Getting around in this country is rather difficult, especially for women. I mean it’s hard for men because most of them are scared to drive, but women aren’t even afforded the choice of driving or not. It’s straight up illegal for a woman to operate a car here. Yeah, it’s a stupid rule, and demeaning to women, but I knew it was illegal before I moved here so I can’t really complain about it can I?
The good thing is my company exclusively hires westerners, so it understands the dilemma we face here, and provides transportation for us. We have free transportation to and from work, plus a set schedule that goes to different shopping centers depending on the day of the week. The bus leaves the compound at 4PM and leaves the shopping center at 6PM.
On Tuesdays the bus goes to Carrefour, so I try to make it my grocery day. I kind of hate going anywhere here so I try to keep my outings to a minimum. It’s incredibly stressful to do anything here so I usually try to stay on the compound. As most people know things close 5 times a day here, so every time I do go out I feel rushed because you never really know when things close. Sometimes they close 5 minutes before prayer time, sometimes its a half-hour.
This Tuesday was actually pretty successful, though. Being a bigger store Carrefour usually closes a good bit before prayer time so I tried to rush through my shopping. I had a long grocery list too because I plan on cooking a lot of amazing food for my husband this weekend. He really does so much for me and there’s really no way I could ever thank him enough for all he does for me. I am super limited here too as there are so many restrictions for women, so I can’t even do that many nice things for him. But I can cook. And what man doesn’t love a home-cooked meal?
But this weekend I had planned for the holy grail of wife-made food- no bake chocolate cheesecake. I saw a video for it in my facebook newsfeed a few hours before and I *KNEW* I had to make it for M. So, I battled through the crowded aisles to gather the ingredients, feeling accomplished when I waded through the crowded dairy product aisle to get the cream cheese, butter, and whipping cream.
My husband is coming tomorrow so I decided to make the cake today. I made the crust first, because I am always excited to do anything with my food processor. I got my ingredients together and prepared to mix them all together when, much to my horror, I read the cream cheese label.
“MADE WITH REAL GARLIC AND HERBS”
In my frantic dash at the supermarket, I managed to buy the wrong kind of cream cheese. I was unable to make his cheesecake.
So I have a few options, I can ask him to buy the cheese… but I hate the thought of it. It’d totally ruin the surprise, and it’s just something else he’d have to do for me. I’m so tired of having to ask him for everything so I really don’t want to go that route.
Or I could take the bus. The problem with that is I’d have to waste 2 hours of my life to get cream cheese. See this is why I miss USA- if I ever forgot something at the grocery store, all I’d have to do is hop in my sweet little honda, drive 3 minutes down to Kroger, run in real fast and go through the self checkout, then drive 3 minutes home. But here it will never go that smoothly.
My final option is I could take a taxi. I would pay him 30 riyals to take me to the store. Then I would pay him to wait while I gathered my ingredients at the store. Then I would pay him 30 more riyals to take me back home. That’s rather expensive just to get cream cheese, don’t you think?
I’ve not yet decided how I will solve my cream cheese issue just yet… honestly I am secretly hoping one of my friends goes to the store tomorrow and I can just ask them to pick it up for me. Otherwise I’ll be picking garlic and herbs out of the cheese I have here.