No joke. We are about to head out on our greatest adventure yet – moving our family over to Saudi Arabia. Yes, our winter obsessed, mountain loving family is about to go to where there is lots of heat, humidity, and SAND!
Now before any of you jump to any conclusions, let’s be clear that we’re not
1. Becoming terrorists
2. Going on a religious pilgrimage
3. About to make millions of dollars on oil
Phew, now that we’ve gotten the typical stereotypes about Saudi Arabia out-of-the-way, I’ll tell you a little bit about our story and why we’re about to turn our worlds upside down.
Last June, we started to actively pursue jobs overseas. It was clear that Andrew’s job wasn’t going to be the life-long fit he had hoped it would be and that we would want to move on. Since it’s always been a dream of ours to live overseas with our kids, we thought we’d give it a shot. Although many people think it’s odd, we specifically targeted our search on the Middle East. Although there are MANY places that would be cooler to live, the middle east would provide the financial incentives to not only facilitate lots of family travel (since world travel for a family of 6 is crazy expensive), but would get us far ahead for when we returned to the US. We specifically focused our search on the UAE and Qatar, since they were more westernized and hopefully safer.
In the meantime, we lived in limbo for months. Having never done this before we had no idea how long the process would take. Turns out, it’s crazy long. In fact, Andrew applied for the position he accepted almost 5 months ago and it has taken this long to sort things out. Lots of paperwork, lots of miscommunication, lots of waiting. Basically lots of fun for an overly emotional pregnant woman with 3 little kids Don’t worry, I’m sure I was a delight to be around the whole time (wink, wink)!
Since this process has been so drawn out, we’ve had lots of time to think about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. We realize that this could easily be one of the most influential changes in our families future, and don’t take that lightly at all. Although we thrive off of adventure, we didn’t want this to become just another thrill we were seeking – we wanted it to be something much bigger and more deliberate than that.
Yes, we will have lots of adventures while we’re there.
We’ll get to travel like crazy.
Our kids will get a pretty thorough international experience.
The money is good.
But it’s more than all of that. We’re doing this because of what we hope it can provide for our family in terms of strength and unity. I’ll tell you all about that side of things tomorrow (so check back in).
For now, here’s a little more of the logistical side of things so that you have an idea of what we’re doing:
- We leave on Monday (as in 4 days away), and won’t arrive until Wednesday morning – ouch!
- We sold most of our things – House, cars, furniture, etc. We kept toys, books, clothes, and of course our GEAR STASH! A few things are being stored in Grandma’s basement, but the rest is slowly making its way across the ocean to be reunited with us in a few months.
- We’ve never been there before!!!
- Andrew will be working for a new university called KAUST in their finance department (not teaching).
- We will live within the KAUST compound that contains the university, the schools, shops, grocery, housing…pretty much everything. (It sounds a lot like a military base for comparison)
- I will have lots of restrictions placed on me. Outside of the compound I can’t drive and will be required to wear the traditional abaya. Inside the compound, I can do what I want though!
- The kids will attend an international school that’s taught in English, though they will also learn Arabic there.
- We will be living RIGHT ON the RED SEA! Having always lived by the mountains, I’m pretty excited about that aspect of it!
- We’re planning on living there for about 5 years with trips back to the US every summer.
- Baby #4 WILL be born there!
Here’s where we’ll be, about 100km outside of Jeddah:
Although we are working through a few last-minute jitters, we are really excited to go. More than that though is that we KNOW that this is where our family is supposed to be.
What can you expect from the blog? It will live on, and the adventures will continue. Naturally, we’ll be shifting our focus more towards family adventure travel and more ocean related trips, but there will be plenty to tell you all about (and undoubtably some crazy stories from our adventures). In the meantime, be patient with us as March and April are going to rock our worlds. Not only are we moving to a new country we’ve never been to before, starting a new job and schools, making new friends, learning a new language, buying a new car, and settling into a new house, but we’re also welcoming baby #4 in there. Wish us luck!
It’s a good thing we like adventure!