February 05, 2008
Revised January 12, 2023
At first glance, I may appear to be a senior American woman with kids, grandkids, retired from a job in a hospital, and loving my life. Behind the image, which is true enough, I am fairly unhinged from much of American mainstream living, having spent twelve years in Saudi Arabia, years that sprung me from societal and familial impositions of narrow bands of truth. I have learned to embrace my sense of identity as a seeker, an artist, and a writer.
I spent several years studying and writing Progoff’s Intensive Journal, www.intensivejournal.org. The Intensive Journal is a program of written exercises that are designed to free up creative energy that has been been bound in the matrix of stress, self-neglect, and the imbalances between the outer life and the inner life. I learned much about writing and myself, but decided against teaching, because I’d have to arrange my own workshops and fish for participants. That is too much work for an introvert like me.
My name– Marahm– is an Arabic name, one that I like, and is similar to my given name. Marahm is written meem-ra-alif-meem in Arabic– مرام —and means “wish, desire.” I’ve added the “h” so non-Arabic speakers can know that the accent falls on the last syllable.
I study Arabic and Italian language, because I love them, and I love their people, and I plan to spend more time in both the Middle East and Italy after I retire. I write, and sometimes publish, flash memoir, and now a blog or two.
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I am enjoying all of your postings and eagerly looking forward to more.
All the best,
Carol (American Bedu)
Thank you, Carol. Your blog inspired me, you know. Reading it, as well as the comments, and the links to other blogs, has become a new daily joy, right up there with the Turkish coffee I still drink!
Beautiful name Marahm ….. I like it a lot.
Mine is a Arabic name too … 🙂
Thank you, Maryam. I appreciate your comment. “Maryam” is a wonderful name, one that can be easily pronounced in most languages, albeit with variations.
I used to be called Maryam also, but people thought it odd that both me and my daughter were named Maryam. We disliked explaining that I was a step-mom, so now I call myself Marahm, which is even closer to my original name.
My daughter likes it, too.
Hi Marahm –
I’m so glad you enjoyed my photos as much as you did. I am glad I was able to bring back some fond memories for you. I don’t mind at all if you print up some – I am honored.
Maybe you can let Umm Ibrahim know where the big market in Riyadh is that you used to frequent. She doesn’t seem to know.
I do like your name – I never heard it before but it is beautiful.
Thank you, Susie! I will print and frame some of your photos. I’m so glad you posted them. I did write UmmIbrahim to tell her that the Riyadh suq was (ten years ago, hopefully still is) called Suq al Hijaz, or Ateyga Suq, located in the Ateyga area of Riyadh. Anyone who loves to cook will be in glory wandering around there!
Gosh I have been here 4 years now and I have never hear of Ateyga! Is it anywhere near Batha and Deerah??
I am also loving reading your blog. 🙂 I have a Maryam too… my eldest daughter. It’s lovely to read that you didn’t like explaining that you were step mum to your Maryam, reminds me of my stepdad; my mum met him when I was 13 and married him when I was 17 but he would never correct anyone when they assumed I was his daughter. 🙂
This is a lovely blog and I am truly enjoying your writing. Thanks.
Thank you, UmmFarouq, I’m glad you are enjoying it. I may be less active for a little while. My father died Sunday. He died peacefully after a long illness, but I am filled with sadness.
Salam aleyki Marham
I hope you are fine inchaALLAH.
I am a young muslima french and living in France. I am also a teacher of french as a foreign language. I will finsh my MASTER in january bi ithniLLAH. And I would like to expatriate myself and my family (my husband and my baby) in Saudia after it. The problem is that all the vacancies concerns people who already have an IQAMA. How could I obtain it?
PS. My husband is also french anc sport teacher.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH
Wa Aleykum Assalaam, Yasmina,
We’ve had several exchanges by email, but I thought it would be good information for other readers if I posted some of what I wrote to you:
I suggest that both you and your husband try to get jobs in the Kingdom teaching French or English. The reason I suggest that both of you try is that one of you may not be able to bring the other one. The iqama is either for a single person or a family, and it is attached to the job, not the person filling the job.
You might also contact the French Embassy in Riyadh, and ask advice there.
You can always get a visa to visit Mecca for Umra or Hajj, but you won’t be able to stay, and of course, you’d like to stay awhile.
You might also surf the internet for expatriot groups. There are several discussion groups specifically for expat women in Saudi Arabia. Maybe you could find an opporunity through someone there.
Good luck, and may Allah guide you!
Hi Marahm –
I just wanted to let you know that I am thinking of you and hoping that each day is getting a little easier without your dear dad. I know I am not the only one thinking of you.
I showed my 15 yr old son the fractals and he loved them so much, he found some websites that offer free software downloads so we can create our own. So we have been playing around with them and having fun with it. I will send you some – inshallah – when we get good enough!
Hi, Susie, and thank you for these kind words. They mean a lot to me, because we’ve never met, yet through blogging we’ve come to “know” each other in the elemental way that most of us are truly connected.
So you downloaded the fractal software and tried it? I’m envious! I want to do that but I’m afraid. I think it will be too difficult. Keep me posted; maybe your success will encourage me to do the same.
Marahm, your writing is beautiful and fascinating. I’m very happy to have found it and thank you for sharing it. 🙂
I read a recent comment about your experience with hijab in the West and was wondering if you’d be interested in reflecting on it for http://islamonmyside.com/. I’d be happy to post a guest blog and to work with you on something for the anthology, insha’Allah, if you are interested. Please check out the blog and feel free to contact me there.
Please stop by again, Birdpress. I’ve posted on your blog. Seems like we share a few basic characteristics– questioning, thinking, coming to fresh ideas, and writing about it all.
Thank you, Shawna, for the invitation. I’d be honored to work with you on the anthology. I will contact you further through your blog.
Nice introduction. I think for foreigners living in the middle east we tend to become very introspective and somehow it brings out our true talents.
So, you’re a grandma too? Isn’t it amazing? I haven’t seen my grandaughters for a while, inshallah this November.
Can I assume you’re back home now?
Viking Daughter, you’ve made an astute observation! However, I would ask the opposite question: Could people who are given to instrospection tend to live in the ME, and create more opportunities for bringing out their true talents?
LLOOLLL – I see so many bloggers from the blogs I read hanging out here! You have a great blog; when I read it I feel like I already know you. 🙂
Thank you for the sweet comment! Isn’t it great how we can build these connections? I didn’t anticipate that when I started the blog, but now I spend more time on other blogs than on my own.
Marahm, I love your (new?) header… it’s the kind of photograph that maybe we wouldn’t ordinarily be all that happy with with the glare but I love the way it shows the sunlight hitting the lens of the camera! 🙂
Hello there Marahm! only now your name started making sense! I was so confused how to pronounce it!
You’ve got a good blog here with interesting posts. Keep it up!
Hi, I noticed Aafke mentioned (on americanbedu’s blog) a post you wrote about how westerners are polite (er..or something like that) and I’ve been searching for it through your site but cannot find it. Would you point the way?
Hi, Andrea, Welcome to the blog! I’m not sure which post you mean, written about polite Westerners. If you remember a few more details, maybe I could identify it.
Didn’t realize how many posts I had until I started looking through them.
Hi ! Thank you for the welcome!
See comment # 17…that’s where I got the info. Third line. :o) I was really curious to read the post!
Oh! Now I know. The post was about an encounter with a local man, in which I unwittingly encouraged him by being “western-style” polite. See:
It’s kind of funny.
Salam sister Maram …
It’s a pleasure I reached this blog and this page …
I like your name alot as I have a friend whom I adore with the same name And Insh’Allah you’ll be a precious sister and friend … At first the letter h confused me and I didn’t understand but now it’s o.k .. I admire you and your interests in reading and writing and learning Arabic … And actually I’m from Middle east , Egypt .. and nice to meet you ..
wish u all the best sister ..
stay fine and happy 😀
You have a nice blog and a captivating style of writing. By the way, I am happy to learn that you like Turkish coffee.
A brother from Turkey.
Thank you, turgayevren, and welcome! I like not only Turkish coffee, but the country of Turkey. I visited Istanbul in 1988, and I still have excellent memories of a lovely vacation.
By the way, I have been living in Istanbul since 1997, and I guess Istanbul must have changed a lot since you saw it. May Allah reward you for your kind thoughts about my country and Istanbul, which houses your nice memories. I hope one day you get the chance to visit Istanbul again to refresh your memories.
You have a very interesting blog. Thank you, Marahm.
Welcome, Diffio, and thank you for commenting.
I do hope to visit Turkey again, insha’Allah.
excellent blog – i like the way you writing from heart
with best wishes
Thank you, srinivas, and welcome!
Nice Blog. Claps… 🙂
I also enjoyed that worpress VS Blogspot post. I agree with you… WordPress is easier…. 🙂 See you…
Welcome, Freddie, and thank you for commenting. I must say I looked at your blog and found your stories compelling, especially the story about the hospital patients in the same room, one next to the window and the other flat on his back. That story is really special. I hope you can publish it for a wider audience.
Its painful when someone appreciates me for something I have not done. I can take credits for finding it but certainly not for writing it since its an extract
Don’t be sorry; you’ve recognized its beauty and given it a wider audience, which is admirable, and I still thank you.
Assalamualaikum sister Marahm,
Thank you for linking me in your blog roll and I’ve done the same with yours. I’m taking my time to read through your postings, each one filled with an interesting snippet of your perspective. I’m really amazed with your writings and am constantly figuring out, what the next post shall comprise. Take care. 🙂
love your blog.
Thank you, Kawthar!
Asalamualikum dear my name is humaira noor i am from india my age is 28 yrs old i work at a private company as an office clerk…i am tryig for a long time to write something about my personal life the experiences which i have observed through out my life i want to start writing but u know like i am not geting a start up so plz mam can you provide me some tits bits so as to start and what to start from…i will be waiting fr ur response.I want to tell u one more thing that nowadays i am quite interested in learning and understanding deen and in gaining knowledge about islam …kindly email me.
Wa Aleikum assalaam, humaira noor, and thank you for replying to my post. My advice to you is to start writing a daily journal. Write every day about something that happened that day or something that stuck in your mind. Write several hundred words. If you feel blocked, simply remember some those life experiences you would like to write about, and then start writing! Approach your experiences from multiple perspectives, using those old-fashioned newsroom questions: who, why when, where and how? If you feel like sharing, start a blog. Both WordPress and Blogger offer free tools for setting up. One last thing– pay attention to grammar. For casual writing, we can use “u” for “you”, and other shortcuts, but if you write for someone else to read, you must use your best grammar. Hope this helps!
ok i will try my level best.and thank you