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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!