It’s that time of the year again! Party Time! I started my oldest daughter in school here when she was three years old. The rowdah (preschool) would have a big bash at the end of the year and the parents would have to go out and buy these ‘Cinderella’ dresses for the girls. Each class would have a specific color and fabric. In first grade, the school sent a tailor to the school and he made the dresses. This year she is at an overcrowded public school and they aren’t doing anything. However, her tafeedth (Quran Memorization) school is having a haflah (party) Monday, insha’Allah. So today we went out and bought the dresses. Saudi doesn’t have dressing rooms, so you can’t try them on until you get home. I had a feeling they would be a little tight, because the ready made clothes here are designed for little Barbie doll kids and my kids have full American blood in them and are on the chunky healthy side, masha’Allah.

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My four year old was able to squeeze into her dress, but if she breathes then it’s over! I usually, unzip the dress in the back and have them step into it, pull it up, and zip them up. Well I couldn’t zip it. So I pulled it over her head and she wiggled it though. I can only imagine what it was like to wear a corset back in the day.

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My poor seven year old, didn’t have a chance. When she was a baby I called her my Chunky Monkey, she still is. She cried so bad. Get over it kid, life’s a fitnah! We tried both ways to get her in the dress to no avail. It was the perfect length too and it looked really nice on her-masha’Allah, but we couldn’t zip it up in the back. I really like these dresses because they were dirt cheap. I usually spend more on the dress but this party is not as formal as the other ones. I’ll have to return the dresses in the morning, which I will dread due to the heat, but my tafeedth haflah is tomorrow night (ladies only…no kids!!! My first time out with no kids insha’Allah!).

I have realised that my calling in life should have been to be a diplomat. This country is weird in that it is extremely nationalistic in every way you can imagine. This means that people usually only hang out with their own and don’t really get to know each other. As an American Muslim, we don’t really have our own, so we tend to mix with any and everybody. My children play with the locals as well as children from various nationalities and this is usually a first time experience for the other kids when they all meet up at my house. The other night three sets of parents were at my house. A Saudi, a Sudani, and a Kashmiri. This was their first time meeting each other and the Saudi had a blast. Masha’Allah, I am privileged in that most people have never met an American Muslim so they invite me to their homes or call and ask if they can visit me. I told the women that as soon as my backyard is complete, I would like to have a monthly international social at my home. They were all very excited about it.

Which leads me to the tafeedth party. My daughter was the only non Arab at the tafeedth school, and we told her Hindi friend and kashmiri friend about the school and asked them to register. They both registered and were placed in the same class with my daughter. When I came to pick them up from school the teacher told me, kind of with an attitude not to bring back the other girls. I asked why not and she said that it was already the 2nd term and they were behind. I told her that they were not behind because I send them with my daughter to a private tutor after school and that they are all more advanced than her class. I informed her that the kashmiri girl was in Juz Tabarak. She looked as if she did not believe me and rudely asked the girl, to recite something. The girl was quiet and asked her from where and she named some random ayah. The girl started reciting and the teacher stopped her and seemed disappointed. She then said that her class was too crowded and that she still couldn’t come. I informed her mother who came to the school and she was accepted. This same teacher, now seems truly repented and has put together a special for the party. She has asked my daughter to say an Islamic Nasheed in English and has the other girls doing one in Urdu. She went on to tell me and the other two girls mothers, how in Islam we are all brothers and sisters and it did not matter where we were from and that she wants the other students to see this. That is one of the things I love about Saudi Arabia. If a person is wrong here and you remind them of what is Islamically correct they are ashamed and will go out of their way to make amends. Masha’Allah!

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