Wednesday, August 5, 2015

One Year in Saudi Arabia!

Well, one year has passed since we arrived in Saudi. I am on my way to pick up my passport with my new name. After a year and a half of being Keithia Armand I finally got my name changed on my passport. I found it difficult to do with all the traveling I've been doing. I had no clue it would only take a week to do at the U.S. Consulate here in Jeddah. 

Richard and I have loved living abroad and haven't faced many cultural challenges. Our international friends are quite shocked when they learn this is our first international experience. It seems that Saudi isn't the first place most come to on their first journey. Haha. We just jumped in with no problems. 

I volunteered to help some with the new teacher orientation this week. It was so nice to meet the family's and offer help. I met some very nice people from all over the world. That's one of the favorite things I love about this place. The people! Everyone is always so friendly and I love getting to know them and their cultural background. And for my Texas friends, one couple is from Sachse! Small, small world!!

My son Andrew came to visit us for a week and we had the best time exploring the kingdom and learning some history about Saudi. Now to get Tiffany, Melissa, and Kelsey here. I know they will love it just as much!

Since my last entry I have visited places I never imagined I'd get to. Turkey, Africa, France, Greece, Italy, Spain.I even got to do the number one thing on my bucket list. I went on Safari to Africa. It was the most amazing experience of a lifetime. I will admit seeing the lions up close gave me the yearning to have a cat of my own. I have never been a cat lover, so you must understand this was not only a surprise to Richard but to myself as well. But we ended up adopting a 4 week old baby stray with no mommy and named her Safari.  She is one of the family now at 5 months old. 

 I overcame my fear of swimming with the fish and I am now snorkeling. I joined a ladies dive group but I go for the socializing and snorkeling. No diving for me. We shall see what another year brings. Ha! 

I still battle the migraines, but I have found that if I stay out of the buildings with the florescent lights and I don't exert myself too much I can manage the frequency of them. I have to wear sunglasses all of the time, so I'd probably look like a snob back home, but I fit in here as most of the women wear sunglasses most of the time anyway. It's a big fashion statement!
That's all I have for now. We have had an amazing year and we look forward to another one. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My First Trip Alone into Jeddah

I'm on my way to IKEA
in a big coach bus all alone. 

I was texting with Andrew this morning and he asked, "What do you need from IKEA?" My response "stuff!" Of everyone who loves me, Andrew gives me the hardest time about my compulsive obsessive behavior. We are hosting a Bunco party for the 2014-15 KAUST Newbie teacher group this Friday night, so I need to get a few things to be prepared. 

Traffic was horrible!!!! 
I was the only passenger on the bus until 8:01am then a husband and wife got on. The ride in was an adventure. Always is but usually I have Richard to talk to. This time I focused too much on the driving and traffic.
The bus driver was relentless and came within an inch of hitting a car that pulled out in front of him. Not once, not twice, but many, many times. This is how every man drives in Jeddah.

I saw lots of interesting stores I would like to visit. And at IKEA there were so many things I wanted and bought and wanted to buy, but have to wait for Richard to go back with me. I could only take so much to the bus myself! 

But I did have to call him to meet me at the bus drop off so that he could help get the stuff home. THANK GOODNESS!

I’m sure I could make a habit of going to Jeddah daily now.

Today was a fun day and barely a nick in the budget!


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Map of our Paris adventure

Check out a map of our Paris adventure

Click here to TrackMyTour!

We Will Take Paris Anytime!!!

Paris was more than we imagined. The subway itself was amazing. The language was so romantic. In the subway we heard instrumental music some nights and vocals other nights. Never knew what to expect.

Our days were filled with museums and sight seeing. So many gorgeous churches that I cannot wait to share with my special friends back home such as Sherri and Arvin. The peace that overcame us inside those walls was miraculous, but I guess one would expect such a thing. :-) the nights were saved for dressing up and going out on the town and finding live music. 

The old buildings are incredible. Living in the USA we don't realize just how old the world is. I hope my children have the opportunity to travel and experience the world as I am getting to do. Or at least learn something through my travels. 
The wine and cheese snacks were very romantic. Even though I had to stay away from the wine and allow Richard to enjoy most of it himself. It was the ambiance that mattered the most. This was the first vacation without a migraine. I attribute that to Dr. Paul and acupuncture.

We did lots of Christmas shopping and walking. 

OH and don't let me forget to include this beauty!!!

Our flat was on the very top floor, the 4th floor with an opening skylight allowing a view of the Eiffel Tower. 

Four suitcases over 50lbs to be toted up and down a spiraled staircase. Ha!!! What a site and a workout. All to say we had a very good workout this week. With all the fine cheese, French bread and great French cuisine, we managed to get in better shape. 

I met Eyad from Amman, Jordan on the plane and of course Richard was shaking his head because I had already introduced myself and my business card to Dr Khala from Amman. As I got to know more about Eyad and he my ScrapArt I discovered he is about to open a balloon shop and invited me to sell my art in his store. We will touch base later. Yes my friends this is the art and skill of networking. A little bit of Keithia and a little bit of a Northwood business degree I guess. Ha! 

To sum it up Richard had a very relaxing week off of work, I enjoyed not working my fingers to the bone 10 hours a day and we both loved every minute of time we spent together. Now we can go back to day to day living our lives with each other until my next trip to the states without him in February. 

What's next?????

Friday, October 3, 2014

Heading Back East

The time has come to leave Texas. There was so much work to do with ScrapArt, then lost an entire week while hospitalized with that migraine, and then acupuncture started four times a week that I didn't have time to visit friends. But, I got plenty of art made for Catalina. Mom,Tiff, and Kristie enjoyed their first plane ride to California and we had a great girls trip. 
Fourteen special Catalina Collection pieces are now hanging in the Hermosa Cottage rooms in Avalon on Catalina Island, plus, ScrapArt by Keithia covered the cost of the entire trip. Pretty cool if you ask me. 
The last few days of this week I was able to make enough pieces for a Christmas bazaar at St. Martins Catholic Church for November 22 that mom and Kristie will work for me. All this to say I went home to work, work, work!!!! 
Yes, I had plenty of grand baby time, too. Love those munchkins and spoil them when I can. Will miss them so much. 

Gave a special piece of art to my driver on the way to the airport today Oct 2. Something about him touched me. He appreciated the piece. It is the Rich Adventure 2014 piece.
Nothing pleases me more than when I can put a smile on a face. And that's what I do through giving away my ScrapArt. :-)

I miss Richard more than I ever imagined I would. He melted my heart last week when he told me he knew he would miss me but didn't know it would hurt so much. Makes me rethink my original plan of coming home every other month. So now I'm thinking maybe 4-5 times a year. Plus the flights are soooo long. I think I have a game plan for grandbaby birthdays, spring break, summer and such. 

Now it's just 2 more hours til I meet Richard in Paris. My seat neighbor Kent and I clicked immediately as we boarded the plane and now knows my life story. Go figure, huh. Haha. He is on a missionary trip so I had to show him my ScrapArt plates and tell him while I was home I passed out plates to some strangers in East Dallas. While perusing through my gallery he chose to purchase two pieces. 

Life is full of surprises. I am one BLESSED woman, mother, daughter, sister, and wife! Watch out world here I come!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Paris here we come

Big day in KSA. The Eid break begins today. What this means for Keithia and I is that we are meeting in Paris. Keithia traveled back to the state on August 19 or 45 days ago. I know she enjoyed seeing everyone in Texas. I also know I missed her every moment. Keithia I love you!