Here are a few notes from our first week in Saudi Arabia.Sunday, Oct. 4- Last day in the US. Spent it with the Ramages. Pack, Park, More Play and Pack. Several tears and only one true melt down as we walked into the airport, oh wait and then again, as we ran to board the plane.
Monday, Oct. 5- The flight was great. Long, but other wise great. Both boys slept (thank you Lynette for the melatonin hint) for about 8 hours and were able to watch Toy Story 3 several times. After traveling Business class it will be VERY hard to go back to the cheap seats on such a long flight.
We arrived in Damman late Monday night. We essentially lost an entire day. Left when it was dark and arrived the following night. All of our boxes (we had 8 dishbarrel boxes that were checked and not a single one was opened- awesome!) made it through customs without any problems.
Tuesday, Oct. 6- First real day here. Mike headed to lunch with his new work group to Chili's and thankfully brought home some chips and salsa for me. Taste the same and was a much needed taste of home. The RS president stopped by to say hello and took me and the boys to the commissary. We ended the night at Brian and Yvettes for dinner. (The great family who picked us up from the airport. Brian works with Mike. They have three older boys who our boys already enjoy and adore.)
Wednesday, Oct. 7- Day two was tougher. Owen woke up sick and continued to throw up and sleep for a solid six hours. Then wakes up and is as good as new. Poor guy, it was a long and strange morning.
We ventured out of the compound in our first family taxi ride. Crazy drivers here and I mean crazy. Even though I am not allowed to drive outside (laws of SA) off the compound I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to anyways.
We made it to IKEA. Two thing occurred here.
1. Carter saw his first women dressed head to toe in black, abiya and head/face coverings, only her eyes were seen. His reaction-
"Daddy, it's a bad guy...BAD GUY!"
and then ran behind Mike. The realization hit that perhaps we should have prepared our three year old a little more before our little outing. We have since explained that the "bad guys" covered in black are "mommies" and not bad at all.
2. We experienced our first official hazing. Parked our cart in the designated area outside of the food court, by the prayer room, and returned to find a soda dumped in it and all over it. Then it felt real, we are here and not in Houston, or the USA anymore.
Thursday, Oct. 8- (First day of the weekend here, picture this as Saturday) Mike went TV shopping, I made if to the Hyper Panda (supermarket) in my abiya, and this is the first day Carter asked for Chickfila. Spent the day dodging prayer times, everything closes down for prayer and this requires planning to be able to get in and out in time.
Friday, Oct. 9- (Sabbath day here) Went to church in a local school and were the rowdy ones in the side row. Not very many little ones and our boys made sure they were noticed. They loved nursery, walked in without any problems. There are four kids Carters age and one Owens. We were invited to dinner at the Reynolds. Another young family here with a new baby. We have spent a lot of time with these guys as well. So helpful and welcoming.
Saturday, Oct. 10- (like Monday here) First day of work for Mike and first day of preschool for Carter. Yes, I already have Carter in preschool and lucked out to have him enrolled in what I've been told is the best one on the compound. I feel very blessed, it's a great program, four mornings a week and he loves it.
Sunday, Oct. 11- Our first trip to the Aramco medical facilities. We had to have blood work taken for our permament resident visas. Having both boys blood drawn proved to be a bigger ordeal than I had thought. The nurses were great at what they did, it was just a little much to have their faces veiled and have them armed with a needle to poke the boys. Owen did better than Carter.
So that's it, our first week here in The Kingdom. Add to that an awesome case of jet lag and several visits from the maintenance team to fix things in our house here.
We are borrowing a car from a co-worker of Mike's so we've been able to make it around camp and have made it into town a few times on the company bus. The boys love the bus and when we see it around camp now they beg to ride it.
Pictures soon. I'm still a little unsure about where we can take photos. I'm unsure about a lot of things here. This is a BIG change for our family and I've had several moments where I have wanted nothing more than to get back on a plane and go home to Houston. Then a few moments where I think, it will get better. I'm grateful for the people we have met here, they have made all of the difference and are helping to ease the transition.
More posts coming soon.
Our Oama phone is up and running as well. Feel free to call us on our Idaho number. We are 8 hours ahead of Houston.
Much Love, A