We’re Moving To Saudi Arabia

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!

 

27 Comments

  • Wendi S says:

    How exciting!! Congrats on your new move. You must keep blogging with plenty of pics!!

  • Kim C. says:

    Crazy excited for you!!! You are beyond insane. But I think you already know that ;)

  • Connie Weiss says:

    Congratulations on your move! We are so excited for your family and the kids miss their friend. Can’t wait to follow your adventures.

  • Corey says:

    I AM SO SORRY!!
    Just kidding I’m sure the benefits will be great. But it is one of the most oppressive countries in the world toward women. You are a brave woman.
    Good luck.

  • Jesi says:

    Wow! Best of luck with everything! What an adventure! We are moving to Wyoming from Oregon and thought that was big! :) Congrats!

  • E B says:

    Yay! I wish I could come too.

  • Sara G Giresi says:

    WOW! I was scared to move to a new county!!! Congrats!

  • Schmath says:

    HOLY COW! So awesome. How safe is it for Americans over there?

  • Keara B. says:

    Holy cow, what a huge change! I’ve always enjoyed your blog posts and can’t wait to read about your Middle Eastern adventures. Best of luck with the move and everything that goes with it!

  • Suzi says:

    So exciting, I can’t wait to hear about your adventures. Good luck and safe travels!

  • Em says:

    I’m glad you get to travel over together as a family before the baby is born!

    • bringthekids says:

      Oh my goodness, me too. We’re cutting things SUPER close, but going over all together really pregnant beats going over by myself later on with FOUR kids!

  • Dan Korth says:

    That’s awesome! My wife and I actually just started talking seriously about moving our family overseas a couple of months ago. We’ll be very interested to follow your adventures. Good luck!

    • bringthekids says:

      That’s awesome. We hope it’s going to be a great thing for us. Either way, with how things have worked out, it’s completely clear that this is what we’re supposed to be doing. It will be interesting to see what’s in store for us. Keep me posted about if you guys plan on moving. If you go soon, then our moms can cry together and bond over the fact that they have lost their grandchildren!

  • Heidi says:

    Jessica! That is awesome! I hope you love it! xoxo

  • Michelle H says:

    This is such an inspiration to me and I wish you guys 1000% best adventures. I’ll be eager to start seeing how you make it work for your family over there!.

  • SaraJoy says:

    SO excited for you, Jess! It’s perfect–north africa, the mediterranean, the middle east, turkey, all at your doorstep! What an amazing opportunity. Oh, the people you’ll meet! The experiences you’ll have! The ways your wonderful little family will grow!! Makes my heart happy :)
    PS–I’m coming to visit, k?

  • Ashley says:

    Crazy!! How does your mom feel that 2 of her kids live in the middle east =) Have a great time. Can’t wait to read about your adventures!

  • Kathryn Hardy says:

    Just saw the postings about your new adventure! WOW and WOW again. You and Andrew have a lot of faith to take this step, but I’m so excited for your whole family. I’ll be so anxious to follow your experiences and adventures. We will enjoy the CO mountains (via skiing, hiking and camping) for you while you’re gone.

    Some of us only dream of taking on something like this, so to know someone who is doing is pretty cool. Good luck, be safe and have a fabulous experience!

  • Audra says:

    When we emailed each other late last year; and, you mentioned major international travel, thought it was a vacation trip not a complete move. Yea, that’s major. Good luck with the travel and the settling in. Sounds like you have everything lined up well. We look forward to seeing your posts.
    Audra

  • Lisa Moore says:

    YOU GO GIRL!!! Chris is headed to Qatar for business so I thought I should tune into your blog to check out where you guys are. I’m so happy for you. Looks like your nearing your third week, I hope it’s going great!! I can’t wait to hear the baby #4 stories!!

  • Edgardo Perez says:

    Hello Jessica, I am Edgardo from Mexico and me and my family (2 kids) are also planning to move to KAEC next year. I have been reading a lot about life in KSA and now I am specially interested in “life in a compound”, which seems to be pretty nice with everything we got in Western Cultures.
    Do you have an email where I can write you and maybe share some insights, experiences, etc. now that you have settled down there.
    I will really appreciate your time & support.
    Regards,
    Edgardo P.

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