As most of you know, I moved here to Saudi Arabia a couple of weeks ago after my husband got transferred here with his company (Schlumberger, an oilfield services company). We are in the Eastern Province, on the Persian (or Arabian Gulf...depends on who's looking at it) in the city of Al Khobar.
Getting adjusted to the life and culture here has been interesting. Here are a few facts about the super-conservative Islamic culture here:
1) women can't drive
2) women have to wear long black robes (called abayas) when out in public places...thankfully, Al Khobar is the most liberal city here in Saudi, so we don't have to cover our hair in public like other cities such as Riyadh and Jeddah.
3) there are separate entrances and seating areas to every restaurant and cafe here: one for bachelors, and one for families. Mixing of the sexes is not allowed if you are not married.
4) there are no fitting rooms in any of the clothing stores. you have to go home, try on the clothes that you buy, then come back to return them if they don't fit (this is one I'm going to have issues with)
5) all stores close for the prayer times so the employees can go to the mosque and pray. this poses a bit of an issue when you're trying to shop...
Al and I live in a compound with other Schlumberger employees and their families. We have a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom house that is pretty spacious. Its already furnished, but we're working on decorating it now (which has involved daily trips to IKEA...my new favorite store). In the compound, we don't have to wear the abayas and no Saudi's are allowed in. Its filled with families from all over the world. You basically don't feel like you're in Saudi when you're in the compound. Ours has 2 swimming pools, a restaurant, a tennis court, a supermarket, a gym, a basketball court, a small soccer field, a playground, and a clubhouse. There are buses that take the women out everyday to where they want to go (since we can't effin drive). Our next door neighbors are great and we have made great friends with them. They are a couple our age and the guy works with Al. The girl, May, is sweet and she feels my pain when Al leaves to the rigs for days or weeks at a time since her husband does the same...so its nice to have a support system right next door.
I've met so many interesting people so far and its been really great! My cousin and his wife have been living here for a while so they have helped us get adjusted to life here and its been wonderful having them here with us.
I started class this past Tuesday so I'll be keeping myself busy with that during most days. The past two days I've been out shopping with some of my friends here which has been nice. The malls here are HUGE and have every store you could imagine (which makes me really happy since I've been deprived of my brands while living in Syria for the past year).
Eid, the big 4-day holiday after Ramadan is coming up tomorrow (yay no more fasting!) and I'm hoping that Al doesn't have to go out to a job so we can celebrate together. My cuz (Omar) and his wife (Lina) are thinking about taking a trip to Riyadh for the holiday...so we may go too!
Anyways, thats just a brief summary of what's been going on and what life is like since I moved here to start off this blog. I decided to jump on the bandwagon and start one since everyone always asks me how life is like where I'm living and what I'm doing. So I'll be updating this (hopefully) periodically with all the (hopefully) interesting things I do and come across...I'll also post some pics whenever I remember to take them.
Bye for now!