Sunday, January 23, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions

It's really funny sometimes what people will say to you or ask you about.  All of my co-workers now know about my resignation and my move to the Kingdom.  Many of them have asked sort of the same questions so I thought it might be a good idea to put the answers here.  I am sure if you haven't asked me - you have at least wondered about these questions : )

Q.  Do you have to wear a burqa? Do you have to cover your hair?
A.  While I am living and working on the compound I will dress just like I do today....conservative - no short shorts, low cut tops, body hugging fabrics, etc.  (It is really lucky for my new colleagues that since I don't think they would want to see me in anything like this!!!)  I can wear shorts that are modest and I can wear a modest swim suit to the beach or pool.  Outside the compound I will also need to dress conservatively with loose fitting slacks, long blouses that cover my torso, ankle length skirts, and long sleeves.  I am not required to cover my hair or wear any special clothing.  And in Saudi Arabia the women wear an abaya - it is black with long sleeves to cover your arms and it is long enough to cover the ankles.

Q.  Where will you live?
A.  I will be assigned a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment - with a courtyard and possibly a garage - that is fully furnished including such things as basic linens and kitchenware.  All my utilities will also be included and the rent is very nominal.  The apartment is similar to any apartment you might find in the US.

Q.  What are you taking with you?
A.  Only my clothes, toiletries, and personal effects.  My apartment will be fully furnished and I will be given a cash payment to purchase other items as needed once I get there.

Q.  Is your family going with you???  What about Brian????
A.  My husband and sons were the first to know about this opportunity and were in complete support of the idea before I even accepted the position.  Brian has about a year and half until he can retire and then he can spend up to 2 months at a time with me in the Kingdom.  Chris lives in London and is excited to have a place to visit.  Patrick is going to college in East TN and will also be glad to visit when he can.  I have about 7.5 weeks of time off each year so I can also come home.  The company pays a travel allowance each year that can be used to travel home or have family visit.  Brian and I are confident that we can handle being separated for short periods of time intermittently : )

Q.  Aren't you scared?  It is so unsafe there!!
A.  Of course I am a little nervous about going to a place I have never been before.  And starting a new job is frightening for anyone!!  I am not concerned about safety.  The area is very safe and the security of Aramco employees is a priority for the company.  I don't plan to do anything risky or foolish and I expect I will be safer than I am driving to work each day or traveling to some of the cities I go to now for my job.  No hand guns, no unemployment, and if someone does commit a crime they can be severely punished or deported.  So, literally no crime : )  Also, thankfully, we are not at war in Saudi Arabia and neither is anyone else.

I hope this helps answer some of your questions and concerns.....These are the things I have been asked the most but if you do have other questions you want answered just send me an email at and I will post the answers!

I will covet your prayers for my entire time I live in the Kingdom.  I expect that as a dear friend of mine says - God will have his hand on my head.  There are a lot of things I don't know the answers to and I can't even think of all the questions really but I am sure of one thing - If He leads me to it He will lead me through it!!  More to come as I begin to unfold this amazing journey!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Countdown Begins....

It is real.....I really am going....It still hasn't entirely sunk in!  This week I gave notice to my full-time job (HCA) that I would be leaving in February and I worked my last days at "job number 2" NHC Place Rehab.  I worked with all my good friends on the last day and I realized I am going to miss people I have known for many years!!  The nurses and techs are really good people - they have been great fun to work with on the weekends and the patients are really nice to get to know too.  I am beginning to wonder what I will do if I actually have a weekend off.....which brings me to my next thought - the weekends in Saudi Arabia are on Thursday and Friday since Friday is the Muslim Holy Day.  I wonder how hard that will be to adjust to and if it will feel weird to work on Saturday and Sunday?

I went to church this morning....that might be the single thing (except my family) that I will miss the most.  I really love my church and I love being so free to worship Jesus.  The compound I will be living in has 3 Christian churches, I can bring my Bible, and there are many Christians living there but I am still a little nervous...I can't imagine my life these days without Jesus.  I have prayed about a job and a situation like this one a long time and this has really felt like an answer to those prayers so I am trusting that the Lord will pave the way.  He has already put some amazing people in my life that live and work in the same compound so I will praise him and trust him every day!

My last official day at work is 2/14 and I will leave 2/18.  I have a lot of things to finalize here and not the least of which is packing my office!!!  I have no idea even where to start.  I think I might need a BIG trash can ; )   My Dorie picture "Just Keep Swimming" and my Tim Tebow posters are definitely coming with me though!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

It's Official!

So, about 3 months ago I am hanging out in the exhibit hall of a conference I was attending and I strike up a conversation with a very nice man about working in Saudi Arabia.  I send my resume - just for fun and now I AM MOVING TO SAUDI!!!  I am going to be leading the Quality/Risk Management department for a 400-bed hospital in Dhahran.  I really work for an oil company called Saudi Aramco and this hospital is for their employees and families.  I resigned from my job at HCA - where I have worked for almost 17 years - today.  Kind of bitter sweet really.  I have been there a long time and have made many wonderful friends.  But I am SO excited about this opportunity.  I will be working with people from 50 nations!  Professionally it is a once in a lifetime chance.  And the other opportunities are great as well!

For now, Brian is staying here.  He is almost ready to retire and besides we need to see how this goes.  We still have our house and property to take care of and I couldn't think of getting rid of our dogs.  I have 2 months off each year and Brian can come to visit me for up to 2 months at a time so we will see each other almost as much as we did with all of my travel : )  lol

I am starting this blog site to keep all of my friends and family up to date on what and how I am doing.  I will probably not write much until I get settled but when I am in Kingdom I will try to write a couple of times a week about my adventure.  This is going to be awesome.  Brian and the boys are as excited as I am and we are really looking forward to watching the Lord's plan unfold!  Thanks in advance for prayers - I am not saying this will be easy but I think it won't be that bad  : )

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Waiting for my Visa

I am setting up this blog to share my first year in Saudi.  Right now I am still in the USA waiting for my visa.....