I am going to slowly keep adding to this as I have time.

This blog has taken off in ways I never imagined! THANK YOU!!  As a result I am finding that with specific questions sometimes it is easier for me to answer these via email then on a public form.  If you have a specific question or would like to correspond in a more private manner please leave me a comment with your email address in it.  I will NOT publish any comments that have an email address in them!  I have to approve all comments so I will just copy your email and then deny the comment which will delete it so that no one other then me sees it.  Hopefully for some this makes it easier.
  • A rather personal question, did your family/friends think you were completely crazy for even considering living in Saudi?
    • Yes my friends and family thought I was crazy for coming here so still do.  A lot still do.  In a way that bothers me somewhat but I am coming to realize they just think of Saudi how the U.S. media has portrayed it which isn't good.  There is a lot more to this place.  I'll be the first to admit I never saw myself living here.  For that matter I never wanted to live outside the U.S. I have been pleasantly surprised at how well I have adjusted and am enjoying it.
  • Do they have extra security when things are happening in other areas of the Middle East, such as the unrest/revolt in Libya?
    • You will never see much of the security that is going on unless you leave the camp and drive back in.  When things flared up in Bahrain we saw beefed up security at the front gates meaning they had on body armor, carried machine guns and searched every vehicle regardless if you had the compound pass.  Whe it is lighter they are there with just a side arm and wave us through without having to be seached.  Most of the security goes on behind the scenes.  We aren't notified about what they are doing or what the specific threats are.  We go in and out of the compound weekly and I have never felt unsafe.  I take the kids out into town by myself using the buses and taxi's and everyone is very nice.  In my opinio I am in no more danger here from a fanatical than I was in the States.  You have crazy people everywhere if anything I think there is less of them here because of how strict they are on punishment.  Also the American Consulate is close although I feel the compound is more secure. 
  • Is there anything that you can't import?
    • The only things I know are alcohol, porno, Bibles and pork.  They have only opened one box that we have shipped over and they didn't take anything just looked through it.  
  • What do you typically wear around camp?
    • On camp I wear just what I would in the States.  Sun dresses most of the time in the summer.  My kids wear the same thing they did in the States as well.  You don't need anything special on camp.  Off camp I wear an abaya.  I just leave it in the car and throw it on before we get out in town.  My kids wear what they did in the States.  Most girls don't cover up until they are teenagers and then it is optional with the expats.  Some cover up sooner some never.  I do just because it is easy and doesn't matter.  At the beach I wear a two piece but at the pool I wear one that covers my stomach.  They don't care for the kids.  
  • I noticed that one of your pro's was that your kids were safe to play in camp, do they have a lot of security?
    • The camp is very secure although you don't really see it once you are inside the gates which is nice.  Plus with everyone going through background checks and severe punishment for crime I just don't worry about them.  I would compare it to growing up in the 50s for kids.  Where they could just go and be kids and the parents didn't worry about them.  Everyone knows everyone and the kids know if something happens to get the parents closest to them.  In the States we never let them out of our sight so it was an adjustment to let them have more freedom here. 
  • Is there any food you can't get there?
    • The only two things I haven't been able to find are angle food cake mix and miracle whip.  Actually we found both once but haven't seen it again.  The only food I took back on my last trip to the States was spaghetti mix packets.  The spaghetti is only because we are really picky eaters and don't like the Italian kind they have over there.  You can find most things there but have to learn to buy in bulk when you do because it might not be back for a while.  
  • Do you have to cover your head when you go out?
    • No, I do not cover my head when I leave the camp.  I do wear the abaya (black dress) just because it is easy.  
  • Can you bring your pets?
    • YES, you can bring two pets.  There are some dog breeds that are banded but most are allowed in.  It is a lot of paperwork but isn't difficult to do.  I can walk you step by step through it if you send me an email.  See above on how to do that.  We brought two dogs and they didn't even look in the cages just at the paperwork.
  • How is the internet access?
    • We have fiber to our home not all on camp do.  We have no issues with internet.  It is slower then the States but not too horrible.  You are not really going to notice it.  We are able to stream live TV from it and movies from Netflix without any problems.  You will need a wireless router.  The entire home runs on wireless.  There isn't plugs for you to plug into. 
  • House wise what should you bring?
    • We chose to bring almost everything from our house.  We moved from a 3400 sq ft house to a 2400 sq ft home.  We didn't bring our dinning room set, and one bedroom set.  We still brought 3 full bedroom sets, two living room sets, our kitchen table and all our household items.  They all fit in our home here.  These homes are bigger then you realize.  If you had it in the States you will want it here.  Make sure to bring your holiday decorations as you can't find them here and they are put up all over camp for each one.  Everything from St. Patricks day to Halloween, Valentines day and more.  If it was celebrated in the stores in the States it is decorated with here!  
  • What have you realized you wanted/needed and brought back with you on visits home?
    • Garage door opener; ceiling fan, wine glasses, tire patch kits, deep fryer, steam cleaner (small portable one), scale (for weighing yourself, they are all in kg here).  They probably have this stuff here somewhere but it was just easier to fly it back then go searching for it here.  


  1. Hey,
    I found your blog accidentally while i was surfing some Aramco pages.

    I would like to tell that you are having an amazing experience, and I am amazed/happy for your new home.

    Honestly I did not think an American would look at Saudi from this perspective, even me as a Saudi/American I did not look at my life here the same way you do to yours.

    I hope you will have your best times in Saudi, and I hope we as Saudis will make a good reputation about Saudis, regardless of the media and the uneducated people.

    I know you maybe did not interact with many Saudis, but if you have any question about the culture/people or anything, there are many Saudis in Aramco camp that you can ask (I lived there in the past), and they are really nice people.

    Have fun and wish you the best and your family as well.


  2. Thanks for this comment. We are meeting more and more Saudi's as we are here longer. People are the same no matter where you are. You have some that are jerks and others that are very sweet. The same can be said for here although I haven't run into the jerks. I have found Saudi's to be very giving and respectful something all of us could be more of. I am assuming you are now in the States. I hope your experience there is as nice as mine here!

  3. That's great!
    No, actually I am now working in Saudi. I lived in the US for the last 8-9 years. My experince was great,I lived in 3 states, travelled to 15 states and 4 states of Canada as well. It was truly an unforgetabble experince...Loved it.

    Good luck!

  4. So grateful to have found your blog on the aramco expats forum. We are moving to UDH in August of 2012 and I love reading about someone who is living there now. Thanks for sharing the appreciation of the country as well.

  5. I am the mother of a daughter moving to UDH and this is very helpful to me. She may be a grown woman with a husband and daughter of her own, but I still worry everytime she sets off to a new country. This has been extremely helpful in helping settle my concerns. It even makes me want to visit and see for myself.

  6. Excellent blog! We are grandparents coming soon to visit our son, d-in-l, and grandchildren. You have given us the best picture yet of what it is like in Saudi for ex-pats. We are also from Houston. Did have concerns when son's family moved there, but see now that all is fine with them there. Except we miss them terribly, of course.
    Looking forward to seeing it for ourselves. Thanks, again.

  7. GrandmaG,

    Glad you are enjoying the blog. This is a wonderful place to raise a family. Hope you enjoy it here and maybe we will get to meet while you are in kingdom. Wishing you safe travels!!

  8. Thank you so much.I move to Saudi on friday, and even my friend who lives there has not prepared me like you have.Thanks again.You have made my transition much easier.I am only curious as to how you have acquired so many photos-i have been told not to take photos of Saudis-is this accurate information??I have a big interest in photography like you and would be really excited to capture photos similar to your own.

  9. Hi, You are probably already in Saudi. I have been OOK (out of kingdom) and away from internet. Please send me your email I will not publish it. Will fill you in on the ins and outs of photography here. It isn't as restrictive as they make it out to be at ASC. What camp are you on?

  10. Our son and daughter-in-law have just arrived in Saudi, yesterday. Will teach at one of the schools. I love that we can see how they will be living and the area within the compound. thank you for the blog.
    Anne Thompson

  11. I've heard and read in many places that you are allowed to bring a Bible for personal use. Can you please confirm this for us as it important to us that we can bring our Bibles with us.


    1. Send me your email. I will not publish it. I prefer not to answer this on a public forum.

  12. Considering a position with ARAMCO. My wife and I would move. We have a daughter in college for the next three years. Is she allowed to visit? If so, how long may she stay with us?

    1. Yes your daughter will be allowed to visit. Aramco will even give you a travel allowance to allow her to come to Saudi Arabia. I believe they pay for three trips although I may be off on that number. I believe she is allowed to stay for up to three months at a time although I am sure your recruiter could better answer this question.

  13. I really enjoyed readying your whole blog for fun, I am a Saudi and ur information about Saudi were very accurate.

  14. My question is about cell phone coverage. We currently have verizon. Is that available? I called verizon and they couldn't tell looking at the map. Might seem like a silly question but we have verizon now and would like to get our daughter the iphone for Christmas. But if we move and we don't have coverage with our current provider, we don't want to go through the hassle.

    1. Verizon is not an option here. There is only STC and Mobility no US companies. If you get an iphone you will have to have it unlocked. It can be done as there are numerous places over here that can do it in the souk. Once unlocked any of the providers here will work with it.

  15. I love your blog...my wife and i have applied for teaching positions and are waiting to hear back. Do you know any teahcers currently working in the schools there? We would love to get in touch with someone who might be able to give us the inside scoop on which positions are open or might be filled already. Cant thank you enough for this info and the pictures are great! Thanks for anything you can do.

  16. Hi

    I found your blog while I was searching around for living in KSA

    My husband got an offer as sched Engineer III from Saudi Aramco and I was confused whether we should take it or not as we have 2 kids aged 9 and 5

    The reviews throughout the net had made me totally confused but I thought maybe u can help as u are staying there I also wanted to know about the internet connection


    1. If you send me your email (I will not publish) I can answer all this via email.

  17. Geoff- Please send me your email and I will respond to your question about single life on camp. I will not publish your email. Thanks!


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