Welcome to Kiwi Living In Saudi. I moved to Saudi Arabia eight years ago which means I have been resident here slightly longer than the initially planned two years. The Middle East was never on my ‘places to live’ radar. In fact, when my husband first told me he had scored a job in Riyadh I was like, ‘Where is that?’ Being a good Kiwi bloke he couldn’t tell me because he had no idea. That’s what you got for growing up at the bottom of the world a few decades ago – global unawareness!
There have been ups and downs since relocating to Riyadh as both my husband and I have adjusted to living in Saudi with its quirky rules and different way of doing things. Fortunately, and surprisingly given the bad raps and misconceptions this country suffers from, our time has mostly been up. This may be helped by the fact we have approached our stay here with a sense of adventure and discovery and feelings of gratitude that come from a life differently lived. The down days have sometimes resulted in frustrated tears and a few tantrums – mostly, of course, from moi, but we have, to date, managed to get through any issues and are still here.
About Kiwi Living In Saudi Blog
Kiwi Living In Saudi is a story based blog of our time here. A journal of tales recounting many of the things we have seen and done while living in our home away from home. It is not a step by step ‘how to move to Saudi Arabia’ instructional. Reading this blog you will most likely learn a lot about me – that is after all the nature of a personal online blog – and a fair amount about this country.
Given the county’s penchant for wanting privacy and the husbands desire not to get thrown out (although that would make an awesome post) there is not a lot of obvious politics on this blog. My goal was never to come here to change the world. I’m here because my husband was finding it tough living in Saudi on his own. In saying that however, if you are good at reading between the lines you will find a lot of lines to read between.
About This Particular Kiwi Living in Saudi
If you prefer pictures to the written word, then perhaps this page, My Favourite Things, will tell you more about me. Otherwise, please, read on.
Like the Kiwi bird after which this blog is named, I’m a native from New Zealand – Maori and proud. I’ve been married over thirty years to a very patient man who has been simultaneously entertained and horrified as he’s watched me grow, make mistakes and, because one of us is a slow learner (ahh, yep, that would be me), make them again.
In 2010 I upped sticks from Kiwi-land and moved to Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, to join my husband. He had been here for a little over a year already and was getting lonely so my fabulous job and part-time business was chucked in on the promise of an exotic, pampered lifestyle where I wouldn’t have to work. It sounded a wonderful prospect mixing with the rich and richer of this oil stacked country.
Turns out the grass is not that much greener here.
Actually, there is very little grass.
There aren’t that many rich people either.
Added to that I quickly came to the conclusion that sitting around with the brain and body dis-engaged on a daily basis doing all those lady of leisure things one used to dream about is, well, boring. This blog came out of a that realization.
Kiwi Living In Saudi was started on a whim which is typical of me – thinking things through is not one of my strong points. I’m more of a ‘Do It Now and Think About It Later’ type.
Surviving in Saudi Arabia as a non-working expat woman required me getting off my butt and creating a life. Otherwise the different attitude regarding gender based roles meant I was finding life here very frustrating and, occasionally, somewhat depressing.
I decided very early on that the best way to make the most of my time here was to go out and meet people. Undertaking a spot of travel around the country – within the confines of its customs and quirky rules of course – was also added to my ‘things to do in Saudi’ list. Oh, and my husbands schedule because for weekend trips out of town, he has to drive. (Currently women are not permitted to drive in Saudi. Apparently we’re too special for that).
My action plan sent Hubster into a bit of a tail spin because of the standard expat rumour mill that said Saudi is dangerous and the locals unwelcoming. It turns out mud slinging about this country is a Saudi Expat hobby.
Certainly this place is different and it has it’s challenges but as you read my blog hopefully you will discover, as we did, that it is not as bad as I was first led to believe. It’s not perfect by any means, but show me a place that is. Even good old New Zealand, voted one of the best places in the world to live, has a few issues that could do with improving.
One of the downsides of life as an expat is being a long distance grandmother and missing out on a large part of my grandchildren’s lives. But, in saying that, I’m not ready to retire to a small corner of Middle Earth and be the Nana who bakes, knits and babysits. Even if I was ready for that I’d still have to decide whether to live in New Zealand, Australia or the UK because mine, like many others in the world these days, is a global family.
So, instead, I’m a Nana who makes the most of technology that allows me to communicate with my family and friends via phone, email and Skype. I have Kiwi Living In Saudi Facebook and Instagram accounts. In fact I love Instagram. I insta-everything! If you want to interact with me, that is probably the place to go. Heck, Kiwi Living in Saudi is even on YouTube. Though I have to say, if you’re looking for something professional on that platform you will be sorely disappointed. (And with that statement you can guess my self-promotion needs a lot of work!)
THis blog has served to keep my family updated on our life and travels. It has also given me a pass time other than the Saudi sanctioned female activities of shopping, manicuring my nails and contemplating my navel in the desert sun by a beautiful pool on a bright red sun lounger. Blogging, it turns out, is quite time intensive.
I hope you enjoy following this Kiwi woman currently living in Saudi Arabia who likes putting snippets about her current life online.
If you would like to contact me then feel free to drop me an email through my contact form.
Thanks for stopping by.