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Tuesday, 20 October 2009

The One where We Finally Arrived!!!

Well we got here!!!! Have been here almost a week now!

The journey down to the airport went well - the tears began at the airport! When I had to say goodbye to my dad - I honestly thought I would be ok but the lump in my throat took hold and I was in years and Jason was filled up too! Even though we know we shall see these people again it is somewhat different as you have so many miles between you and not only that there are more hurdles to even speak to people when you first move!

The flights were fab - Saudi Airlines were great - we had a lovely escort at Jeddah who got us onto our connecting flight with time to spare! I was kitted out in my abaya - and yet didn't feel at all strange??!!!

We arrived at Abha to be collected and then taken to Iskan 2 - our new home! We knew we would be in a portacabin - and yes it is a portacabin! LOL! But it is ok I suppose - at the end of the day we have come for quality of life - hopefully we won't be in there forever!

We met everyone - they were amazing they have taken us shopping, helped us with all the things we need in the house, advice and the head mistress even babysat when we went shopping for blankets!!!!

Jason began school on Sunday. He is far happier here than back in the UK. The children are better behaved the teachers seem to be far more supportive and he actually gets to teach instead of babysit!

Me and the kids have had a few adventures of our own! We have done the shops a couple of times - ended up needing a taxi at one point to rescue me, but now I have got used to the bus system so today we did it all on our own! And clothes here!!!! OMG! They have a 10 Riyal store - which is less than 2 pound!!!!! Needless to say we shall be shopping there!!! LOL!

The food shopping is amazing - they have melons here bigger than I ever knew even existed! Seriously more than twice the size of our children's head!!!!! and for that - less than 3 quid! Groceries in general are amazingly cheap - a can of coke - 16p!!!!

As for the culture. It is very interesting. We hear the call for prayer 'sallah' (sp!?) 5 times a day and everything shuts down for the Saudi's to pray. This is difficult to get used to - planning your shopping as you could be waiting around in an empty mall for nearly an hour! LOL! Every woman wears their abaya - most with no problem - I personally don't mind, I actually feel quite comfortable! The Muslim women wear their hijabs too, they must be hot!

Many people seem to think that these women are being treated badly by men. I am not sure I haven't been here long enough. But on first reflection I think that the men would have to be intentionally being bad for it to BE bad, these men are just following generations of tradition and religion and know no different nor do the women. I have to say I have been treated with the utmost respect. Today whilst waiting for the bus a security guard came outside and gave me a chair! The taxi driver has given me a phone until Jason gets his iqama, allowing me to text etc a lot cheaper! He has carried my shopping for me, taking off his shoes before coming into the house, British taxi drivers rarely get out of the car! LOL! He also chaperoned me around the supermarket!!!

One thing I do find different is that only men work in these shops etc - Mothercare is a very strange place when it is filled with female tenders!

I have so so much to say about my thoughts on the culture so far but I want to reflect more but I share them. But all in all it is positive!

Me and the children have been swimming and played in the park and I am trying my hand at home schooling!

I am quite home sick at the moment. What doesn't help is the uncertainty about Christmas. Will Jason's iqama be ready for us to travel and will we have the money, due to the delay in getting here we have had to borrow, and yet we still have our mortgage and bills to pay back in the UK!

We shall see!

One step at a time!

There is always a period of adjustment and for me especially this was a huge step to take and I need to remember that. I am happy here, the life is just so much better it is sunny, I can sit outside at 11pm and not be cold! And in general EVERYTHING is calmer! And I know I am more in love now with my family, my husband and myself! That can only be good!


Wednesday, 14 October 2009

The One Where We Were Fianally Leaving!

Well the day has finally arrived!

Oh yes!

We have the visas!!!

After 3 hours I finally managed to book our flights - I think??!!!

We are all packed!

Dad has cooked a lovely breakie to fill our tummies!

We just need baths and a change of clothes and into the car down to Heathrow!

I have sent all my friends messages. And I hope when they read this they will remember and understand how much they all mean to me. I have had some beautiful messages back from them and have printed them off to keep close to me! I am wearing a beautifully engraved bracelet from my adoptive mum and sister! Which I will wear and treasure always!

We are about to embark on THE most exciting and SCARIEST journey of our lives! This time tomorrow we will be in our new house, in our new country, surrounded by new people!!?? What will think of us? What will we think of them? So many questions start running through your mind at a time like this! But the answers...........well we shall soon find out!

I am sure all will be fine. This is an adventure! We have worked hard to get here and sacrificed a lot. And as we begin this journey I will take with me all my friends, memories and grasp my new life with both hands and make the most of every single second! The good and the bad!

So for now it is a little goodbye until we get back online!

I hope you all think of us as often as we think of you!

The One Where We Went To London!

Get a visa and we can book our flights - well that is far easier said than done I can tell you! We have had such conflicting information on how to get our visa. UK visa agencies will say that they HAVE to do them and that us Joe Public cannot - ok then! Yes they will do them for a small fee of £200 - we did them ourselves - free! (except the standard consular fees of course!)

So off we went to London last Friday - and what a wonderful day that was! 5am getting everyone ready by 10.30 we were at the Saudi Embassy, very helpful, friendly and lovely. We can collect Tuesday - so we have the rest of the day to enjoy.

Going for a little walk poor Grace falls asleep whilst walking!!!! So into the nearest cafe for refreshments! 2 hours later, a rested Grace, full tummies and a happy family, where do we go? Buckingham Palace. The kids want to see the Queen. Hmmmm.......well we can show you where she lives! So off we go to the Palace, lots of armed police etc, we knew something was happening. Within the hour Duke of Edinburgh passed in his car waving to the crowd!!! Fabulous we thought and then soon after out comes the Queen, there we are 3 feet away from her! The kids were sooo excited! and mummy managed to get a picture of her arm! Ah well!

After many touristy photos off we trekked to Hamleys. Five floors of absolute chaos, Joey and Grace seemed to LOVE it! So loaded up with transformer toy and peppa pig and an hour later we head off for a gourmet burger! mmmmmm!

Jammed in a packed tube we finally got back to our car in Osterley (which may I add only cost £3.70 for the day!!!!)

Full with Frappe and happy memories we headed up the motorway home with two peacefully sleeping children.

So now things seem to be on the way to working out!

Will we get our visa?

Will there be space on the flight?

Will we pack again in time?!!!!

The day in London reminded me what family is all about. Reminded the great time we can have with our children. And that really at the end of the day that is all that matters!

Friday, 2 October 2009

The One Where We Left Pembrokeshire......Twice!!

No move goes as planned does it?! Well, we were meant to leave Pembrokeshire on Saturday, it was all planned, my dad and aunt coming down to help and for us all to have pictures in front of the house and travel out of Pembrokeshire in a convoy of three cars and one trailer! Was it this idyllic? No, of course not! We did leave on Saturday, minus one car and trailer, no pictures, lots of tears and all in all not as we planned!

Finally we arrived in the Midlands at my dad and aunts house, emotionally battered, tired and in need of a bubble bath! We rested up for the next day ready for me and Jason to return to Pembrokeshire Monday night!

It was midnight by the time we got there, so with a cup of tea we fell into our makeshift bed on the lounge floor!

Tuesday morning - a million things still to do! We didn't stop all day, cleaning, clearing, fixing, delivering and saying goodbye to the house! Desperate to get back to see our babies, we finally left Pembrokeshire, again, at about 6pm!

The journey was somewhat quiet, with a kebab on our laps, I updated my facebook, Jason drove and listened to music, and I got some sleep of sorts in a very cramped space in our very packed car!

We left with very mixed emotions! I know for me, there was difficult reflections from the previous Saturday's events, I was excited to be one step closer to our new adventure, although very sad to be leaving my fantastic friends, I have become very aware as to just how much we need our friends! I was also somewhat anxious, we are very much delving into the unknown for us! We have got rid of many of the constants in our life, our furniture, possessions, cats, car and home - although we can reassure ourselves that the house is still ours and we could return, in reality we know that is unlikely.

We are happy about this move and cannot wait to start our new life, but with every change we make in our lives there is a period of adjustment for everyone. We can be happy about the changes we make but we are only human at the end of the day, and with change we come out of our comfort zone, which in some respects adds to the excitement, it is also a little unsettling.

Moving house is supposed to be one of the most stressful things to do. Well, we have packed and left, and plan to move not only house but country! I think we have all dealt with this amazingly well considering!

We have now set up camp at my dad and Val's and will visit all our friends and family here while we wait 'patiently' for our visas! And this time next week we will know exactly when we are to fly, a matter of days later!

Saying goodbye to Pembrokeshire was hard because part of me will always be there, our first house, where we had our children, where I met some amazing friends and where I fell in love with life again! We shall return, so this is not goodbye, merely see you in a little while!!!!