Wednesday, August 20, 2014

First Trip Home 8/19/2014

Richard hired a driver to take us to the Jeddah airport. He walked me in to check my bags. We browsed some stores, found the security gate and said our goodbyes. No PDA. Just love with our eyes. He was more nervous than I, even against my claim of being fine. He is concerned about my mental state and my assertiveness, I'm sure!!! I on the other hand am just fine. 
I found security to be quite comforting. Passport control was fine. Then I placed my bag through the scanner and walked behind the enclosed glass for ladies only to be scanned with a hand wand. Very discreet and comfortable. Nothing like back home where you stand spread eagle in front of all to view. 
I easily found my gate and awaited the bus to arrive to drive us out on the tarmac to board the huge two deck plane to begin my adventure. All while wearing my Hollywood sunglasses and abaya. I go nowhere these days without my sunglasses. Lights are so bright. But the people here do not know why I wear them. Wonder what they must be thinking of me. Hehe. And this is just my flight to Dubai. 

This view is from the bus to the plane. The plane was awesome! I had never been in a plane as large or nice. Double decker, 10 seats across and plenty of leg room. More flight attendants than I could count. The 2 1/2 hour flight was up before I knew it. Very nice passengers all around. Plane was packed full. I must have gotten the last seat at the very last moment. 
Upon arrival to Dubai it was 11:30 pm Jeddah time, 12:30am Dubai time, which meant darkness so I did not get to take in any of the beauty of Dubai. The Dubai airport was very hot! Many of the toilets were out of order and the airport was crammed like a sardine can. Hard to believe for 12:30 in the morning. Restaurants were doing business like it was a Saturday afternoon back home. They were stricter than Jeddah in security, too. Once through security I bought a bottled water for $5 US dollars (same size I bought in Saudi for .53 cents), but only got to drink half of it because you can't take it on the plane. The layover wasn't bad because there was a time difference of an hour, so I only waited an hour to board. 
Another nice plane but nothing as nice as the plane flying in to Dubai. About half the size and the area I was sitting in was filled with families of small children. Poor babies didn't understand the time difference and confinement. Their bodies and minds were mad! But kudos to the great staff of Emirates for keeping a great schedule of food, liquids and toys and maintaining peace throughout the 15 hour flight to DFW! 
My original plan was to fly home every other month, stay a month, work on ScrapArt, play with the babies, visit the kids and mom, go back to Saudi for a month and so on. After this journey I think I will be rethinking the monthly trip. Just a few thoughts to ponder....

AND, Kelsey, this one's for you: I watched Divergent during the flight. :-)
Go do your own thing and fly those beautiful wings of yours sweetheart!

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 18, 2014 More Adventures and More to Come!

Today we opened our Saudi bank account. I rode the bike to the square to meet Richard at the bank and arrived 15 minutes early. The bank doesn't open until 9:30. I was hot and sweaty. I stopped and bought a bottled water( a 1.5 Liter for 54 cents), went inside the Fed Ex office which is just around the corner from the bank, and found an air conditioning vent to stand under. I didn't realize how I looked at the time. I was wearing my dirty white ScrapArt by Keithia hat, I had my iPhone hanging from my landyard around my neck with my earbuds attached and in my ears. Needless to say white wires were drooping down my blouse because of the earbuds, my sunglasses were on because I am so sensitive to the brightness, and I'm standing in this one place under the vent. You get the picture right????

Well, it took me a few moments to figure out why a couple of Fed Ex employees are coming up to me and smiling and examining me like I was TROUBLE. Then I realized I looked like a uni-bomber. Oh my goodness. Only me!!!!!

I can get myself into some messes. But, one thing is for sure, most people around here remember me after one encounter. Hahahahahaha.
After all that, the bank finally opened its doors at 9:31, so I walked over to it and was the second customer through the door. Richard arrived a few minutes later and we finally opened our Saudi joint checking account. Again, excellent customer service. The agent noticed that I was cold and turned up the thermostat for me. You don't get that type of service back home. I am coming home in a few days and am looking forward to it, but I am also going to miss being treated as well as I have been treated here. I definitely am willing to come back! But I am in need of a grand-baby fix or two!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Speechless 8/8/14

As we sit and wait thru prayer time I watch as so many go into the mosque during the 12:29pm prayer. It's such a beautiful sight. So much criticism and judgment throughout the world for so many things, and I won't go into any specifics, but I can tell you I can feel peace. It's amazing and a blessing to experience a different culture and I look forward to experiencing more of it. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Arrival to KAUST Week of 8/3/14

Oh my goodness I just don't know where to start! We LOVE it here!
The flights were smooth and transitions from USA to Germany and Germany to Jeddah were great. The KAUST airport wasn't busy and was a simple process to get through to KAUST. We were in our new home by 9pm Sunday 8/3/14 KAUST time and 1pm Dallas time.
Monday 8/4 we jumped on the bus and found our way to a coffee shop and had lunch and explored Discovery Square. Then found Tamimi Super Market for a few groceries and other basic necessities. They deliver for free right to your door! Everyone is so nice and courteous here! 
I couldn't wait for Richard to take a picture of me in my regular shorts and shirt walking the streets of KAUST so that I could send it home to mom to show her that I don't have to wear an abaya while in KAUST. Then I got to Skype with her last night and show her the house and the neighborhood. I think she feels much more comfortable now. I Skyped with my daughter Tiffany, too. Hopefully tonight I can Skype with my son Andrew and my grand-babies Ian and Audrianna.
We started orientation today, so we are really tired now. It was a long day, but so much fun. We met people from 5 continents! I am a people person so let me tell you I had a BLAST! Of the 18 sets of new employees this year, there are just 3 of us couples who are on our first international adventure. The other 15 employees are pros and have traveled all over. During the hurry up and wait game (patience time for ID processing and such) we probably had the chance to bond with every one of them. It really was a very unique experience that I will truly treasure forever.
Ok, I am tired and need to rest up for day two of orientation. Tomorrow is medical and other stuff. Plus, technology hands out laptops to the newbies. Guess what that means for the new Technology Director? Do we know who that is? hmmmm......Poor Richard. Can't even get through orientation without having to work first. BUT, I know he LIKES it here............

Friday, August 1, 2014

21 Hours

Mustang cleaned (going to storage and luggage almost ready. Now one more Tex-Mex food fix. Maybe a beverage :)

SuperShuttle pick up tomorrow at noon. Flight 3:30