Saturday, July 26, 2014

The End....and the Beginning!

At Taif mountain, watching the sunset. That's a rare photo of me
with my head covered! I usually wore just the abaya.
     It has been one full year since my family and I have moved back to the US from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. I have had much time to reflect on my experiences while I was there, but I am finally taking the time to write about it. This will most likely be my family's last post on fromusatoksa, for obvious reasons.

     Any time someone asks me "Did you like living in Saudi Arabia?" answer is always one of these responses: "NO" or "I am very happy and blessed to be back in the US. The summer of 2013 was when we left and during that time, the SARS virus was emerging, Syrian refugees were entering the country and hundreds of groups of people (Phillipino's, Indonesians, Indians, Somali's) were having terrible times getting their work visa and sponsorship taken care of. Essentially, there were thousands of people stuck and stranded in Saudi and my family witnessed them standing in lines outside of their embassy, being arrested during mid-day and camping out underneath overpasses. I was overwhelmed with sadness that these people were helpless. They had legally entered the country but their employers either refused to update their paperwork or refused to release them from their sponsorship and allow them to work for another employer. Every day while I was at work (and waiting for my paperwork to also be completed) I heard talk of "the crackdown" and "work raids." Busses were even driving around the city searching for "illegal's."

     This all happened at a time when I was wondering if this was really the best place to expose my children to another culture. I was so happy to have the time with my husband's family there and those are the memories that I cherish the most. Every time I think of my relatives there, it as if they are right there beside me! I was bummed that things weren't as I had planned for them to be in KSA, however, I am still in the process of learning that I am to live by God's plans and not my own. As much as I try to plan things out (years in advance!) God always has his best plan and pathway already determined for me.

     So, when the decision was made to return to the US, I did so blindly - with no job, no house, nothing waiting for me on the other side. However, everything meticulously fell into place (God's plan).....I got a teaching job within 2 weeks. We moved into our NEW HOME just 2 blocks from my parents home! The kids went to VBS and I once again was able to openly worship God in church and learn in my Sunday School class! God handpicked our church and our home! Every time it rained on the way to work, I thanked God because it never rained in Saudi Arabia. Every time I smelled fresh cut grass and flowers, I thanked God, because grass was only found in small spurts in KSA. Each morning when I heard the birds sing, I thanked God because at our home in KSA, all I ever heard were pigeons! year is July 2014 and I now have a job working a few blocks away from the same home we moved into last summer. Our children are thriving and since we live in the town where I grew up, they just are bewildered and amazed at how everyone knows their mom! Our oldest son continues to enjoy boy scouts, our daughter is still crafty and always creating something! She is in dance classes and has been in a few pageants (per her begging requests!). Our youngest son adores our pets: 3 cats and 4 kittens. My husband is excelling with his photography business (country road clicks) and "the South" is beginning to grow on him too!

     Summer will soon come to a close within the next few weeks and everyone will return to school. Our saga will continue as we comfortably stay in the US with no plans to move overseas ever-again!