Our first few weeks and months were quite frustrating at time adjusting to prayer schedules, random store hours, no vehicle, inconsistent Internet, and being stuck in Saudi. The 2nd half of the year was more routine when we bought our vehicle, had a decent Internet connection, and were able to go to Bahrain when we wanted.
We had our trips, but they were not as numerous as our trips when we were in China. I was able to go to a leadership conference in Kathmandu, Nepal, Jamie went to Istanbul, Turkey for a MUN conference, as well as Kenya for a Habitat for Humanity trip. We went to Sri Lanka as well as Turkey for our two trips and enjoyed both.
Overall, Saudi living isn't that much different than living in the US. Exchange churches for mosques, add in prayer times and store closings, get rid of the alcohol, force the women to wear black robes, have very few traffic laws, increase the heat, lower your customer service expectations, add in foreign laborers, and up the security for all housing, and you'd have Saudi Arabia. Similarities include the restaurants (minus pork and alcohol) and overall the general stuff you can buy. There is much more you can purchase in Saudi than in China. Price of gas is about 40 cents a gallon, which is nice, but other products more than make up for it. Electronics are very expensive and random food items can be double the price.
Our next blog post will be the top 10 best things about living in Saudi Arabia as well as the top 10 worst things about living there. It will give you more insight into what we think of living there.
Again, overall, a great experience so far. We have another year on our contract, and we'll see what we want to do after that. We moved into a new villa that has 3 floors, so Griffey is happy because he has more room as well as a fenced in back yard complete with a doggie door.
Check our next posts for those top 10s.