We are three weeks away from leaving so it is crunch time!
We received our flight itinerary today and are scheduled to depart from Houston the night of May 19th and fly into Dubai about 15 hours later where we have a significant layover so we will be getting a room at the airport hotel to allow us to shower, recharge, let Peyton run around and then we have a short flight of just an hour into Saudi however we arrive in the early, early morning which should be interesting but figured that our kids are going to have no idea what time it is so it won't matter too much!
I promised more details.....so here are some of the most common questions that we get when we tell people we are moving to Saudi Arabia.
How long are you going to be there? We are not under a contract that requires us to commit to a certain length of time, however, we have determined that five years allows us to meet our financial goals as well as provide the greatest career development for John. We will reevaluate at that time if we would like to stay longer or come home. There is not a high school for the kids and we have decided that we don't want to pursue the boarding school option so we will be coming home no later than when Peyton enters into junior high so that she has time to adjust back to life in America.
Where are you living? We will be living in Ras Tanura which is a city in the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia, right on the water.
We will be residing the Saudi Aramco Ras Tanura camp which houses around 3,000 people. It is really like a little town complete with a grocery store, medical facilities, gym, community center, pools, restaurants, banking and more. There are all kinds of different house sizes from apartments to four bedroom houses. We will have our own three bedroom house that we pay a minimum rent on but that rent includes all our utilities.
Here is what the house will look like....Are you able to ship your stuff? The houses come furnished with minimal stuff and from what we have been told not very nice since we receive a sea shipping allowance of 12,000 lbs (takes approximately 2-3 months to arrive) and after three months you have to start paying rent on the furniture, we have decided to ship whatever furniture we want over there. And since I really want our house to feel like a refuge from the craziness and unknown and just a place of comfort, I have been buying other things to help make it feel like home such as rugs etc. We also receive 2 boxes at 800lbs total of an air shipment that would arrive in 2-3 weeks. This will be packed mostly with baby/kid supplies. And most likely we will be bringing a LARGE amount of suitcases with us and paying excess baggage in order to bring all the needed clothes, baby supplies, Peyton supplies to make it until our sea shipment comes.
Part of our stress right now has been doing an inventory of everything in our house and sorting it into the different areas. I started an inventory in Excel and then received the shipping forms and have the pleasure in the coming days to copy everything to the shipping forms which are 50 blank lines with a total value at the end of each page so I have a huge stack of them and a lot of work to do in 3 weeks considering I haven't even finished the inventory of the house or purchasing everything I want to take!
Do you have to wear an abaya? I do have to wear the black abaya that covers my arms, body and legs when I leave the camp. I do not have to wear it on our residential camp and essentially have no restrictions on my dress (besides wearing a one piece swimsuit which shouldn't be an issue after having two kids) and can even drive (I can't drive off the camp). However when I do leave I will need to cover up. I do not have to wear a head wrap and will just carry one with me in case if the religious police ask me to cover my head. I ordered a plain abaya online to wear for when I first get there and then I am planning to look for a nicer one there.
Alright...that is all I can think of right now and I have a long list of things to get done for the day!