I’m American. I grew up in the Adirondacks of northern NY state. I went to university in VT about an hour away from my hometown. The first time that I really moved away from home was August 2012. My husband was accepted to study his masters at a university in IA and since I had finished my masters, I went with him. From August 2012 until December 2013 I lived 17 hours away from my dad and 10 hours away from my mom (by car). Then at the very end of December 2013 I decided to take a job and move to Saudi Arabia…
Now I find myself calling two places “home”. The little town I grew up in is “home” because it’s what I know and most of my family live there. Riyadh, in Saudi Arabia is “home” because it is where I live and work. It’s where my apartment and my things are. It’s where my husband and I stay together. It’s the place where we started our own family.
When I’m in Saudi and I say “home”, I mean NY. When I’m in NY and I say “home”, I mean Riyadh. That one word has different meanings for me. It hold different emotions based on which place I’m talking about.
My home in the US is full of old memories — summers spent playing ball, harsh winters spent in front of the wood fire. There are places so vivid in my mind – this path leading up to a small waterfall near the top of the river that runs through town, noises I can hear if I close my eyes — rain on the roof of my bedroom, things I can imagine feeling — my feet stepping on the grass of our lawn, smells that I can sense when they are nowhere near — crisp autumn leaves, and tastes that still seem so fresh — cool water straight from the tap. The nostalgia I get when I’m away is so real.
On the other hand, there is a quote that describes my feelings for Riyadh perfectly – “You know that you’re in love when home becomes a person, not a place.” My husband makes Riyadh “home” for me. Riyadh is nothing like where I grew up. Its the opposite of what I know. It’s a crowded city. It’s a desert with hot, dusty summers and mild winters. But somehow I feel at home there. I feel my place there and I miss it when I go away. It’s a place where I feel safe. It’s the “home” where I start to make new memories.
The beautiful thing about this is that I’m almost always “home”.
Back in March the students at KSU had a week off, while the teachers continued to go in to work for PD presentations and workshops. I’ll be honest and say that I would have preferred to have a week off, but I did enjoy the presentations and workshops that the university provided for us. It was kind of like we had swapped places with the students for a week and instead of teaching class we had the chance to attend class.
On the last day of the PD week there was a beautiful buffet lunch provided for us in the science building cafeteria. Soon after we were surprised with the announcement that we could go home early.
[THIS VIDEO CONTAINS MUSIC]
PD training is definitely a fantastic benefit of working at KSU and I’m thankful that I’ve had the chance to work in an environment that allows me to better myself as a teacher.
I promise that I’m still here! I haven’t left you…I’ve just been busy.
I’m hoping that after this week I will have more time to continue sharing bits of my life here on this blog. Sometimes the days just slip by and the next thing I know it has been weeks since I last made a post. I’ve got so much to say, I’ve just got to take the time to sit down, organize my thoughts and actually write.
These days basically just look like this:
Keep me in your prayers.
God willing, I’ll be back very soon.
First Week of Work at
جامعة الملك سعود
King Saud University
I’m not going to lie, it was a tough week. It was good, but it wasn’t easy.
Waking up at the crack of dawn and then having to teach double lessons each day was rough, but the people at work made up for all that. My colleagues are all so friendly and helpful. The students have been lovely and generally interested in learning.
I just need to keep thinking about the positives and thank God for everything. The long bus rides can be frustrating, but they allow for a little rest or at least a bit of daydreaming out the window. Having to teach so many classes at the very beginning should make the actual schedule that we’re given for the semester seem like a piece of cake. Overall, I’m just happy to say that I’ve got a job and a good one at that.
Here’s to a good first week and hopes for a successful rest of the semester, ان شاء الله.
I was pleasantly surprised when I received my materials from the recruitment company. They actually provide all of the teachers with a laptop bag, a laptop and various teaching supplies. The bag is one of those ones with wheels and a long handle, almost like a small piece of luggage. It’s perfect for using at the University because the campus is so huge. Even just walking around the building where our offices and classrooms are can be a workout.
The laptop is Dell and surprisingly, it is not that bulky or heavy. It has an Arabic/English keyboard, which could really come in handy. I was also given a little USB drive that has a unique leather and metal design with the University logo printed on it.
The front pockets of the laptop bag were filled with various teaching supplies including: pens, highlighters, dry erase markers, an eraser, a whiteout pen, a stapler, a staple remover, a mini hole punch, a roll of tape, index cards, sticky notes, different paper clips and push pins. I thought this was really lovely because it means that we don’t have to go out and buy a bunch of teaching supplies right off. It just helps us feel a bit more prepared.
I didn’t need the laptop, but it is always good to have a PC around since I’ve noticed that Macs aren’t usually fully functional with University systems or required programs. It will keep me from worrying about how my Mac will perform with the classroom equipment like the podiums and digital projectors.