In March 2014, before Richard and I decided we wanted to pursue the KAUST adventure, I spoke with my mother about it for 3-4 days to be sure I was on board before telling him "yes, I am ready to fly 2600 miles overseas away from my mom, children, grandchildren, sisters, and dear friends, to live for at least the next two years." I had to be sure this was what I wanted, too. While dating, we agreed that someday, maybe once we retired, we would travel the world. Maybe even look into international teaching and move to an exciting country. We signed up with an international agency to help Richard find a job out of the country. We figured it was a longshot or might even take a while, but we were ready to jump in and test the waters. Never did I imagine Saudi Arabia. I knew very little about the country. Only what was said in the news and most of that is filtered or magnified to bring in viewers for ratings. And never did I imagine it would be as soon as a few weeks of his applying.
Richard and I were on our honeymoon in Catalina Island, CA when he received the email leading up to our new adventure. He didn't tell me where to at the time. I was in my own little fantasy world. I play around with wood, textured paper, and metal paint and call it "ART". I met an art gallery owner in Catalina who put me in the direction of The Catalina Arts Association and there started my own exciting adventure (saved for another blog). Most important to know about this is that my opportunity conflicted with Richard's, but Richard's was a guaranteed lifestyle, mine as a said earlier, is playing around (hoping to make a lifestyle).
It took many days of talking and thinking and talking and thinking, you get the picture, right? There were so many questions and concerns, not just from me, but from my mom. "How will you be treated as a woman over there", "what if you get a bad migraine (I suffer from severe migraines) and can't get medical help", "you will miss your babies (my grandson Ian is 7 and granddaughter Audrianna is 4)", "what about your art opportunity"? All of these were and still are very logical and legitimate questions and concerns. So, as any intellectual woman would do, I sought answers for my mom. Of course I wanted these answers too, but I needed proof for my mother.
KAUST has a GREAT network set up. We were put in contact with a husband/wife team by Skype. I was given the opportunity to speak to several women alone to get their true "take" on living at KAUST, and I have been emailing many others. KAUST is a westernized community and women are treated the same there as they are here in the states, maybe even better in some ways. Turns out KAUST is a very cool place to be. Richard has been searching for a "missing something" in his career for sometime now and I think he may have finally found it. I look forward to seeing the happiness this job, opportunity and adventure bring to him and to us.
I bet you're wondering about my art, the grandbabies and migraines, huh? Well, turns out we have arranged for me to fly home to the states when I need to work on my art and I will be staying with my mom. PLUS, we get three weeks break at Christmas and six weeks or so during the summer to come home. That way I see my kids and grandbabies alot! I will stay at least a month when I'm home any other time. They will all probably be tired of me. HA! As for the migraines, I will continue medical care here in the states and we researched to find out that KAUST has a US trained medical facility and there is a US trained neurologist in Jeddah should I need one. And above all, I have FAITH! Faith that somehow, someway, maybe God is sending me on this adventure to help with my migraines because of what I have endured this past year and maybe this is a way for me to heal. Who knows? We shall see. I know I am willing to look....
Look for more to come!