Job update & busy weekend

What a busy two days!

First, the job update! H’s file is complete for the Jeddah job, next week(ish) a formal offer will come through. Hoping, wishing, and praying for our magic number in terms of pay and school fees. Considering the whole process takes for-ev-er we should be able to start school there in September. Let’s see. Who knows.

Second, it was the kids big birthday party today. 61 kids, 12 lanes of bowling, 175 cupcakes, 3 happy children! Thank God the party is over until 2015! It was exhausting. We had to have the party super early (10 am) because H and I had to go to an anniversary party in a different town later that day. The bowling party felt like chaos to me but my friends and a few other moms said it was fun and not crazy. Phew!! Tomorrow operation gift opening will take place, then, operation thank you cards. I’m ready for Monday and the kids to be at school so I can have a minute to breath without Spanx.

I wanted to add some pictures but cannot figure it out on my phone right now. Next time, I guess.

Figured it out!!

These two are the highest point in England. It’s close to Huddersfield (I think!)

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Ready for the party.

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Birthday party fun!

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Again…

There was a new doctor at the hospital H works at, guess where he is from?

Saudi Arabia, you got it.

He took H’s CV with him when he went on a trip home. Last weekend H had another interview, but for a hospital in Jeddah. It went well, the offer is coming on Monday. The good news is the interviewers weren’t racist. At least to his face! Gives me a bit more hope in humanity!!

I don’t know what to think about all of this. It feels like a roller coster. I don’t think the offer will be what he wants so I shouldn’t stress about it.

What I do know is that leaving (of it ever happens!) will be harder than I expected. I have full insight into this as my very good friend moved to Canada on Tuesday. It was heart wrenching. Saying goodbye was so much harder this time than it was when I left America.

I left the US with full intentions of going “home” within 2-5 years. So it wasn’t goodbye, just see you soon. Now, 9 years later there is no way my husband will ever move there and that leaves me with a huge hole in my heart and an aching in my soul.

Will I ever stop searching for “home”?

Lets see what Monday brings.

Deep Sigh…

Every time I think about H’s interview I get more and more angry.

They liked him, there is a job opening…

BUT

The Saudi men representing the hospital have seriously offended H. They told him the pay package the recruiter had sent him was for “full British” candidates. Since he was not “full British” he would be payed significantly less as would be the benefit package. Never mind the fact that H is UK trained & qualified or that he is a BRITISH CITIZEN, or even he is a fellow muslim, he is not white and that’s what they want.

Why?!! Why do people think it is OK to treat someone like that? What does his race have to do with his ability to do the job?

I am sad for him. He does not deserve to be spoken to like that.

Saudi is completely off the cards now. I am happy that we are not entertaining the idea of Saudi any more.

The search continues…

Nervous

Today is Thursday, its merely hours now until the interview and I am nervous. I am nervous about how it will go, what the outcome will be, and how it will all impact my life.

There is only one word: inshallah. What is meant to be will happen. I need to accept that.

I spoke to a friend today and she had said that her husband’s colleague (both are GPs) had been for an interview for a hospital in Qatar. They asked him if he spoke Arabic (which he did not) and that they were only looking for a doctor who could speak both Arabic and English fluently. I cannot understand why they interviewed this man. What a waste of time for both parties.

My husband is actually working with a Saudi and he has said that the visa process actually takes like 9 months. Nothing like playing the waiting game!

I’m sure that even after all the interviews have finished we won’t hear if H was successful or not for a long time.

I am nervous. I am ready for a change. Inshallah.

Vacation

Our first week of the USA vacation is behind us. We have had a very relaxing time at my husband’s sisters house in New Jersey. The kids have been playing with their cousins and playing Just Dance 4 nonstop. Fun times all around.

We all love the USA (no one more than myself!) the kids are calm here and H loves to eat out in America (who doesn’t?!) I so wish we could live here again, its almost bittersweet being here. Being in my land and knowing I have to go back to rainy old England. Never mind, I’m going to make the best of it!

Tomorrow is our last full day here in NJ then we are off to Orlando, FL for 2 weeks!! I am so so so excited because we didn’t tell the kids we were going to Florida and Disney, they are going to love us! I am ready for some sunshine in a bad way.

H hasn’t mentioned the interview once since we’ve been here. I find that shocking. So he must be relaxed. I, on the other hand have it on my mind. Ugh. Must. Not. Think. About. It.

Oh! I almost forgot the biggest news of the trip!! Zacky lost his first tooth on Thursday (the first night we were here). The tooth fairy came and brought him a one dollar bill which was more impressive than a one pound coin. Very fun and a bit sad for this mama, my baby is growing up!

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On the airplane.

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Tooth is gone!

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Having fun!

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Batman playing iPad

Interview Set

I stopped obsessing about this whole moving issue about a week ago. I will go so far to say that I forgot about the short listing that H got in February. I got busy, which turned out to be a good thing.

But now, the interview date has been set and travel arrangements have been made… H is confident going into all of this. I am scared shitlessmore cautious. Alhumdulillah, H is an amazing doctor and has gotten every job he has interviewed for in the last 5 years, I am outrageously proud of him, but as much as I HATE living in the UK right now, I am wishing, wondering, debating if I really want to drop everything and move to the desert.

I have started to evaluate my friendships very closely and find out why I love my girlfriends so much. The reflection is in large part to my first really good friends impending move back to her home, Canada. I feel really jealous happy for her. But she was the first mom friend I made. We have had almost 6 years of daily life struggles, laughs, and lunches. We went from being mothers of one daughter each to mothers of 3. I am going to miss her desperately.

With this friend going and experiencing these feelings of losing someone who has been my family when I had no one close by, I wonder if I am ready to do the same thing. Doing what is best for my family is my first priority, but I often wonder the impact I’d leave on those women who I have chosen to make my family while I have lived in the UK. Am I ready to give up everything I have built for myself? I hope so maybe.

I need to remember 2 things in this emotional roller coster:
1. Allah is the best planners.
2. Don’t get so worked up about it.

I do realize that if (inshallah) we do move to Saudi, I will be living a very similar life. My day to day on paper would be almost identical, minus the school run. There will be a lot of expat women to meet and forge friendships with, lunch dates to be had, and plenty of time at the gym.

Only time will tell. There is more than a month until the interview so its best that I forget about it again. Otherwise I’ll re-read expat blog in its entirety again! Thank God I have an Easter trip to the USA to keep my worries at bay, I so need this trip!
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We have got an interview!

Well we have passed one hurdle in our Arabian quest! H has been short listed for a great hospital in Riyadh! Inshallah he will be successful.

My first concern is the sample package offer that has been attached in the email. The pay rate is acceptable but (!) the education allowance is only 20,000SR per year for 2 children. This is not acceptable at all. The American school is close to 79,000SR a year per child and the British school is around 68,000SR a year per child. Add on the fact that we have 3 children. SR 40k a year has to be a joke.

If (inshallah) H got this job it would be at exactly the right time. By the time the paperwork was processed the school year would be done and H could do his probation period while the kids and I spent the summer in Michigan. Then start school on time in Saudi.

It all feels quite exciting today. Lets see how the interview goes and leave the rest to God.

Looking for a new adventure

As an American living in the United Kingdom, I have never felt at home here. I have been living in England for almost 9 years.

Milestones have come and gone in my time here and as each one passes I tell myself, I am settled here, this is my home. But, it is not. And it never has.

In nine years I have:
-turned 21
-got married
-had Sophia
-bought a house
-graduated from university
-bought another house
-had Zack
-turned 25
-got my UK driving licence
-had Zain
-kids started school
-bought another house
-and God knows what else

and the entire time I have struggled to find my place here. The longer I stay the more I realize two things:
1. England will never be my home.
2. I’m not sure I can readjust to American life.

So where does that leave me? Looking. Looking for something new, somewhere else.

My husband and I always talk about moving. We have explored the idea of Australia, and when the job offer came, we turned it down. Lets wait a few years. We looked into Sweden, but taxes were quite high. The USA is always on the table but my Husband doesn’t want to retrain for the same job he has done for 15 years. (Boo!) Canada! Yes! Lets go to Canada! It’s like America but better! Hubs thinks its too cold. (Are you kidding me!) UAE, what could be better? The best of Islam, halal McDonalds, and great shopping to boot. Yes, we’ve found our new home. Job offer was excellent, we were ready. But in the end it wasn’t meant to be. I was sad. I knew I had to stay longer in England.

Now in February 2013, I am presented with another idea. Saudi Arabia. Hmm. How do I feel about this? This isn’t just a Muslim country, this is the Muslim country! While I do want my kids growing up with a strong Islamic foundation would this be too much? What about me? Can a white girl from Michigan cope in Saudi Arabia?! Well, I think I can but only God knows for sure.

It’s all just speculation right now but agencies have been contacted and jobs applied for. It’s a matter of time to find out whether or not my husband has what they want or not.

In the mean time I’ve been reading what I can on life for women, schools, hospital life, etc. As far as I can tell my life there would be very similar to what is here. Me being at home full time looking after the family and house. Spending my days at the gym or salon it with girlfriends. Can’t beat that, right? I wouldn’t mind a maid or a driver and take the whole lady of leisure to a new level. Might be nice.

I know how my parents would feel about all of this and all of their concerns are justified and right. But life is an adventure only to be lived once. Gone are the days of living in closed communities because travel was expensive, or difficult, or just not something that was done. Where the farthest you went was Green Bay or Chicago at a stretch.

I need to see the world. God has given me the opportunity to travel and I will take it. I want to debunk any myths about Islam and its culture. Fox News and the likes spin it so its something scary and mysterious. It’s none of those things, 25% of the worlds population is Muslim. 1 in 4 people. That is amazing. Subhanallah.

So lets see what the future holds for Saudi and my family. Inshallah, it’s good for us.