Monday, May 16, 2022


When I moved to Saudi Arabia in 2007, sight unseen, I knew my life would be changed forever. But what I never expected was to completely and utterly fall in love with the Saudi people and its culture. 

It took me a while to accept and get used to many things about life here.  Early on I could never see myself being happy living here long term. 

Without realizing exactly when it happened, I grew to love this wondrous and mysterious land and appreciate the simplicity, history, generosity and goodness that it had to offer.

Saudi Arabia has been my home for the past fifteen years - and now it's time to say goodbye. Over the years I've made extraordinary friendships, mostly through my blogging, that I will cherish forever. 

I'm proud that I've been able to help others in navigating this land of contradictions, fascination, and enchantment.  But now that I won't be living here any more, I feel it's time to hang up my blogging hat. 

So I just want to say "Thank you, Saudi Arabia" for always making me feel safe and welcome wherever I went. Thank you for opening my eyes and my heart to your ways and wisdom.  

Thank you to my wonderful husband for changing my life forever for the better by taking me on this amazing adventure with him.

Thank you to my readers who were as inquisitive and interested in this wondrous place as I was. And thank you to my friends who included me in their outings and made it easier for me to be able to explore this country.

It's been an amazing ride. I will leave a big piece of my heart here when I leave in the coming days.  

There is so much more I could say but I'll just let these photos say it for me.


Good bye - until we meet again!

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

A True Ramadan Story of Forgiveness

During this month of April, I am fasting with my Muslim husband, even though I myself am not Muslim. I do it, despite the 100 degree heat, despite the caffeine withdrawal headaches I get, despite the constant grumblings of my stomach.  I do it because I love him and respect him, and I personally feel that it would be insensitive for me to eat in front of him while he is fasting.

Many people around the world have very little knowledge about Islam and its teachings. So I thought I would share a real life example of what being a Muslim is during this holy month of Ramadan.  What follows is the true story of a man who lives his religion through his actions.  This is the REAL Islam.

In 2001, Rais Bhuiyan was a 28 year old Dallas resident, an immigrant from Bangladesh. He had been an officer in the Bangladesh Air Force and then found himself studying computer technology in New York City.  He later moved to Dallas at the urging of a friend who offered him a partnership in his gas station. 

Mark Stroman, also of Dallas, was a 31 year old lifelong career criminal, meth addict and a white supremacist.  After the 9/11 attacks, Stroman decided to take revenge and went out armed with the intent of killing any Arab/Muslim looking men he came upon, targeting convenience stores.  He murdered 46 year old Waqar Hasan, a Pakistani immigrant, in a grocery store. 

A few days later (10 days after 9/11) Stroman again went out looking for revenge at a gas station convenience store in Dallas.  Rais Bhuiyan was working behind the counter.  Stroman raised his shotgun,  shot Bhuiyan in the face, and fled. Bhuiyan was severely injured but still alive. A couple of weeks later, Stroman shot and killed an Indian immigrant, Vasudev Patel, age 49, in nearby Mesquite, TX.  Patel was not even Muslim; he was Hindu. Not one of these three men were Arabs either.

Fortunately Stroman was soon captured. From his jail cell, he proudly spoke to news stations about what a great patriot he was for exacting his revenge on Muslims – innocent Muslims who had nothing at all to do with the events of 9/11.  Stroman was tried for murder, was found guilty, and was sentenced to death.

Meanwhile Bhuiyan was bankrupted and left deep in debt from his medical bills. He had to endure countless surgeries and permanently lost the sight in one of his eyes. He still lives with over 35 pellets in his face to this day. 

Forgiveness is a major teaching of Islam. Islam also says that saving one human life is the same as saving all of mankind. So despite all the pain and hardships Bhuiyan had endured, he chose to forgive Stroman for what he had done. But not only that, Bhuiyan also took up the cause to save Stroman from the death penalty, filing a lawsuit to try to stop the execution.

Because of Bhuiyan’s actions, Stroman finally expressed his remorse over what he had done. However Bhuiyan’s attempt to save his attacker failed. Stroman was executed in 2011.  A documentary film called “An Eyefor an Eye” was released in 2016 about this tragic true story.

Before his death, Stroman was quoted as saying “I have the Islamic Community joining in my legal defence, spearheaded by one very remarkable man named Rais Bhuiyan, who is a survivor of my hate. His deep Islamic beliefs gave him the strength to forgive the unforgiveable. That is truly inspiring to me and should be an example for us all. The hate has to stop. We are all in this world together.”

Leading by example, Rais Bhuiyan today works to make this world a better place for everyone and trying to save mankind in his own way. He started his own non-profit organization called World Without Hate, spreading his message of love, forgiveness, and acceptance.


Rais Bhuiyan, American: If someone shot you in the face and left you for dea, would you try to save his life?  Esquire Magazine article, Dec 2011

20 Years After a White Supremacist Almost Killed Him, He's Dedicated His Life to Changing Hearts 

Rais Bhuiyan - Wikipedia

Mark Anthony Stroman - Wikipedia