Musings in the Dark: The Expat Diaries: Near and Far


The Expat Diaries: Near and Far

Since my relocation to the Middle East, I have found myself in a situation where I get to travel far more often.  Within the past three months, I’ve traveled to Bahrain, Cyprus and Italy.  I am fortunate (in a way) that where I currently reside offers no temptations in the form of shopping or entertainment.  But because Saudi is such a harsh, difficult place to live, one must leave as often as possible in order to breathe.

Bahrain is a kingdom just to the east of Saudi and is a quick 55-minute flight away.  It is not nearly as restrictive as Saudi and offers actual things to do for its citizens and visitors.  I go to Bahrain strictly to go to the movies, as I’m a fan of the cinematic experience.  The malls in Bahrain have multiple cinemas and plenty of food options other than the usual concession fair.  The theaters are huge with comfortable seating and are very clean.  Bahrain is my go-to when I need to get out of town quick.

Cyprus is an island in the Mediterranean.  I took a weekend trip at the suggestion of a friend who was going to travel with me.  However, she had passport issues upon arrival at King Khaled and could not go.  I spent two days in Limassol and got to experience some amazing sights and see things I would never have seen before.  The capital of Cyprus is Nicosia and I encountered a wonderful driver who showed me around the city and up into the mountains.

In the mountains of Cyprus is a village called Lefkara.  They make hand-made lace and silver jewelry.  I spent some time with a lovely lady and her son as she explained the history of lace-making in Cyprus.  She explained that it was something that all the women did and the men focused on making silver jewelry.  A piece of lace could take up to two or three months to create and the women have the patterns memorized.  Below is a short video I made where she was creating a beautiful new piece.  The lace in Lefkara is UNESCO-certified.

Sadly, there is little money in lace-making and the art will eventually die out in Lefkara because the younger generation is not interested in learning the craft and because it takes too much time.  I purchased a small Leonardo da Vinci piece (which is a very popular design; something Leonardo himself specifically requested) which now sits proudly on my end table.  The lace is beautiful with extremely intricate designs and sewing.

The silver jewelry is amazing.  Everything is done by hand.  I purchased some rings and a bracelet that I wear every day without fear of tarnish or oxidation.  The time it takes to create such fine metalwork (or needlework) is beyond me, but thank goodness there are those who take pride in their craft.

For Christmas, I got to experience one of my dreams: Italy.  A friend and I spent a week in Rome and Milan and it was…fabulous.  You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen St. Peter’s Basilica and the Duomo.  I posted some videos, but they do not do any justice whatsoever.  I was unable to make it to the Sistine Chapel because of some bad gelato (I know), but three coins in the Trevi Fountain means I’ll be returning to Italy sometime in the (near) future.

"The Rape of Persephone" by Bernini.
I stared at this sculpture for at least 10 minutes.

Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers

St. Peter's Basilica

The Duomo, Milan

The Duomo, side view 
Those of you who’ve been following my blog since its inception have seen how completely my life has changed since becoming an expat.  I work very hard at my job and it is not an easy job educating Arabian royalty, trust.  And because this city does not offer anything in the way of entertainment, I find that I save a lot of money simply because there is nothing to spend it on.

Good news on the writing front, however.  Middle Child Press has had an extensive makeover and we are once again using E-junkie to sell our books.  The books are still available on Amazon, but you can get better prices in our new store.  I am finally republishing Nightingales: CRASH!!! with a snazzy new cover and cool air will finally be available for sale in April.  I have plans to do a promotional over on Goodreads and details regarding that will come soon.  If you want to see the new book covers, they will be posted on the Nightingales' supplementary blog and I will make an announcement shortly.

I have plans for two more novels to be published later this year and I hope I can accomplish this goal.  It’s time to get moving again and learn how to balance work and writing.

In regards to the above, I am currently looking for a new graphic artist to create a cover for one of the upcoming books.  Dilettantes, if you know of any artists looking to make a piece of change, please send them my way either on Twitter @ AmayaRad or through the blog.

2016 is definitely going to be a good year!


  1. Amaya you are breaking my heart! I LOVE Italy and spent four years there. I'm a history junkie so I was in heaven. And I got to see the Sistine Chapel twice (once alone and then again when my mom and sister came over).

    Its sad that lace making is a dying art. I bought some while in Italy from an old lady that sold in at the market. It is beautiful work.

    My best memory was Christmas mass at St. Peter's. Even if you aren't Catholic its an amazing experience.

    1. I didn't plan my trip properly. I should have gone to Milan first and then to Rome to attend Christmas mass. But either way, it was a dream come true.


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