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Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Ramblings from Saudi: How to Get Married


Eh? How to get married?? Ah ha! You guys better read on :-)

When I first moved to Saudi, I was 'relieved' to find out that there were a few other bachelors in their late 20's and early 30's whom I could shortlist as my partners in crime at my new company, heh! I was quite surprised actually to find out about this because I had thought that the local culture here is that the people tend to get married quite early. And so far it appears to me that the decision to get married is usually reached at quite easily. (That is not to say that the cost of getting married here is cheap though!)


Take for example, our receptionist here. (She is, by the way, covered from top to toe and wears niqab, a veil that covers all her face apart from the eyes, yet almost every guy at the office thinks she is beautiful by just looking at her eyes.) I was told recently that an already-married male colleague had one day jokingly told her that he would like to marry her. The person who was telling me the story didn't tell me, or rather, couldn't tell me, what her answer was to that 'proposal'. But the story went on that the very next day her mother actually came over to the office to see the guy who had supposedly asked for her daughter's hand! Imagine that!

Again, my storyteller friend was just as clueless as earlier when I asked him if the mother came to the office to really discuss the marriage proposal or just to tell off the guy. I think it's for the former but it could be for the latter. But in any case, I thought the story is rather amazing and amusing at the same time!

Then there is this guy at the office who is a bachelor in his late 20s. He's been bugging me (in a good way), asking me when I want to get married, if I already have someone, blah blah blah... well, you know the drift... My usual response to him was simply asking him the very same questions that he had just asked me. Genius, no? :-) The funny thing is, this guy has also been asking me if I'd like him to matchmake me with someone from here in Saudi. And my response to that, well, "Why don't you try to find someone for yourself first, ya Ahmad?", hoping that my answer would at least shut him up a bit, heh heh!

But then... lo and behold!

Out of the blue, last week he happily told me that he's getting married some time next month! Surprised, I asked him how long he has known his fiancee, where she is from, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Believe it or not, he told me he's just met her for the first time less than a week before! And he has so far met her only once even though they have been talking a few times on the phone this past week. My jaw dropped and I was like speechless for probably about 10 minutes after that! Ha ha!

Okay, 10 minutes maybe is too much of an exaggeration but really, he wasn't kidding at all! The ceremony currently is being arranged for next month!

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Okay, I still need some time to recover from this shocking but great news! :-)

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When I related this story to my previously-clueless-storyteller colleague and friend, he had an even-more-shocking-but-true story to tell. (I guess he's not exactly clueless then, eh? ;-))

We have another male staff who has just came back from a 3-month unpaid leave. The reason he gave when applying for the long leave was that he's getting married in his home country (somewhere in South Asia). Prior to his leave, my storyteller friend had asked the then-soon-to-be-a-groom guy questions about his fiancee. And guess what his answer was?
"I don't have anybody yet. I'm going back to my home country to search for someone, and marry her during this 3-month leave".

When I heard that, I was like.... huh?!?!?!?!?!

And sure enough, as planned, the guy came back from his 3-month leave about 2 weeks ago, happily married!


This is the fifth blog entry under 'Ramblings from Saudi' series.

'Ramblings from Saudi' is a series of blog entries originally written when I was living in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for one year from 2007 to 2008. While the entries under this series are not exactly travel entries, (I hope that) they tell stories about life in Saudi Arabia in general as I personally experienced them.

For other 'Ramblings from Saudi' entries, click here.


16 comments:

Comments and feedback are always appreciated. So do leave one or two if you have the time. Thank you!

  1. O.O what an eye opener for us....

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hi, ler! Yes, it was really an eye-opener learning and living in a different culture and way of life. Even the simplest things some time can challenge the way we think and live our own life :-)

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  2. Wow.... what happen to the "kenal-hati-budi" grace period? Maybe that period was shorter compared to our culture perhaps? Amusing...

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    1. I think most of the times, they get married to someone who is recommended by the family who already knows either the family of the partner or the partner him/herself. Or by someone respected by the family. Konsep cinta selepas nikah :-)

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  3. OMG! I envy you for being able to retell stories that happened years ago~ What did inspire you to write about your life back in Jeddah, KSA? Anyway, am living here now and hopefully I can write stories as wonderful as you did here~


    Warm regards from Jeddah

    (btw, it's 00.31 KSA in Jeddah and 4.31 AM in Jakarta now)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Intan!

      I first wrote the above entry & other entries in this 'Rambling from Saudi' series when I was still living in Jeddah. I had only shared them with some of my friends before and now I've just started sharing the stories of my life in Saudi on this blog :-)

      Do write about your life in Jeddah. I really loved my time there and miss it a lot so I know I'd love to read your stories from there too! :-)

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  4. It is very costly to get married in Arab Countries.. huhuuu... i mean with their woman.. aspecially in KSA hahahaa..

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    1. Yes, very true. Most of the times, the groom is expected to already have a fully furnished house before he'll get the permission from the bride's family :-)

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  5. yea, ppl say it's quite easy to reach that decision when you dah pasang niat and ready. and it's timing really. :-)

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    1. Hi, Sarah! Yup, I've been told the same too. But both sides have to be ready, not just one side. So yeah, like you said, it's all about timing :-)

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  6. the 3rd stories, balik cuti 3 bulan utk cari partner..tinggi determination..haha
    boleh try ni..:-P

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    Replies
    1. Dzuchan, heheh! Sila cuba dan kalau berjaya, jgn lupa hantar kad jemputan ;-)

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  7. does love at first sight really exist in Saudi?

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    1. I have no idea but I imagine such a thing could still exist there. I know I _almost_ experienced it myself while I was still living there, haha! ;-)

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  8. I had a friend who decided this year was going to be the year I get married. He went about it with Consultant like precision. He messaged all his friends to tell them he was willing to be set up or introduced to their fantastic single girl friends. He arranged for one date every weekend without fail, and *poof* a few months after he started the process, he met someone, married her and now have kids. I guess strict process and deadline management helps

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I agree. I believe the underlying push is the readiness to start a married life which makes the decision to search/choose and "just get on with it" easier.

      I _think_ lah. Hahaha! ;-)

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