“Yes, that’s it, but it’s
everything that matters”
That was about all the
conversation I had with my -back then seven-year-old daughter- to clarify to
myself more than to her about the reason we had to leave our homeland, house,
parents, friends, jobs and whole lives behind us and move to a city I couldn’t
feel any connection with.
was supposed to be mentally and emotionally prepared for the move because it
didn’t come as a surprise. My husband has already been going back and forth for
years, but the gap was only getting bigger, my role was getting bigger and
tougher while his was becoming shallower. He was no longer there for birthdays,
doctor appointments, first steps and first words. He was missing the milestones
of our three children and I was starting to get used to his absence. He was no
longer a part of our life. Something was wrong and we had to something about
So that was it, the decision was made and we had to be back together before my kids, myself, or even he got used to it. He tried to get me prepared in several direct and indirect ways to the life in Riyadh and I just thought to myself, well, how hard can it be? We speak the same language, same religion, very close culture, same manners and pretty much same history, I thought I got it all figured out despite all his warnings, but THIS I didn’t see coming!!!
It was August 2014, I have
already quit my job that I loved so much, said goodbye to my kids’ nanny who
left for good, sold my car, and packed what I thought would need for a basic
life, because -after all- we’re not supposed to stay for long-or so I thought!
the goodbyes was so hard- especially to my mom and dad, it was the first time to
leave my family for a long time. My kids were so young and had no idea what’s
going on, just excited for riding a plane with their new “Hello Kitty” and
“Dora” suitcases, with all the nice stuff I got them to keep them busy during
My husband on the other hand was carefully watching; alert toward my reactions, following with anticipation my every move. He had worries, and they were in the right place.
Be it stress, anxiety or my subconscious; I got severely sick and had a terrible headache for the whole flight! The two-hour flight turned into a nightmare. I’m used to travelling around to short and long destinations, yet never had I got sick or had a headache, but this time the pain was intolerable. Only to make things worse, my little son fell asleep on my lap so I couldn’t move, and my body got numb. Ironically enough the plane staff had no pain killers, and I just couldn’t open my eyes anymore. Law of attraction? I had no clue.
When we finally arrived at the airport,
I was still in so much pain and could barely focus on what’s going on around
me, everything was so blurry. Trying to pull myself together so we can finish
the procedures and get to a place where I can finally rest, I had so much
strange feelings and observations!
The only thing I remember my
husband saying when the officer wanted to take my picture for the visa was: “smile, because this picture will stick to
you”-oh God, nauseous with a smile, it turned out so bad, and yes it did
Reaching the hotel was
everything I wanted at that moment, so we collected our luggage, lots of
luggage, ordered a taxi, and I finally took my first step in Riyadh, the first
step into a lifetime.
We’ve all heard that mindfulness is a mental-health holy grail: the answer to lack of focus, a blah mood, and even stress (leading to better sleep and a boosted immune system). But who has all that extra time to sit around being mindful with a schedule full of appointments and social obligations?
Just as not all CrossFit or yoga classes are the same, not all meditation practices are equal. In fact, there are many types of meditation that offer different benefits. Mindfulness meditation techniques are used to train the mind and emotion to work on your behalf.
Sometimes there comes a time when nothing changes, but everything changes. The significant change that happens inside you. You identify with the stressors in life all the more skilfully.
How does this
change happen? Unplugging connects you to your surroundings.Follow the steps below indeed, you encounter some
really incredible bits of knowledge that lead to some truly astounding
receptive to your emotions: the best time to pay attention to them is NOW
a tool to grow full cognizance in the present.
Nobody is going
to focus on our feelings. Even we cannot relocate our feelings and emotions
into other parts of brain. We must oversee and take care of these feelings,
take control of that internal world and not put it off.
2. You don’t sweat the small stuff
Truth be told, the majority of the things we squander our vitality responding to are little things. Be that as it may, at the time, everything appears to be a huge mess. Scan your mind for stress, identify the cause so it doesn’t spiral, and note how it’s affecting you. You’ll regain control of your feelings and learn how you handle times of unease.
Appreciate things more
Meditation is all about the tenderfoot’s psyche. You’ve played a game a million times, yet not on this day as of now with this kid who is somewhat not the same as he was yesterday.
When we focus,
we see excellence where we didn’t see it previously. We see development and
change and change where before we may have just observed stagnation and
everything seems to be different.
Develop greater compassion
The more mindful we are of the present minute, the more in order we are with the encounters of others, their satisfaction and their torment. This produces empathy we pretend to help other people not on the grounds that we realize we ought to or on the grounds that it’s what we’ve been advised to do. We help other people since we know that their torment is our agony Doing a good deed boosts your mood (and the recipient’s), infusing upbeat energy into your day.
5. Mindfulness teaches to stop judgmental attitude
Figure out how
to carry on with your existence without judging. Individuals have the privilege
to experience their lives as they like. Your life is your own, be in charge of
it and don’t pass judgemental comments about lives that you’re not living.
6. Put aside “I NEED TO BE” in order to practice “I
We experience the vast majority of our lives being what others need us to be. Let’s change your perspective of living from, “I need to be” for “I am”. Meditation reminds us of our identity and interfacesce with our actual selves in the present.
As science meets spirituality, the road to happiness for the 21st century becomes clearer: be quick to laugh and slow to anger, meditate, exercise, get enough sleep, be compassionate, help others, nurture your social connections, be at peace, comfortable in your own skin, and thankful for all that is happening to you. Wait for science to tell us more on how to live the life we want to live.
Talat Jalali, is a Post Graduate, English and Social Work with majors in working with youth and adults. She is an enthusiast writing about general wellbeing, women empowerment, and provides counselling related to family & women.
We live in a multicultural world, whether we like it or not. Travelling and communicating has never been easier, thanks to modern transport and technology. In the morning you can have breakfast in your hometown, but you may end the day on another continent.
The more you are globetrotting, the more you‘ll feel the need of уour roots and identity. Though not everyone is admitting it, the sense of belonging is very important for all of us.
Life may tear you apart from your family, relatives and friends, but it‘s up to you to turn that situation into a privilege. If you are an expat or on a temporary assignment somewhere, you have to use all opportunities for socialization. If you are open-minded enough, with the time you‘ll feel connected and comfortable within your new “habitat“. This is the best favour you can gift yourself, to overcome the nostalgia and the homesickness. Another possibiltity is to look for your fellows and to create a community outside of your community.
When I first came to Riyadh, I assumed there has to be just a few Bulgarians in Saudi Arabia. A relatively small nation, we are widespread all over the world, so I told myself, I should patiently wait for my compatriots to show up. But instead of just waiting, I have decided to act, with the creation of a facebook group, aiming to gather the Bulgarians in the Kingdom, to network us. We are still a handful, but a consolidated group. We have regular coffee meetings, and we are supporting each other when needed. The outcome of the FB group is beyond positive, the members are getting more active and interested in the events in our community or organized by the embassy. As a wife of the consul at the very first embassy of Bulgaria in KSA, I was excited by my idea to establish our diaspora, with the strong belief that human capital is the most valuable asset. The networking online is just the beginning, because nothing can replace the face-to-face contact. What is best is that you are sharing a common culture and languagе, which can help one a lot in a foreign environment. Knowing you are not the only one, usually brings consolation. Knowing that you are part of a community, makes you more conscious and a responsible member.
I was little, a childhood memory that really sticks with me, to this day is the
‘head massage ritual’, usually before a shower was due. By this I mean, “grab
your comb, get a hair clip and come and take a seat”. I would sit in between my
Mother’s legs, she would take the tangles out of my curly hair and then proceed
to give the most intense head massage!
came the rhythmic massage on my scalp, then it was the turn of coconut oil,
tenderly applied to my head. By this time, I would be falling asleep but then
came the best bit! The plaiting and clipping of my hair, up into a twist.
Little could I know or
predict, the health benefits of this century’s old tradition.
The science behind this is
simple. Massaging the head with the hands or applying a lotion, paste or oil
will firstly increase oxygen to the scalp. Secondly it will provide nourishment,
if a paste is used. When the hair follicle is nourished, this will in turn
stimulate hair growth.
The Indian Head massage that
my Mum was doing, detoxified the body by stimulation of lymphatic drainage.
Blood flow is improved to the head and neck area; therefore, waste products are
eliminated. It is efficient, highly relaxing and a tradition, I take forward
now with my own children. They know what’s coming, when I ominously wave my
special bottle of homemade oil!
By increasing scalp
circulation, we can improve blood circulation to the head, neck and face area.
At the roots, healthy hair growth is promoted. Oil such as coconut, is also
repellent to dandruff and unwanted visitors like head lice.
Head massage can be an
effective method to remove head aches, alongside adequate hydration of the body.
It relieves stress, neck tension and anxiety. No wonder Mum’s know best…
That covers healthy hair on
the outside, what about the inside? A qualified dermatologist would check for
mineral deficiency, as a cause of hair loss. A blood test would check for
levels of protein, iron and vitamin D, alongside other indicators of
By nourishing our hair from
the inside out, we can control hair behaviour to a certain extent. Of course,
there are factors which influence hair health, namely genetics, age, hormones
and nutritional deficiencies. I would like to focus on the last aspect, being
food for hair health.
There are foods that benefit
us by consuming them and also applying externally as a hair mask. Almonds are
an excellent source of protein, vitamin E and healthy polyunsaturated fat. Almonds
ground into a butter can be applied to the hair, for thicker and lustrous
strong locks. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, that can actually absorb
damaging UV light and protect skin cells. It also repairs sun damage on the
scalp, which can cause hair to thin.
Low fat Greek yoghurt is
fantastic to eat, being full of Probiotics but it can also be included in a
mask to help with blood flow to the scalp. It is rich in Vitamin B5
Biotin is part of the B
Vitamin group. It helps in hair growth and strengthening nails. It is found in
eggs, almonds, pistachios, cashew nuts, avocadoes and oily fish like salmon or
mackerel. Consumed alongside Elastin, which is found in walnuts, hair
suppleness is increased, and breakage is reduced.
Some nutrients work alongside
each other to absorb efficiently into the body. Iron and Vitamin C, Folic Acid
and Vitamin B12. Iron is plentiful in lean red meat and spinach. Spinach is
known to contain sebum, acting like a natural conditioner. Dark green leafy
vegetables contain omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, potassium and calcium. All
important to strengthen hair and keep it shiny. Oats are also a good source of
iron, fibre, healthy omega 3 fatty acids and zinc. They can be ground into
bananas, for a nourishing mask.
Vitamin C is prevalent in
citrus but also surprisingly in guava fruit. It prevents split ends, hair
breakage and brittleness in hair.
Lentils are packed with folic
acid, protein, fibre, zinc and biotin. Folic acid is required by the body to
restore red blood cells, to supply the skin and scalp with oxygen.
Tangerines are packed with Vitamin
B12 and Vitamin C. Both vitamins work to promote hair growth, reducing hair
loss and slowing down the signs of ageing in hair.
Omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory.
Sometimes hair loss can be from inflammation in the body, due to allergy or
intolerance. Salmon, sardines and mackerel are good sources. Interestingly,
female hair loss has been associated with insulin resistance, in new research.
Salmon has been shown to help the body process insulin, more efficiently.
Cinnamon improves circulation
to the scalp, by bringing oxygen and nutrients to hair follicles.
Lastly Beta-Carotene is
beneficial for protecting against dryness and dull hair. It is present in foods
that are orange and red in colour; carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe melon, mangoes
and sweet potato. It also stimulates glands in the scalp, to produce sebum (
nature’s natural hair conditioner).
hope you have had some ‘food for thought’. Time to raid the pantry, larder or
fridge for the good stuff…
My family values natural ingredients and, as such, I travel around town to re-stock some of our healthier food choices. Over the past year, I have eagerly eyed the Organic Store as its storefront took shape in Aqeeq. Its modern design and large size signalled it might be a good spot for a cosmopolitan family to do a major grocery haul. The good news is that the doors officially opened this past week. The better news is what lies within promises to deliver organic variety at prices that are kind to a family budget. As the executive manager, Mohannad, shared, they operate with the goal of making organic foods available to everyone. A 375g box of cornflakes runs SAR12.
Organic Store is owned by Alhagbani Group. This is their first venture into organic
foods and they are determined to get it right.
Their product mix is deliberate. Extensive varieties of pasta, flours
(including gluten-free), coffee, nuts, sauces, spices, canned goods and spreads
are currently available. A wide range of
olive oils incorporates many origins and price points. Eva’s Walk, an award-winning
Greek EVOO, is one that they showcase.
This is the first organic store in Riyadh that
feels like a full-fledged grocery store.
Stand out features include a bakery (currently producing breads and
manaeesh; pizza is coming soon), an ice cream station (with Danish ice cream
and Italian toppings), as well as an extensive produce section (sourced from
five organic-certified Saudi suppliers).
A salad bar will serve fresh cheese and olives.
New items arrive daily, so if you are looking for
a specific item, you may want to wait for shelves to fill. Or, better yet, call to ask their
English-speaking employees. This week I
spotted only two kid-specific items: juice boxes and shaped pasta. Yet, an extensive line of products is
expected, including organic baby formula.
By the end of the year, 1,700 products will be offered and departments
including home cleaning and personal hygiene will be added.
Organic Store is located in Aqeeq. The Location is between King Fahad Road and the first circle on Prince Saud bin Muhammad Road. Opening hours are currently from 4 to 10pm. An app is in the works that will provide delivery services. In the meantime, check their Instagram (@organicstoresa) for updates or call the store directly at 0114012282.
Like many foreign nationals living abroad, I am dependent on social media to keep in touch with friends and family. It is really something of a lifeline when you’re living so far from home. I also have friends and family who are on one platform but not another so I spend a lot of time flicking between Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – and then there is also my blog, Facetime, Whatsapp and now on my Saudi phone, my new Saudi Whatsapp groups.
I am never far from my phone/tablet/laptop and my phone is the first thing I reach for in the morning to check updates, likes, comments, messages and I think that is the norm for most people.
My favourite platform is Instagram. It’s often referred to as the most positive social media platform, because generally photos are of uplifting and positive images and of course that’s what social media should be, enriching and connecting.
However, it’s not all positive. As we all know there is a downside to social
media whichever platforms you are on. I follow some inspirational women on
Instagram (interior design, fashion, beauty, lifestyle etc) and they have all spoken
about how trolling and comparing their content to others has had a detrimental
impact on their wellbeing. First there is FOMO (fear of missing out) and then
the fear that your content is not as good as your peers. Even for those who do
not making a living as an influencer, all those beautiful photos and insta
shots of people at glamourous parties and launches can make it easy to conclude
that everyone else’s life is cooler or better than yours.
Most of my accounts are set to private
which limits the trolling aspect but I have had some experience in the past. I
received negative comments to an online article I wrote and a facebook post on
a news site, related to a previous workplace became the subject of some vicious
trolling by so-called key board warriors. It was astonishing, how nasty and
personal it became so quickly. We had to take the post down and remove the
comments. Both of these instances were over quickly and were not personal to
me, but they were a glimpse into what it is like if you do become the victim of
online bullying. It can be really upsetting, have a negative impact on your
self esteem and can make you paranoid wondering was it the person sitting next
to you in the café who posted the comment…?
However, there is always a balance, and as
I started by saying social media is something of a lifeline for keeping
connections while you are living away from your family and friends. It has the
ability to be inspirational, uplifting and thought provoking. It is also pretty
much impossible to ignore. The key is awareness and making informed choices.
Last month, I had the pleasure of visiting San
Carlo Cicchetti in Sulamaniyah for a food tasting with one of my foodie
friends, John. We had a wonderful dining experience and enjoyed our
conversations with the knowledgeable restaurant general manager Mr. Cosimo
Butuc as well as head chef Mr. Enrico Schiavon and sous chef Mr. Giacomo
San Carlo Cicchetti has restaurants across the UK and Middle East, all with the Venetian concept of a sharing menu and small platters (Cicchetti). It is a vibrant, authentic Italian dining experience complimented by Italian staff and original ingredients. All the recipes are original San Carlo Cicchetti dishes made as the Italian grandmas did.
We ate and drank our way through a delicious gustatory menu over a couple of hours. I had a tasty martini to start off with as the food started arriving. The fresh burrata cheese was complimented by the roasted tomatoes and is one of their signature dishes. They serve Fritti (traditional Italian fried street food) and we tried a yummy buffalo mozzarella fried in light white bread with a spicy tomato dip. As we took a break to talk to the chefs, they served a delicious mushroom soup with a delicious earthy taste. The chefs talked passionately about how the freshest ingredients imported from Italy or made with love in their kitchen are used in the dishes they serve. They make their own pasta, burrata and gelato. They take pride in using a variety of pastas to introduce their guests to new flavours and have chosen to not feature spaghetti on their menu.
Next was the Melanzane Parmigiana made with aubergine, tomato sauce and parmesan
cheese which absolutely melted in the mouth, another signature dish. The
delicious truffle and pecorino ravioli was delicately flavoured and possibly my
favourite dish of the evening. And then we were served a thin crust sliced
pizza with mushroom, truffle, rocket, parmesan and mozzarella, it was
definitely something to order again the next time I dine here.
My friend John was tasting the non-vegetarian
dishes for the food review and loved the veal in tuna sauce. The
mains were a carne-carnival, in his words. The sea bass was a good example of
the devotion to making something simple spectacular by the care and love with
which it was prepared. It was a showcase to see how thickly it had been crusted
with the volcanic salt and to watch the waiter carefully remove it to reveal
the fish underneath. And that is where the effort pays off – the fish was
beautifully cooked by itself but the infusion of the crust into the flesh was
delicate and subtle but hugely impactful. The beef rib, too was spectacular. On
the outside it had that delicious crusty caramelised taste, presumably from
searing, but the meat itself was uber-tender and just slid off the bone. It
just fell apart on the tongue. And my, that sauce was amazing.
It was now time for desserts and the
manager had recommended the salted caramel cheesecake which was outstanding.
John had the tiramisu as he is tasting his way through all the tiramisus in
Riyadh. We had some delicious gelatos to finish, including a unique wild-cherry
gelato which will soon feature in the menu.
San Carlo Cicchetti will soon
introduce terrace dining and regularly introduces new specials. They have about
110 covers and I loved the simplistic décor of the table setting with a lemon
on each table. Go to San Carlo Cicchetti to enjoy a vibrant atmosphere and
great food with friends and family. Celebrate a bit of Italy here and embrace
the organised chaos, the waiters singing happy birthday in Italian, the music,
staff calling across to each other and dishes arriving continuously as they are
ready in the kitchen, true to the chicchetti concept. As the chef said, we are doing things our way
rather than comparing ourselves with other restaurants. I really enjoyed my
dining experience and will definitely be going back for some Italian flavour
How to find
San Carlo Cicchetti Riyadh
Prince Abdulaziz Ibn Musaid Ibn Jalawi St, As Sulimaniyah, 12241 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
harder than it seems I think, or is that just me?
Lizzie whizz, the busy bee is one of my nicknames! I apparently arrived on this earth – bouncing, waving my hands and clapping. Which was followed by being part of a large wonderful family – always being active and looking after all – under grace and in the perfect way, obviously!
Are you able to relax?
got married to the lovely Peter in 2006, he talked about how he likes to sit
down, put his feet up and chill (wonderful), a concept a little new to me after
bringing up two busy girls with all the activities that that brings, plus
running my own business. Relax and let go … hmm. How could I train myself to
joyously and happily do the same, when seriously not part of my DNA.
I knew I
should, I talked and suggested to others about doing it, but interestingly I
didn’t practice what I preached – until now…
living in Saudi Arabia over the last few years has naturally started me on this
new path (though Peter might say differently). Partly due to the peace of the
country and all you are able to do.
this journey has been without our children this time, so there has been more
time to step back, put myself first and learn to chill! I think my age helps
too – lol!
just returned from a wonderful holiday in Antigua with my gorgeous friend
(JoJo) I believe I have achieved it – yup, in fact I know I have 😀
It was a
great place to learn to be in my head and comfortable with it – which came to
light by doing nothing, literally nothing – and being okay with it.”
“Realise that life goes on when we step away and that is as
it’s meant to be.”
“Let go of everything and trust – is truly a wonderful
“Remember to enjoy the “here and now” without looking
backward/forward (otherwise we negate the present).”
“Is it our place this life time to assume we make such an
impact to all and that our absence will affect the status quo? No, probably not
– that’s the ego talking.”
Life goes on whether we are part of it or
not. I think we just need to believe that what we have put in place before we
step away, will be okay and if not – hey ho, not our business!
recently realized that we can’t always change the world, it’s not our place to
do so! Just being happy, joyous and kind in all we do – from the heart – will
have impact and leave a ripple. When we sit in peace and love wherever we are,
at any given moment, that’s where the joy and acceptance comes of doing
those who are still looking… here are some tips on how I found ‘joy’ in doing
nothing (in the real world, outside of Antigua):
“Give yourself at least half and hour each day (or more)
dedicated to you – not easy I know, but try it!”
“Light some candles and those lucky enough to have a
bathtub – have a bath surround by light!”
“Open that magazine that’s been sitting on your coffee
table and cut out those interior design inspirations (You know who you are 😉).”
“Binge watch some Netflix goodies….”
“Leave the kids with a friend/hubby, for at least one hour
and go do something that makes you smile.”
“Put on that apron and cook cook away.”
“Have a glass of wine, whilst sitting on the comfy sofa,
lights low and chilled music in the background.”
“Girlie chats with friends.”
“Retail therapy (always a joy)”
“Mediate, meditate, meditate!”
above all, believe you are worth it! We are all worth the world and so much
much love and joy – from a rather relaxed Lizzie – until next time!
born, Riyadh bred—I’m a third culture kid who considers the capital as my
hometown. I consider myself an urbanaut, cities keep me curious, food,
creativity, spaces, people; it gets my wheels turning. I’ve been in Saudi
Arabia for almost 30 years, I’ve seen it evolve, and some days it surprises me
What made you start Destination
Riyadh & all the other editions?
Magazine was the brainchild of Rumman Company, and our publisher Ms. Enas
Hashani and Editor-in-Chief, Maria Mahdaly. I joined Destination Riyadh when it
first launched in the city 6 years ago and ran the operations/editorial team
here as the regional editorial manager. I joined the magazine because of its
vision; it wanted to show the sunny side up of the country. I particularly was
keen to give a voice to Riyadhis and honestly, I wanted to be able to whip out
a copy whenever I hear the words: “Riyadh is so boring” in a conversation.
used to be three magazines, Destination Jeddah, Destination Riyadh, and
Destination Sharqiya; serving as lifestyle magazines and city guides. In
September of last year, we combined into one national title: Destination
KSA, aligned with the vision 2030 and wanting to serve
the entire Kingdom. When we relaunched, they offered me the role of Managing
How long have you been in
business in Riyadh?
returned to work in Riyadh back in 2009, but didn’t get back to copywriting
until 2012. I joined Destination in 2013, after being a freelance writer for
Have you had formal training
in Journalism & Publishing or are you self-taught?
I’m a bit of everything, I’ve taken Journalism as early as high school, I was the editor of our school paper. When I entered the University of the Philippines, I opted to take up Philosophy as a pre-law plus, it was still a chance to read and write a lot. I took up a hodgepodge of electives in communications, semiotics, and social studies, which became a good foundation for when I decided to become a non-fiction writer / get into publishing. I also received a lot of mentorship over the years. Even now, as a managing editor, there are areas of it, I’m learning from others. I’m thankful and absorb random advices from others, mentors who’ve been in the industry longer than me, and well, even the tough love I get that make me better at what I do.
also believe in self-development, with our access to information these days,
there’s no excuse for not trying to get better at your chosen craft. I read and
research a lot about the areas I work in and my projects, and make time to take
courses even if they’re self-paced.
don’t consider myself a journalist though, I look up to journalists that report
on hard news and do in-depth reportage. I would want to do so one day but right
now, I’m a curious content producer, sometimes writer, sometimes editor who
enjoys orchestrating creative endeavors. I also enjoy spinning stories and
letting people see things in a new light, and that’s the PR/Communications
person in me, I think.
us about your passion projects?
Right now my passion project is Saudi Design Week (SDW), where I’m currently part of the organizing team. I’m handling the Press, Communications, and Outreach arm but I honestly enjoy dabbling here and there; whether it’s logistics or doing research on our next edition. SDW is a collaborative endeavor, which is something I love, you see different people, different communities gather every year to build something awesome from the ground up.
How did you get involved with
Saudi Design Week?
always been drawn to creative projects, and have always thought Basma and Noura
Bouzo, the founders behind it were doing something great and can have lasting
impact in the Saudi creative scene. I’ve kept tabs on their works and projects.
How I got involved was through a good friend, Wided Khadraoui, who worked with
SDW and introduced me to the team back in 2016.
started by heading the volunteers mobilization team, which was an amazing
experience—working with different youths and just being in the middle of the
action. I was hooked from there on out.
bit of promotion here, if you don’t mind; our 2019 edition of Saudi Design Week
is happening this year. If people want to get involved too, as exhibitors,
volunteers, etc, send me an email.
What is a typical day like
don’t have a typical day, *laugh*, there’s a loose structure there but it
really depends on what step of the publishing cycle I’m in. We’re either
preparing for an issue, developing it, or on our deadlines, rushing to send it
to print. In the past months, with my new role, I was between Riyadh and Jeddah
often so having a flexible routine worked better for me.
are fixed moments, It always starts with coffee and catching up with catching
up with my team: writers, teammates, contributors, (Destination has offices in
Jeddah, Riyadh, and desk in Sharqiya—yes, we’ve embraced the remote working
setup to an extent and it works for us). Running the operations, which also
means doing the research, you need to consume content to make it.
usually have an interview, meeting or an event a couple of times a week— if I
don’t I’d probably be catching up on work and projects for a couple of hours at
night (with Netflix playing on the background). I do make time for other
things, I play squash, read, go on walks, travel when I can.
What do you enjoy the most
about your work?
rush, the hustle, and seeing it make even an inch of a difference in the end.
What is the hardest part about your work?
I thought it was chasing time, and sometimes it is. But one of the harder
things I learned lately, is having uncomfortable conversations— as a result
of decisions you have to make; and being in a way, okay with that discomfort
because you see the bigger picture.
What advice would you give
women considering starting their own business in the Kingdom?
I don’t have my own business but I think I tend to have what others call
an entrepreneurial spirit— which I prefer calling “having hustle”.
My advice is to seek out others, and have conversations, you need to
bring your idea out into the world to know if it works. Be okay with the word,
NO— follow it up by asking Why?
If you still think it’s worth a shot, take it. Businesses like projects
need to be agile these days— fail fast, fail often, fail better. It beats not
trying at all.
How can people
find opportunities in Riyadh?
In groups, social media, and events. I believe in the power of networking
and fostering connections. When opportunities don’t come to you, make them:
Host your own gig fest or do a work hangout in a café, it’ll also attract
Where can creative women go
to network in Riyadh?
Work remotely in random hotspots around town. Visit places of interest to your field. If you’re an artist, do walk-ins in a gallery. Inquire about exhibitions, talks, or even community events happening around you. Explore your other interests, including having a hobby and find like-minded people— Recently, we joined a little dog club for our two dogs; and in the last session I ended up getting a few story leads from people within the group.
come from everywhere, you just need to be open enough to spot them and follow
“ Mama you don’t spend time with me anymore ! “ The one
sentence I had dreaded so much ever since I became a mother, had become a
regular occurrence over the past few weeks.
It had all started after the birth of my third child. My oldest daughter had been an only child for 6 years and therefore had been the centre of our “undivided attention “. My husband and I fussed over everything related to her; everything from her homework to her school projects, from her after school activities to reading bed time stories, from watching her favourite cartoons with her to taking her to the play areas and parks on the weekends…everything was about her.
She really wanted to have a sibling so when her sister was born, she was overjoyed…atleast for the time being 🙂. But she soon realised she would have to share her parent’s attention with her sister and she was kind of ok with it. Raising two kids was a little harder than raising one but it was not something we couldn’t handle. My husband and I still managed to spend some “ one on one time “ with both our girls. However things got harder with the addition of baby number 3.
Now we had a 10 year old, a 4 year old and a new born on our hands. Of course now we had a more diverse list of “ things to do “, throughout the week. Moreover, there were more fights over which cartoon channel to watch, which play area to go to, where to hangout on the weekends. Yes, things were crazy at times but we were still able to manage most of the stuff. The only problem was, there was no more of that precious “ one on one time” with each one of the kids. The younger two didn’t seem to mind but it was my oldest who still remembered what it was like when she had that, before her siblings decided to grace us with their presence.
Any mom can well imagine how hard it is to find that “ one hour a day “ for each one of your children, specially when your toddler is always on the move , your kindergartener always wants to be included in everything ( even your trip to the bathroom ) and your 10 year old is simply too old for all the kiddy stuff her little siblings find so interesting to do.
So after much deliberation and a lot of careful planning; we were able to come to a solution. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night; when my younger two kids have gone to bed, my “ firstborn “ and I paint together (not very well I might add 😊), we also try our hand at different arts and crafts or if we are too lazy for that, we simply sit together and watch animated movies. This is the time when we have most of our “ heart to heart “ discussions. We talk about everything; from her day at school to discussing the books she is reading, from why there is never any snowfall in Riyadh 🙂, to if she can have a puppy or a pony for her next birthday ( the answer to which is always “ we shall see “ 😊).
So if you meet me on a Sunday, you will see dark circles under my eyes and a mug of very strong tea in my hand but this lack of sleep is only a small price to pay for not having to hear those dreaded words “ you don’t spend time with me anymore “ .