Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaykum.
Please forgive me for not posting in so long. Subhaan Allah, life is busy here.I started writing this when we were in the second half of the second semester of school and exams were looming. Now we have just finished the summer Qur'an programme and are on vacation until after Eid al Fitr....two months later!
Anyway, we decided to move to a villa (a detached house with a wall around it). One of the things about living in Madinah is that if you live in an apartment the children won't have anywhere safe to play. It is madness to let the children play in the street with the irresponsible and maniacal driving. In fact, there isn't anywhere for them to ride their bicycles either. As we approach the end of our second year here, mashaa'Allah, we decided to move to a house with a good outside area for the children to be able to play in. We first thought of Iskan, where the majority of expatriate families in houses live. The price of the houses there ranges from SAR 30,000 (if you're blessed) to 50,000 per year. Of course you can find more expensive than that if you like! However, after living for 2 years in an apartment, we realized that it would make a huge difference to our lives, and especially the lives of the children, to live in a house. For this reason, we searched in Aziziya, which is just outside of the Haram area. It is far less expensive, mashaa'Allah, with far better and nicer housing for the price than town center.
To give an idea, hubby saw two 5 bedroom apartments that looked like the Meridien hotel and they were only SAR 24,500 per year. Yes, I did say 5 bedrooms. There would also be a kitchen, at least 3-4 bathrooms, and two sitting areas for guests at minimum. In any case, they didn't have any area for playing and we wanted something simple, so we rented an older, large, 4 bedroom villa that has a huge courtyard area including a small planted area with date palms, a gravel patch for a tent and/or pool, and plenty of tiled area to play and enjoy the outdoors, along with a complete walled roof for riding bikes and running wild. The cost? SAR 23,000 per year, mashaa'Allah.
I have been exploring the area with my daughters and found nice quality cotton clothes for a fraction of the price of those in the malls and stores closer to the Haram. The general atmosphere is far more relaxed and pleasant, as this area isn't swarming with Umrah visitors and tourists, mashaa'Allah. Al hamdul'Illah, a new chapter of living in Madinah....with a new level of sakinah (peace/tranquility) and some freedom to enjoy the outdoors within our own private walls. All praise be to Allah, the Perfect Provider of all needs.