When we first arrived in KSA, weekends were my least favourite days of the week. Our family had to choose between these three not-necessarily-appealing options: long bus ride into the compound followed by a long walk in the heat, bus ride to a shopping mall where we spend more time locating shops and restaurants than we spend actually visiting shops, or staying in our small apartment where it is likely that the tv and radio will be on in the same room simultaneously and the three people that I live with will be getting on each other's nerves by doing largely age-appropriate things. This still happens sometimes, but it's getting better.
We have a bit of a routine now. This past Friday, as usual, we went to one of the large grocery stores. We've been to Danube twice and I am still a bit confused by the layout (it's a large retail space and suffers from sprawl, alas). I am happy to stop off at the small grocery store on the compound during the week to pick up small items to bring back on the bus, but it's nicer to go on Fridays in a car to bring home large and bulky items like cases of drinking water. Sidenote: Danube has an incredible number of varieties of Cheerios, but none of them happen to be the plain old ones in the yellow box. Weird.
For the second time ever, we went out to dinner. And by "out to dinner", I mean eating someplace that is neither our apartment (obviously) or one of the dining options on the Dharma compound. We went to the Steak House in Al Khobar, and had a lovely time sitting in a real restaurant eating nachos (that looked nothing like the picture in the menu), burgers, and sandwiches.
Both the grocery store and the restaurant are public spaces, so I wore my abaya while we were out, and it occurred me that it was kind of awesome because I spent the entire weekend wearing yoga pants and a tee instead of having to change when we went out.
We've headed out to the malls for the past two Saturdays. This past Saturday was good because Chris found what he was looking for, I found what I was looking for (stationary supplies!), we took the kids to the amusement park that is the top level of Rashid Mall, and we managed to order our lunch shawarmas before the food court restaurants closed for mid-day prayers. Same thing last week, except that our shopping mission was to check out the newly-opened Old Navy at the Mall of Dhahran to score some warmer-weather clothes for M.
It always feels good to feel like you've finally figured something out.