April 23, 2012

Misconceptions and More Questions

We thought a nice, normal, American looking picture would be a good way to start this post.  You're welcome.

Alright kids.

Hopefully you read our last post where we dropped a bombshell about being pregnant.
.... I mean, moving to Saudi Arabia(Andrew's Note: Haha, all of you who keep asking us about pregnancy!!)  Otherwise, you'll be just a bit lost on this post.  Realize here, we've had 3 months with this information and you've had a week, so we'll give you some more info. 

One thing we've had to remind people (and occasionally ourselves) about quite often is this - It's Saudi Arabia.

Not Iraq. 
Or Afganistan.

We feel like you as a reader should repeat that to yourself for a minute or two, let it really sink in.  It is the safest country in that region.  Really!  (Really!  Again, it's like the flying vs. driving thing...there is statistically much more chance that something will happen to us walking around in Houston than in Saudi.  Aramco has had compounds there since the 1940's and large amounts of Westerners working/living there through The Gulf War (Kuwait is quite close to the compounds), September 11th, the Iraq/Afganistan wars, the Arab Spring, and everything in between.)

On to logistics.  Who doesn't love logistics?!  I can feel my heart-rate getting faster just thinking about it!  (Her heart isn't fluttering for me mind you....but for logistics.)

Our move date is August 4th.  Aramco flies us over with our suitcases.  We get 2 each.  I plan on taking the biggest suitcase I can find...those extra abayas take up room ya know.

Before that, we have a lot to do:
1.  E-box:  Aramco gives your a decent size box per person to ship stuff over that you'll receive in about 2 weeks.  This is stuff that you'll want to have immediately, like your kitchen appliances, vacume cleaner, sheets, towels, etc.

2.  Big Shipment:  Aramco sends our entire house.  (Dorthy anyone?)  And yes... I do mean the entire house (even Chile!.... kidding!  (mm...needed clarification, actually)).  We get something like 10,000 lbs.  And since our house is just THAT big, cough, yea.... we'll probably only use like 2,000 lb, which means everything is coming.  Even the Star Trek Voyager DVDs.  Oh yes... they'll be the FIRST thing packed... mark my words.  (Just watch, though, the customs people will deem them inapropro and take them...then there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth on account of the information contained in this post.)  All our furniture, washer/dryers, lawnmowers, clothes.... etc.  Pretty much if you can't pack it in a suitcase.... it comes.  Downside?  It takes 3-4 months for the big shipment to arrive.

3.  Dogs:  While it would be super convenient for Aramco to take care of this for us.... they don't.  Chile and Won Ton will be accompanying us on our KLM flight, but the amount of paperwork involved to get them on the flight is a overwhelming (As if their care wasn't already.).  So overwhelming, in fact, that Aramco has a manual that they sent us for it.  Really.  Talk about great bed time reading materials.  Lets just say that the dachshunds owe us.  (As if they didn't already!!!)
Don't be deceived by these cute faces.  They've just become our biggest expense!  (As if they weren't already!!!!!!)

 4.  House:  Our house went on the market on Tuesday.  We had 2 offers by Thursday.  ......This was suspiciously easy.....

5.  Cars: We have chosen to sell both cars.  Some people take their cars over there, we won't.  So we'll purchase something cheap once we settle in.  (The temperatures and sand, etc. is really hard on cars.)  The middle school director has already offered to let us borrow his car if we need it, so we're set until we purchase our own.  On the compound there is a very efficient bus service, as well as taxi service to anywhere you want to go both inside and outside the compound.  I (Allison) can drive anywhere on the compound.  I am not allowed to drive off the compound.  I think this makes Andrew very happy.  (I should clarify that it's not because I agree with the country's policy on that, but because the driving over there is nuts.  On the flip side, I generally prefer Allison driving because she has a lot to say about my driving when I drive.  (Allison's note: You suck at driving.) I feel as though we'll both generally avoid driving off camp if we can help it :-) 

6.  Pork:  I know this was #6 on your list of burning questions for the Redmons.  *Cough*  We will not have access to pork on or off the compound.  Sorry kids, no more BLTs.  Turkey bacon? Yes.  (TLTs?!!)  Bacon? No.  Let's just be positive here... our arteries will be that much less clogged!  (My last meal is going to be Pork Belly wrapped in Bacon with Ham sauce and sprinkled with Pork Rinds with Bacon Ice Cream)

7.  Alcohol:  Wow.  This might be the first time I've written this word on the blog.  I feel just a bit devious!  Anyway, the answer is no.  There is no access to alcohol in Saudi Arabia. 

8.  Healthcare:  It's free.  Everything.  Even prescriptions.  There is a huge Aramco hospital, and clinics etc.  No stress there.   

9.  Housing.  Andrew and I are classified as a "family".  Go us.  (Woot.)  So we get a condo/house thing with 2 bedrooms.  It has a little patio/backyard.  I'm sure we'll post much more about it with pictures when we arrive.  Needless to say, I'm pretty sure it is about the same size (minus 1 bedroom) as what we have now.  Cough... microscopic.  But that is fine.  We're used to it!  And we get to bring all of our stuff, so it will feel just like home.... 4 months after we arrive.   : )  Until we arrive, Aramco provides us with kitchen stuff and furtniture for every room.  We're told it looks like it was taken out of a 70s sitcom.  Good times.  (On the plus side, the dachshunds can pee on the corners of someone's ELSE'S furniture for 4 months!!)

And... that about sums it up for the time being.  The next post will be about the culture and community outside the compound.  (By the way, we reserve the right to make amendments to any of this since we have yet to actually experience one single solitary part of what we're talking about :-) 

Here's a preview of next week's post:  Ikea is BIG in Saudi.  Oh, and they don't call it "Saudi" over there.... they say "Arabia"... much more exotic.

Chao!  Wait.... um... dangit! (Ma'a salama!  At least according to Yahoo Answers...)


  1. I do not know what this "chao" is of which you speak, but I know the "ciao" in Italiano can mean either hello or goodbye.