationship. And maybe those 'slightly enervating' sides just are part of that 'mother-thing' that I never knew before.
(No, it's not like I would have nothing to wear!!)

11:21 AM  
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