Pros and Cons

I did this at six months on my family blog.  I realized it may be helpful to some so here it is.  So here are my likes and dislikes of Saudi Arabia six months in.  I will do this again at a year and see what has changed.  They are not in order of rank just how they popped into my head.   I have included some pictures and video below.


Pros:
  • Family Time-  We have a lot more of it and do a lot more as result together.  Everything is close and the weekends aren’t reserved for household chores like they were before.   They are for us to enjoy.  This is partly due to the fact that I am not working and can do them during the week.
  • Lunches- Both kids come home for lunch every day as well as my husband.   It is nice to see everyone in the middle of the day.
  •  Beach- We are beach people and they have a nice beach.  I’ve have always told my husband it would drive me crazy to be on a beach with no shells thankfully that is not the case here!  There isn’t a time I go out that I don’t find some really cool ones! 
  • Husband's Job- He is enjoying his job which means he is happier and less stressed plus he works less.  Another benefit is work doesn’t come home.  No blackberry or laptop for work, once he is gone he is gone.
  • Ringo- We love our parakeet.  We have named him Ringo.  He comes daily to eat and is a lot of fun to see. Since this originally posted on my family blog we are up to 5 parakeets!
  • Weather- The winter was mild compared to the States but still cold enough.  I am not a fan of cold weather so I am enjoying the heat.  We will see if that continues.
  • School Calendar- They call it year round school but I think they get more time off then we do in the States.  They start Sept 12 and end June 30 but they then have three weeks at Christmas, three weeks in March/April and a week over the second eid which changes yearly and is a Muslim holiday after Ramadan. 
  • Cans that don’t need a can opener- I have barely used my can opener here.  Green bean cans, etc all have the lid that just peels off like a coke can.  It is nice!
  • Kids Freedom- The kids can play outside without 24/7 supervision.  If they want to go see their friends they just get on their bikes and go.   They get to be kids, exploring, playing, and learning like we did as kids.  They walk themselves to school, parks, Awana and more. 
  • Kid’s Friends-  There are a zillion kids here and it is nice that the kids have made so many friends.  It is also cool to see them interact with so many kids from so many different places.  It is amazing that kids don’t see color or race just the inside qualities of a person.  I hope they hang onto this quality a really long time!  I also think it will make them more tolerant of others as they get older! 
  • Jebels- We all enjoy having these on the camp.  It is fun to take the dogs out to run while we climb, look for geodes and just enjoy being outside on them.
  • The King-Love the two month pay bonus he gave us this year!
  • Camp- Our camp is amazing.  I wish I knew a good way to describe it.  It is 11 sq miles.  We have four swimming pools, more soccer and baseball fields than I can count, cricket field, horse farm, bmx, skate park, movie theater, bowling alley, restaurants, library, grocery store, and a zillion parks to name just a little bit of what is on here.  It is like living in a nice resort town in Arizona.  That is the feel it gives off.  The streets are lined with palm trees, we have a green grass golf course (the only one in Saudi Arabia), grass in all the yards and trees, and they are constantly working on keeping it clean.  My thought before coming was a small walled compound like we have seen in Khobar.   Thankfully that is not the case I feel bad for those people and question how they could live here like that.  This camp makes it very nice! 
  • Short Commutes- Because our daily life is confined to the camp everything we do with the kids is close.  It doesn’t take more than 8 minutes to get anywhere on camp which is nice.   
  • Adventure­- I don’t know a good way to title this.  But we now live in the Middle East.  Not a thought most people would think is a good thing.  I had some people tell me I was crazy for coming here.  Well we are here and loving it.  We have seen so many cool things here in Kingdom already and are looking forward to seeing even more as the year goes on and Bahrain settles down.  I never would have thought Saudi and Bahrain would have so much to see from a historical and natural beauty perspective and look forward to seeing more.
  • Camels-  Not in town but once you get out of town on the highways there are camels everywhere.  We have had to go around them on the road (only once) but they are all along side it.  It is pretty cool!  They are like cows are in the States.
  • Travel- We are looking forward to our 3.5 week family vacation in Europe this summer!  We are also looking forward to traveling over the eid’s and future years.  This was one of the big reasons for us to come and we are excited!
  • Schwarma Night- We love heading over to get food and see who we run into.  It is a nice way for the kids to play and us to visit with our friends and meet new people.  Plus I don’t have to cook and the food is good and really cheap.  We eat for 45 SR which is $12.  You can’t even feed a family fast food in the States for that cheap!
  • Gas- Is $0.45 cents a gallon here for 91.   It takes $8.00 to fill up the car! 91 is the lowest they sell.  95 is the premium.
  • Homework- We spent hours in the States doing homework with the kids and fighting over it.  We had spelling test each week starting in first grade, math and more.  Here we have maybe one jolly rancher question a week which the kids want to do to earn the candy!  It is a nice change and great that they have time to be a kid!
Cons:
  • Grocery Carts- I know this one seems silly but trust me be thankful for the carts that you can just pull/push from either direction and they go where you want them to.  All four wheels on the carts here turn complete circles which makes steering them impossible.  They go sideways if they feel like and are a mess.
  • Abaya- I deal with it and really it is not that bad just a hassle to remember when you are as forgetful as me.  If you don't know that is the black dress .
  •   Drivers- They are horrible drivers here.  They pass on the left shoulder turn from 3 lanes over, get over into your lane without even looking so you have to slam on your brakes not to hit them, and don’t drive in a lane just to name a few.  Most of the really good examples I don't have video of them when I remember to take it with me they drive normal so this is mild compared to what we actually see.
  •  No Women Drivers- This is frustrating because it means I am stuck on the camp unless I take a taxi or bus.  The buses haven’t worked will for me this year because of having a kindergartner.  Kindergarten gets out at 10:40 for a two hour lunch and the bus don’t start returning to camp until 10:30 so I wouldn’t be able to get back in time.  The buses also don’t leave until 9:00 and don’t normally arrive at the groceries until about 9:20-9:30 depending on traffic so I would only have about 30-40 minutes to shop before I needed to get a taxi back.  It just hasn’t seemed worth it yet.
  • Political Unrest- This was a big decision for us and we looked at how stable and secure this region had been before coming.  Then to get here and be here such a short time before things went nuts around us is frustrating.   A lot of things we had planned on doing regionally have been put on hold indefinitely.
  • Unpredictability of Items-  I stock up on lots of things when I see them like dog food, Diet Coke, cereal, and chips to name a few.  There is no way to know for sure if they will have what you want when you go to get it.   I have walked into the commissary to get milk to find their entire cold case empty.  They were out of Diet Coke in 2L bottles for 3 weeks.    Toy’s R Us had girl bikes my daughters size three weeks before we wanted one but the day we took her to get one they had none.   We are learning to buy things as we see them and horde them! The 22 bags of Dog food are an example.
  •  Salt Water-We have two types of water here in the house.   Sweet water or drinking water which only comes out of one tap in the kitchen.  The rest of the house including the laundry and showers is fed with raw water (higher salt content).   It takes a bit for your skin and hair to get use to. 
  • Lines-  There is a running joke here “the Saudi Line” it means 8 wide 1 deep.  They don’t understand or follow the concept of a line.  They just keep going wider not deeper.  It gets frustrating when you are in a car because they will be less than an inch from ours and it comes down to who has more nerves of steel to move forward without hitting another car.
  • Prayer Times- You have to plan our outings around these.  Everywhere closes for prayer regardless of if there are customers in the store or not.  They  will actually kick you out for prayer time or lock you in and prayer times are different each day so you have to look them up before going. 
  •  Store Hours- Most stores here open in the morning for a bit until noon time prayer then close until 4:00 in the afternoon.  So any shopping you might want to do in that time is impossible.  They then open up again at 4:00 until really late at night.  So if you miss the morning shopping time or just run out of time you are stuck waiting until 4:00 to go back out into town. 
  • Foreigners-  My interaction with actual Saudi’s is very limited.  They don’t live by me and they don’t work in most shops I visit.  The Bangladeshi and Filipino workers are everywhere and who I have more interaction with.  They drive the taxis, run the shops, are the nannies, house keepers, lawn men and basically do everything in this country.   This country wouldn’t function without them. 
  • Trash- Camp is nice but off camp especially in the deserts is like a giant junk yard.  They just throw things wherever.  It is very nasty looking and sad. 
  • Shamals- Dust storms.  They seem to have them all the time.  It is annoying because everything outside gets covered in sand.  I am not much of a cleaner to begin with so I finally just gave up on the car and windows.  When I can’t see any more I clean them.  
  • Pork- I didn’t realize just how much pork we ate until we moved here.  While this has not been a huge deal it is a minor inconvenience.  Luckily we have been given several things of bacon and sausage from one of the kids’ friends mom.  She is my "pork supplier".  
  •   Pool- The kids don’t seem to mind but I miss our pool.  I miss being able to swim without a zillion people around and wear a bikini.  (The rules here say you have to be in a one piece, stomach covered two piece, although it depends on the day if they are going to enforce it.)
  • Medical- This is another that should go in both.  It is a pro because it is completely 100% free.  I am putting it in the con because it is an annoyance to me.  This is the one place that I see Saudi's.  They love the doctors office.   All the women completely covered in black sitting in our "women only" waiting rooms.  The men have their own and we are not allowed.  This is when I feel like I am out of my element.
  • Jets-  We live right next to the Saudi Air Base and they like to fly their F-15's & F-16's.  This really bothered me my first few weeks here but it is somewhat like a train.  Once you get use to them you don't really hear them if you are inside.  That being said if you are attempting to do anything outside they are very very loud!  Luckily they don't really fly them at night or on the weekends so it is not that big of a deal more of a minor annoyance.  On the positive note they are cool to watch.
  • The in between feeling of being here and it not really feeling like home yet and not having a home in the States.  Well technically we own four but they are currently being leased.

Pros & Cons 1 Year later!

A little over a year in here are the things that I love and hate about living in Saudi Arabia most haven't changed from the six month status.  I gave a brief description below. 

New Stuff Pros:
  • Entertaining- This goes in both.  I enjoy going to all the dinners, get together's and parties but I am not an entertainer.  I hate cooking and don't enjoy having to come up with something to bring.  I don't cook and I don't like most things so trying to figure out what to bring to a get together drives me nuts!  I also didn't bring my good stuff so I don't really have anything nice to put stuff in over here.  It is driving me crazy!
  •   Medical-  Since we have had medical issues this year I have learned how AMAZING medical is here!!! We have WONDERFUL doctors who have access to the Mayo Clinic where most of the testing goes and it is all FREE!!!  I can't brag enough on the medical here!!!  
  • Friends- We have made some wonderful friends who we spend a lot of time with.   We are enjoying meeting all the great people here.  
  • Activities- Our weekends are packed with stuff to do.  From sand rose digging, to sailing at the beach, camel farms, desert driving and more.  There is always something going on.  While it is a bit overwhelming at times it makes for a ton of fun and lots of memories!! 
  • Saco World-  This is a new jumbo hardware, furniture, walmart type store close to us.  Tom loves it because he can now just run up and get a shovel or whatever he needs.  It is nice!
  • Memories- There is no way I can even begin to describe how many different experiences and memories we have made in only a year.  I can't imagine what my kids sense of reality will be as they get older.  To listen to them talk to their friends after a break just makes me smile.  It goes something like this.  "Where did you go?"  Answers: Thailand, Turkey, Sir Lanka, Nepal, Austria, India, France, London, Oman, Dubai, and so on.  Then it launches into what they each did there: "Elephant rides, snorkeling, Eiffel Tower, Souks, Skiing, etc."  This is their reality!  I didn't even leave the U.S. until I was a teenager.  Hopefully it will make them appreciate all they have and how lucky they are!
  • Ringo- We are up to 15 that come daily!!! 
  • Camels- Other then the one that kicked me in the head!
Cons:
Resolved since last time: 
  • Grocery Carts- This one is moving to a non issue.  They renovated the Tamimi over the summer complete with new carts.  It is like walking into a Safeway in the States.
  • Jets- Don't notice them any more.  
Additions or more info:
  • Unpredictability of Items-  The running joke withe the women here is we are horders.  They could do a hording show on us! 
  •  Salt Water- Supposedly we will have sweet water through out the house by years end!  Inshalla!  (God willing)
  • Distance from family

55 comments:

  1. We are possibly coming to live in Dhahran next fall. I have a question regarding the water quality. Can you bring purifiers from the States to filter the salt out of the water? Also I am a Hispanic/Mexican-american woman(2nd generation) married to Anglo-american. I am wondering when out shopping (outside of the compound) will I be treated differently? Should my husband be accompanying me to make things easier? We are from Houston and I do like to shop. One last question, my son is on a gluten-free diet, is it hard to buy these types of items in the grocery store? Just curious. Your blog is very helpful, especially the pro/con section. We are excited about the adventure and all that goes with it.

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    1. I too have family members who need to eat a strict gluten free diet. We are coming from the united states and are VERY curious about the availability of gluten free food. please respond and let me know your experiences and the difficulties you have over come. Thanks. Lon

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  2. I also came from Houston! There are lot of Hispanic women here married to Anglo's. It won't be an issue for you! When you go out you will be treated the same as every other expat that leaves the compound. The unifying indicator is not covering your hair. It immediately lets them know that you are a western expat. Myself and most women on this compound travel outside it on our own without any problems. You will not need your husband with you once you are comfortable.

    As far as the water goes. They are in the process of converting the camp to sweet water which should be done by the time you arrive next year so it shouldn't be an issue for you.

    As for your sons diet there are lots of people here on the gluten free diet. It can be done. I am sorry I am not able to expand on that further.

    If you leave me your email I can respond more to you. I am attempting to keep this somewhat anonymous. All comments have to be moderated by me before being published so I will not publish your email if you feel you want to go that route. I will just be able to see it without it ever becoming public. Also the Aramcoexpats.com forum is another great source. Best of Luck to you!!

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  3. We are also from Houston and looking at possibly accepting an offer from Aramco within the next few weeks.

    It is great to see all of the pros & cons listed in your blog, as that is exactly as we are weighing our decision.

    I have two questions for you. I see that you were buying dog food, are you allowed to bring your pet with you? Everything that I have read has mentioned that they must be classified as a "working dog," is this true? If we absolutely had to leave our pet behind, we would, but we know that it would be difficult for us.

    Also, can you please let me know more about the internet access as well as if there are any fabric shops in the near area? My home business has centered around these two luxuries, and am curious to know if I will be able to continue it once we move.

    Thanks so much, I look forward to hearing your insights!

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  4. You can bring your pets. It is just a lot of paperwork. I can give you the details if you send me your email. See comment above on how to do that without be publishing it. There are lots of pets here. I will say that while they allow them and you see tons of dogs around most people are terrified of them. I mean the domestic help and workers. That was a big change coming from the States but isn't a big deal. We still take our two dogs out to the jebels to run and walk them around camp. They didn't come in as working dogs they came in as "guard dogs". There are a few breads that are band but they are mostly small dogs. I know some people that brought their small dogs in via Bahrain and drove them across without issue. Do give yourself enough time to get all the paper work done. It took me about two months. It isn't hard just a lot of waiting once you send it off to different places to get it back.

    On to the internet access and fabric. There are TONS of fabric shops here! They are everywhere and carry pretty much anything you could want. The internet for us is slower then the States but not bad. We have fiber to the home and use it to stream netflix, cbs, and such from the States without issue. Uploading and downloading can take a bit longer then you are use to in Houston but it isn't bad. Whatever you were into in Houston you should be able to continue here!

    Please let me know if there is anything else I can answer. Best of Luck to y'all!

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  5. Thanks,

    You have answered so many of my questions.

    I was in the UAE until January and my kitty is still there with friends. We have no trouble finding cat food at Lulu's or Carrefour. Do you have either store nearby?

    Thanks,
    Sherri

    Sherri

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  6. Yes we have a Carrefour at the Rashid Mall. They like cats a lot more than dogs. We have seen cat food every where. The dog food we normally see is made in Africa and my dogs refuse to eat. When we found the good stuff we stocked up.

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  7. I really appreciate this blog. It has lots of very practical and useful information. I'm a single American and have a tentative offer to work in Dhahran beginning in February. I've been assigned a GC-13 rating, and my contract shows a deduction for rent at $116 monthly (estimated for a 1-bedroom, unfurnished). My question is this. What "style" of accomodation will I get assigned? I know there are townhomes, studios, and bungalow-style housing available for single people. Does a person's GC level have any bearing on the style of housing they get? Can I request a two-bedroom unit or am I just stuck with what I'm given?

    Just one other question. How does Saudi Aramco deal with the shipment of one's houshold effects (e.g. furniture from the States to the Kingdom). Will they ship my furniture at their expense or would that be out of my own pocket? I've heard that all prospective employees there get a shipping allowance based on their GC status. What's the real deal?

    Thanks,

    Paul

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  8. Paul,

    You will probably be in a town home. They are two stories withna small yard. Floor plans are on the housing post. Yes your GC rating affects that and is why I am guessing you are in a town home. You will earn points and eventually be able to bid on a two bedroom but it will be years.

    For the shipment you can choose cash in lieu where they give you money and you ship yourself or they will pay to ship your stuff. It is a weight allowance but is more then enough as long as you aren't bringing lots of books, rocks, èct. We had our entire house from the States shipped by Aramco. It took about 2.5 months to get there and we only had a few things broken which they offered to fix and gave us money for. Our ebox which holds 400 lbs took about 3 weeks to arrive.

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    1. Paul, if you are in a 700 square foot unit on Mint or Mango, you will probably have a 2-story "townhouse" with a living/dining and kitchen on the bottom floor and a bed and bath on the top floor. You will have a small patio (concrete tiles) outside the front door, with a small separate room for your washer/dryer and a bit of storage. Most of the patio is partially shaded by an overhead wooden deck (off the bedroom). There will be a wooden gate/fence at the edge of your patio to give you privacy. If you are in a corner unit, you may have a slightly larger patio area. Also, some people pay to enclose the downstairs and/or upstairs open areas to give more indoor living space. If you are in a 700 square foot unin in the Abqaiq Court/Harmaliyya, Qurrash area [sic -- sorry about my spelling], the layout is similar, but you may have a strip of dirt in which you can plant some flowers or vines inside your privacy fence. I believe there are a few slightly larger plans, and you might also get lucky and get an 850 square foot unit, in which case you get an extra little downstairs "study" room. (If you end up in a 500 square foot unit, it will be all on one floor, and the bedroom and bath will be accessed by going through the kitchen.) If you are coming in as a grade code 13, this may technically be "temporary housing," and you'll be eligible to bid on something larger once you have accumulated some housing points. (If you are a man with a grade code of 11 or 12, you'll probably have to spend two years in this unit before bidding on something larger) If you convert to "married" status, in which case you'll go into married housing. Don't laugh -- there are lots of single women here in all ages from 20s up through late 50s, and a new single man in the neighborhood may get a LOT of attention. (If you're not interested in women, you also have many opportunities -- but of course we can't talk about that openly since it is technically not an option here.) Your first housing assignment is made for you; after that, you can bid on the unit you want.

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    2. Love the comment about new single man in the neighborhood! LOL. That is my single biggest concern. I have lived in a few places around the world. I am a bachelor in the my late 40's and will be arriving in May 2012. This is my single biggest concern. Sorry, I am a red-blooded American male!

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    3. You will be just fine!! There is a very large, active bachelor group on camp. Lots to do and get involved in. Welcome to the sand box!

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  9. Thanks Saudiexpat. I have read various websites and seem many suggestions. Would anyone care to responds to different spin on the following question: Can someone list the top 5 things an older male bachelor should bring over? Perhaps I will receive sarcastic answers. That's ok. lol. However, eventually I would like a serious response :) I have a ton of extra space in my shipping container. I did not want to take the cash in lieu.

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  10. I am 99% sure that I responded to this in a pm on the Aramcoforum. If you weren't the one asking for what to bring to sale let me know and I will respond again. Hopefully someone else can respond as well!

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  11. Thanks but that was not me

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  12. Send me your email please. Some of this I don't want on a public forum. Won't publish. As far as some of the things to bring: any hobbie you are into, golf, scuba, tennis, running, etc bring that stuff. All the clubs are huge here! Computer, laptop, vpn, large TV, comfy sofa, ceiling fans. There is a list I can email you as well as a few other tips. I can also give you the email for a single guy over here you can bounce questions off.

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  13. Please send me you email again. I accidentally deleted it before I copied the email. So sorry!!!

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    1. sbcglobal.net your email is bouncing back as not valid. Try and send it to me again and I will get you those list. :)

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  14. Hello, I'm a Palestinian expat in Dammam. I liked your blog a lot.
    I liked the fact that you note every detail, like the driver's craziness. I laughed at the "8 wide 1 deep" line theory :-)
    I was watching things around me with a similar since the first and the second year of my residence here. Then I think we get used to this mess with time.
    I expect, if you stay for more few years and go to the states, you would miss breaking the lines and would love to try crossing the whole highway lanes :-) (joking)
    I like your photos and like all those who have this hobby... I like visuals in general, and like to experiment most of photography techniques. Hope you like my flickr gallery at http://www.flickr.com/izzeddeen

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  15. Izz,

    I LOVE your photos!!! They are beautiful!! I am not a photographer just take enough that some come out. :) We are loving our time over here. I am attempting to capture as much of it as I can. I need to see more of Dammam. I have not spent much time there. Thank you for sharing your photostream!!

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  16. Hi- My wife, 4 kids and I are relocating to Al Khobar in the next few months. I work for a company that is a contractor for Aramco, so unfortunately we cannot live on the Dhahran Compound. We will likely be ing the Al Rushaid Village in Al Khobar. My question for you is can my kids participate in any of the sporting activities that Aramco puts on, particullarly baseball? Do you know of anyone that I could call to discuss this? Thank you for your help...

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    1. Please send me your email will not publish. Don't want to publish on here. Thanks!

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  17. Do you know if the schools offer volleyball or cheerleading with the girls???

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  18. Thank you so much for your blog. It's very useful.My husband is in the process of accepting an offer to work in Dhahram and we're looking forward to the adventure.

    I have a question about the separate male/female waiting rooms in the hospitals. We will most likely start a family while there and I'd like for my husband to be able to accompany me to doctor appointments during my pregnancy. Will that be possible? What if one of us is sick and the other needs to be there to comfort them while we wait to see the doctor.

    Thanks for your feedback.

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    1. Please send me your email. I will NOT publish!! I don't want to answer this on a public forum and can also put you in contact with several women that just recently had their kids here.

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  19. Hello, we are moving to Dhahram in a few months. I have a son who is 13yrs old and twins (boy/girl) who are 10. Are the schools good there? My children are very active in baseball, basektball, dance etc. Is there plenty to do there? I am hopeing that they will have an easy adjustment once we get there.

    Thank You! Awesome blog!

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    1. Send me an email address. I will not publish it. I have a good friend who has twins (boy/girl) the same age as yours. The schools are FANTASTIC!!! Baseball is HUGE here! They also have basketball and dance. There is a zillion things to do as a family here. Will send more but not on this public forum. Best wishes on this big move!

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  20. What about shopping? My husbands company won't pay to move our household items,and I prefer not to use some of the stuff that will be supplied for us,ie dishes,glasses,sheets,etc. Where can I go to make our house more of a home? Also,I love my Keurig,can I buy one over there? What about flights to the states are they expensive? We will be leaving behind our older children and a granddaughter and I would like to come back as much as I can. Thank you for the info.

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    1. Hi, I am assuming you are not moving with Aramco. There are numerous stores here to get your household items. We have Ikea, Pottery Barn and numerous other ones. I have not seen Keurig yet over here. Flights to the States are about $1000-1500 depending when you go and how willing you are to look around. I have gotten them for as cheap as $850 but only once.

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  21. We are planning to move to Dahrhan in a few months...I have 3 and 4 year old kids and I am anxious to learn what school is offered there for them. Also, I have taught gymnastics and tumbling for a long time and am wondering if there is an interest for kids getting lessons or if there is any kind of gymnastics facility there? Thanks!

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  22. Hi,

    We are planning to move to Dhahran in a couple months. I think we will assigned housing in dhahran main camp? Howz the main camp different from Ras Tanura? We are from Houston,TX. Howz the summer heat there? Anything we should carry and be prepared for? How expensive are stuff in general there? What would you recommend as high priority stuff to bring from here. I would really appreciate your feedback on this.

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    1. Please send me an email. It will be easier. I won't publish it. Dhahran is bigger than Ras Tanura and not on the beach. RT is right on the beach but a smaller camp. They have pretty much all the same housing and facilities. Coming from Houston you will be fine here. It is a dry heat until Aug when it finally get humidity. Most families here leave in the summer and this place becomes a ghost town. You manage the heat here like you do in Houston. AC all summer. I have some packing list I can send via email.

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  23. Hello there,

    I went thru this page and did learn quite a bit of living life conditions in Saudi Aramco. I just wanted to check with any of you to see what kind of physician specialists are available there? I am looking for a pediatric dermatologist. Do you think I will be able to come across such specialists?
    Also wanted to know what is the level of teaching in schools? I live in CA and from next year onwards the entire nation is gearing towards commmon core. We are very much in the early stages of the interview process, but I wanted to do my homework from my side.

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    1. There are all the specialist here just like in any major city in the U.S. The pediatric ones are amazing!! The schools here are above and beyond what you get in the US. I can't rave enough about them! If you want more info send me your email address. I will not publish it. I prefer to communicate that way versus the public forum.

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  24. Love your blog. I lived in Saudi as a child when my dad was working for Fluor Corp. I am a female interested in applying for a job there. Do you know of any cases of both parents working for Aramco? We have a 4-year-old.

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    Replies
    1. Females can't work here as a casual. There are a few exceptions to that. Teaching couples who are hired as such being one. The Saudi government is not giving out visas so even if Aramco wants you they can't get the visa to allow you to work. As a wife you need to plan on NOT working. Eventually it may happen but the reality is it will not so you need to be okay with that.

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  25. I am loving your blog and all the information. We are in the process of accepting a position with Aramco and I was wanting your advice on if we should sell most of our furniture here just take the special items, and also should we bring a car, or sell them and buy something used there. We also have a dog, and would love to bring her as well. Lots of questions for you, but did not know how to email you directly. Thank you for your blog it has been very helpful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please send me your email address. I will not publish it. I prefer to correspond via email. I do have a lady that can help with the dog. We brought both of ours as well.

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  26. I have lived on Aramco camp for over 20 years. There have been a lot of changes. Some for the better, most for the worse. A good example is the internet at home. It has been the same performance since day 1. What used to be considered cheap is not anymore. At our house in the US we get 20 to 30 times the speed for 1/2 the cost. The funny thing is that Aramco IT is very proud of their 3Mbits persecond. In Khobar I can get of 20 on my phone
    We have a new contractor at the Comissay. I was looking forward to that, but as far as I can tell, they are not carrying any goods that a North American cares about. I shop at the new Safeway.

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  27. Most of my previous comment was negative, but I seam to have run out of characters. The number one good thing about Aramco is that it is a good and safe place to raise a family. My 4 kids can't wait to come back, with their kids. The weather, while hot in the summer, is beautiful in the winter. Your kids, once they become Aramco Brats, remain that way for the rest of their life. They stay in touch with theirs friends even after 20 years.

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  28. Hello
    I Would like to have more information about bringing our dog With us into Saudi arabia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Send me your email address. I will not publish it.

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  29. Hey i'm a kid moving to al -rakah in a few months and i LOVE basketball do they have any kid or teenage basketball leagues or tournaments
    if so is it competitive

    And will i be able to get nba games in aramco


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes the Middle School has basketball. SAIK U16. You will need a vpn to get the nba games via your computer.

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  30. is that for 16 year olds or is it for all
    what the age group

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  31. Hi, Great blog!

    ReplyDelete
  32. please can you send me information on getting my dogs over there. I have 2 great danes

    ReplyDelete
  33. Check out this lady's FREE service. She is FANTASTIC and can get you all set up if it is possible. Great Danes are currently on the banned list so it is not a given. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pet-Imports-Saudi-Arabia/498597653600920

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hi, I love your blog. Great info!!!
    We are a family of 3, planning to move there next year. My wife is asking me if there are any spas at the Dahrhan compound (mani, pedi, facial,laser,etc).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can get all of those at the beauty salon on camp. There are also numerous people who have home business that do these as well.

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