wherever you go


3 Comments

Helping the local economy.

Now that we have settled into our nice little home, Kelsie  has hired a housekeeper.  He comes over to our place twice a week, Tuesdays and Fridays, about 6pm and cleans our entire little house.  When I say clean, it means he does more than I ever would when cleaning.  He first sweeps everything up, then he moves furniture and mops, then puts back the furniture, makes the beds, scrubs the bathrooms, and washes any dirty dishes.  Last night he also insisted that we show him how to run the dishwasher so he can run it and put all the dishes away.  On Fridays he also irons any of my clothes for work that need it.  The reason he comes over in the evening is because he has a full-time job, he’s one of the housekeepers in our compound.  He cleans the single guys quarters.  The evening work is his side hustle, his extra work.  Rumor has it that the guys who work in the compound only make a couple hundred SAR (Saudi Arabia Riyals) a month.  He charges us 80SAR a week to clean.  That comes out to about $20.  We give him extra because he does a great job and he’s super nice and we can afford it.

Now that I have finally purchased my car, I hired a car washer.  There are guys who wash cars in the parking lot at the office building.  My buddy uses one of the guys to wash his car and I decided to use him too.  He typically charges 75SAR a month to wash the vehicle, but washes it just about every other day.  That’s not enough money for all that work, so we give him more than that.

There is a local organization that helps take care of the local stray cat population.  They help pay to get strays spayed and neutered.  This organization has requested that we perform some fundraising activities to help raise money for their efforts.  They suggested that we try and sell doughnuts in the office to raise money.

On every floor in the office building is a small tea cart.  At each tea cart is a gentleman that serves tea, coffee, candy, soda, and various snacks.  He’s a human vending machine.  The gentleman on my floor is very nice.  He asks about guys when he doesn’t see them for a few days, they’re usually on vacation.  He remembers my order.  And he stores my leftovers from lunch in his cooler so they don’t go bad.  I always tip him well and give him money simply for storing my food.

If we were to do such a fundraiser, we’d be taking money away from the local tea guys.  And though I love animals,  helping people is more important.

All these hardworking people need the money.  They are supporting wives, children, parents, and extended family all over the world. 

We used to “adopt” or sponsor a child through World Vision or Compassion International, now we’ve adopted a couple families somewhere.  We generously tip, generously help, and thank all these wonderful people profusely for all the hard work they are doing.  I always try to look them in the eye, shake their hands, and let them know who they are and what they do is important.

Advertisements


1 Comment

ahhh…

It’s quiet. I’m (almost) alone.  Emery is napping, and Stephen took Myka to the pool.  It’s her first trip, and while I’m disappointed to not be joining in the fun I’m content to have some time to myself.

This morning we slowly got up and ready and then went out for lunch with some friends.  The children were well behaved, and the food was delicious.  What more could you want?!  Haha..  We even played on the playground right outside the restaurant before lunch and stopped for cheesecake afterwards.  It has been a Lovely Thursday so far!

The restaurant we went to is called the Streakhouse.  I really like their food, and most of the time the customer service is very good.  They have these bread sticks that are sprinkled with garlic salt or garlic and salt or something, and they are so good I just keep nibbling on them the whole time we are there.  We should go back soon.  *hint hint*

My belly is full and now the question is – Do I do anything productive with my quiet time or do I just read and watch tv?   My money is on the second option…


1 Comment

pancakes

I make breakfast for lunch all the time.  At least once a week.  Pancakes, french toast, scrambled eggs, something like that.  For one thing, Myka will usually eat these things, but also, they’re really easy to make.  I like that it’s basic ingredients: bread, milk, eggs.  I either have them in the house or we can pick them up at the store here during our walk in the morning.  The kids usually just get them plain, but I’m trying to get Myka to try something on her pancakes.  Peanut butter? Bananas? Honey?  So far she hasn’t wanted any of these things.  I think I’m going to look for some frozen berries, maybe strawberries.  Ooh!  maybe I’ll chop up some apples into tiny pieces and add more cinnamon.  Maybe she’ll like that. I know I will…

What do you put on pancakes?  Anything your kids really like?


3 Comments

Lessons Learned

I have learned quite a few new lessons in the last few weeks.

 Buying a car in Saudi Arabia is like walking through the desert, as you approach the top of one sand dune you hope to see your destination, but you only see another sand dune to walk over.  I have been trying to purchase a car over the last 4 weeks.  I am pretty sure I have signed more papers and put more work into this than I did when I purchased my last house.  The first challenge was finding a car that fit our budget and worked for us.  The requirements for a car were pretty easy, as big an SUV as we could afford.  We looked at Jeeps, Fords, and Dodges, all too expensive.  Finally, I went to the Mazda dealer and found a 2012 Mazda CX-9 with 0% financing.  Awesome.

  1. Step 1 – Down payment.  I wanted to put it on my American Express card.  So I could get the points and pay it off next month since most of our money is in a bank in the USA.  “do you take American express?” I asked.  “Yes” said the salesman.  Well, the truth was NO they don’t take American Express.  After many fail attempts, I had them use my debit card from my Saudi Arabian bank account, then I called my US bank and informed them I wanted to put a large transaction through from Saudi Arabia.  Finally, the full down payment was paid.  Ohh, this took about a week and a half to get all sorted out over 3 trips to the dealership.
  2. Step 2 – Financing.  Apply for financing.  Pretty much all I did was sign.  The form was in Arabic so I certainly couldn’t read it.  For all I know, I agreed to give them my left kidney.  The next day I got a call I was approved for 0% financing. 
  3. Step 3 – Checks.  The salesman told me I needed checks.  For the 36 payments.  Ok.  No big deal.  I know my bank will do electronic payments.  But no.  The car dealership needs all 36 checks.  Physical checks.  Now I need to open a checking account and order checks.  That was easy.  The bank is very helpful, except it took 1 week to get the checks instead of 2 days like they told me.  Finally, all the checks arrived.  Now I had to fill out all 36 checks and postdate them.  I thought my arm was going to fall off.
  4. Step 4 – “Your car is ready come sign” said the salesman on the telephone.  Whoorayyy….  I finally get my car.  Nope, I have to sign 36 promissory notes for each of the 36 months I have my car financed. 
  5. Step 5 – Wait…  So today, I’m still waiting.  They tell me my car will be ready tomorrow afternoon.  Insha’Allah. 

 

If you ever find yourself driving on the wrong side of the road, it is best to do it in a country where this is common place.  They understand what to do.  Honk the horn and get out of the way.  Thursday evening we had a little extra time on our hands before dinner, it was prayer time, so we decided to take the scenic route.  Somehow we ended up on the wrong side of the road on the divided highway.  I was really confused when the cars were driving in my lane, so I honked.  The first car I passed was a police car, but it just kept on going.  It must not have bothered him that I was driving on the wrong side of the road.  The next few vehicles honked their horns, but also got out of my way.  Fortunately, we arrived at an intersection so we were able to get on the correct side of the road.

After the scary car ride, I was ready for dinner.  We still had a little bit of time until prayer was over and the restaurant opened so we added our name to the list and waited for a table.  We quickly ordered our meals, Kelsie a chicken wrap, chicken fingers for the kids, and I wanted a burger.  Who did I want it done?  Medium.  Like I always order.  Well, apparently that translates into rare.  Reddish, pink, and cold on the inside.  I couldn’t even bear to eat it.  Guess, I’ll be one of those people who orders their burgers well done from now on.  L

We finished dinner just in time for the last and final prayer of the day.  This meant more waiting.  First we had to wait for someone to let us out of the restaurant, since they close the curtains and lock the doors.  They opened the curtain over the door and unlocked it, letting us out.  Then closing it up tight after we were out.  We slowly drove to our next destination for a little shopping, but still had to wait in the car until they opened up.  Eventually we joined the line entering the store as the doors opened.  Just as we got to the back of the store and were about to find what we were looking for, the lights went out.  The store was pitch black, emergency lighting?  Nope.  We dug into our pockets and got our handy dandy cellphones out and used them as flashlights.  This must happen regularly, because the employees were quite quick to get out flashlights and start wondering through the store.  Guess it was no big deal so we kept shopping, but after wondering around for a few minutes an employee came by and told us to exit the store.  We left our cart in the aisle and headed out, empty handed.

We really need to invest in Rosetta Stone Arabic.  Wow, it’s expensive, but we really need to do it.  Apparently, our blonde haired and blue eyed kids attract a lot of attention.  And most of the attention comes from people who don’t speak English.  It would be nice to be able to interact with people in their native tongue.  There are also tons of crazy teenagers over here just like in the US, they run rampant.  I am sure it would surprise them greatly if we were able to address them in Arabic and I’d really like to know what they are saying when they look at us and start chatting away

So…  What have you learned this week?


1 Comment

“Christian?”

Today Myka, Emery and I took the bus to the grocery store and the mall.  It’s fun trip, I get some groceries, and Myka loves going to McDonalds at the mall.

This bus ride was a little more…dramatic….than others.  Just a slight amount of tension.  Someone was a little late getting back to the bus at the grocery store and her little boy was crying.  Other passengers were impatient to get to the mall and do their shopping there.  The bus was full.  Children were cranky (though not mine, thankfully).  It all just made the trip a little more interesting than usual.

But what was more interesting was a little conversation I had with a girl at McDonalds.  She was a teenager and was with a little girl in the play area in McDonalds.  I was watching Myka, Emery, and a friend’s little girl.  The teenager didn’t speak much English, but said, “America?” and I said yes and smiled.  In bits and pieces she said the kids were beautiful, that we were lucky to be from America, and asked the kids names and if they were siblings.  After a pause she said, “Muslim?”  That’s a new question. I said no.  “Christian?” I said yes and smiled.  That hasn’t come up before.  Right after that I was called to get my food, and when I came back she wasn’t there anymore.

New experiences everyday!

I should really learn some Arabic.


5 Comments

of cats and kids

Haha…Is anyone getting my literary allusions??

image[2] (3)

This is a Charlie in a Box.

image[3] (2)

And this is Charlie trying to steal my food.

image[9]    image (2)

They are moving right in, making themselves at home.

image[17]   image[1] (3)   image (3)

This is a very pregnant kitty that comes for food most days.  We have a box under a table for her.  Maybe maybe she’ll use it to have her babies and they won’t be under a bush somewhere.  She is a little scratched up.  She’s feisty and squabbles with any other cats that are nearby while she’s eating.  Poor thing.

And now…my babies..

image[1] (2)   image[2] (2)

Bahahahaha! This makes me laugh every time.  I’m sure he’ll appreciate these photos when he is older.

image[3]

He was scooting backwards, feet first, under the gate.  And laughing.  Hahaha!

image[7]   image[4]   image[14]

I could just squeeze them!  They frequently remind me that they don’t Always get along, but they have these beautiful brother-sister moments.

image[13]   image[12]

This cupboard has been a favorite spot recently.

image[8]   image[5]   image[11]

Some fashion inspiration, a cute hair do, and cuddling.  Life is good.

image[10]

And she’ll be the one who reads the map and navigates.

I love my children.