You have probably seen our Facebook post and are wondering exactly where we are going and why.
Here's a bit of a background...
Jeff's new role is called Management & Professional Trainer - he will be training leadership principles to the managers at Saudi Aramco. Lisa is not allowed to work in Saudi Arabia unless she works for Aramco or maybe doing some online job. She will most likely take some time to get used to the culture and enjoy the running paths, gyms, beaches, and free golf...slacker!
A common question we get - what will life be like for Lisa?
Besides not being able to work for any place other than Saudi Aramco, the other major change is that she isn't allowed to drive. No females are allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. As for dress code, she is allowed to wear whatever she wants on the compound and if leaving the compound, she needs to wear long sleeves and long pants. A lot of females will wear shorts and a tank top with an abaya - the long dress-like clothing. You will see the Saudi temperatures below and will understand why she will probably go with the abaya. She doesn't have to cover her head with a hijab, but may wear it off the compound out of respect. As for Jeff, shirts, shorts, and flip flops are OK.
Jeff leaves April 10th and will find us a place to live. We will be on a compound that is secure with a strict mandate (from Lisa) that it includes a gym and pool. Pictures to come! Once there, Jeff will receive his iquama (residence permit for Saudi Arabia). At that point, he applies for Lisa to come over, which should be 60-90 days after his arrival.
Oh ya, Charlie the cat is coming too, $2000 shipping fee later. What a gypsy he is - now he will have lived in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, and Saudi.
We will be living around Dhahran in Saudi Arabia (shown on the map below).
Dhahran is along the Persian Gulf, about 30 minutes to Bahrain and a quick hour flight to Dubai.
As you know, we love to travel and are very excited about opportunities to visit places like Dubai, Italy, Greece, France, Amsterdam, and possibly even Russia. We are very excited to go down to Africa for a Safari and also to the Maldives, which looks like an amazing beach resort destination. We will be sure to blog and post pics from our travels.
Jeff gets 38 vacation days on top of the 13 stat days that Aramco offers. Plus they will pay for us to come home once per year. That means that you haven't seen the last of us yet!
A few facts about Saudi Arabia and working for Saudi Aramco:
- Saudi Aramco is the world's largest petroleum and natural gas company, producing 1 of 8 barrels of oil in the world and accounting for 25% of the world's energy. It's value has been estimated between US$1.25 trillion and US$10 trillion, making it the world's most valuable company.
- Aramco's workforce is 60,000 employees worldwide, including over 10,000 expats from 77 different countries
- Aramco's goal is to bring 1000 expat employees into Saudi Arabia in 2016. In 2015, they moved 661 expats into Saudi Arabia.
- We aren't going on a contract but the average person stays 15 years in Saudi Arabia once moving there
- Saudi temperatures?
Winter (Dec/Jan/Feb) - 7 to 18 degrees Celcius
Spring (Mar/April) - 18-28
Summer (May-Sept) - 44-55
Fall (Oct/Nov) - 18-28
- Their world comes to a 'standstill' during prayer times - 5 times per day for 20-40 each. Luckily, we have an app that shows these prayer times each day.
- The work week is Sunday to Thursday 7am-4pm, so our weekends will be Friday & Saturday.
Many people go over to Bahrain for the weekends for some B&B. That doesn't stand for 'Bed & Breakfast' - that is 'Booze & Bacon'!
a) pork is banned in Saudi Arabia and will be confiscated if caught ... No hot dogs Lisa???
b) alcohol and drugs are illegal in Saudi Arabia. The penalty if caught with either is 1 year in prison including lashings! Yikes. Second offense can include the death penalty!
We've included a few Youtube videos that show life in Dhahran, as well as Ras Tanura, where Jeff will be working. There is also a video from a Canadian explaining her experience living in Saudi.
Thanks for reading this...hope you enjoyed our virgin run with a blog.
Stay tuned for more updates...J&L
All posts are updated by Jeff & Lisa