1 Year in the Kingdom

Jamie and I just finished our 1st year living in Saudi Arabia.  For the most part, it was as we expected.

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.  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 post for those top 10.

4 thoughts on “1 Year in the Kingdom”

  1. Hello,

    I am completing the Visa application process to teach in Saudi Arabia. I was wondering how the internet connection was able to improve, is it a high monthly expense?

    1. The internet has improved greatly over the last few years. We pay for 20MB connection but the highest it will ever go is about 6MB. It costs us 289 SR per month. That is expensive, but it is our only form of entertainment (Netflix, Hulu, ESPN360, downloads, etc.). It is enough to stream HD most of the time. At peak times, the quality could go down.

  2. Eric and Jamie
    I just saw the date of your post, 2011, so you may have retired from Saudi? I’d be interested in who you worked for?
    I see so many negative comments about teaching in Saudi! I see that you have the advantage of having been a couple, so you can have your own transportation. Did you live on a compound? What do you think of the life for single female teachers. I’m a bit older, early 60’s, I hear that some of us older teachers are there in Saudi! I worked in Oman for a number of years.
    I’d love to hear more about your experiences

    1. Gail,

      Sorry I just now saw this. We work for ISG. You will need to check the age requirements. They usually do not allow people over 60 into the kingdom. I would bet that anyone you hear that is older than 63 still living in Saudi has been here for a while or perhaps has a specialized job that they need to stay for, which usually doesn’t include teachers. Check on those age requirements and email back if you have any questions. There are several older ladies here who are female (even widowed) and they deal with everything just fine.

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