On a blustery, overcast day in early Spring 1988, a friend and I spent our Friday day-off work at the camel races on the outskirts of Al Ahmadi, near the small residential community for employees of the Kuwait Oil Company.
A palpable sensation of peace and power emanated from him. A sarong was usually wrapped about around his waist and with rough keffiyeh fabric wrapping his ears like a package. Calm, steady stillness poured out of him in every direction while he simply held Autumn Breeze’s halter.
In Al-Hasa, a town about two hours from Dhahran, there was a remote clinic operated by Aramco and staffed with a multinational workforce. The closest camp to Al-Hasa was an Aramco-sponsored compound called Udhailiyah, where many ExPats lived and worked.
Home is shuffling through Heathrow to reach the gate counting how many movies I can watch based on the flight duration but underneath the exhaustion of the journey rested the excitement of nestling under the covers upon arrival.
Although retired only three short years, my wife and I jumped at the chance to return to Saudi Arabia to attend the KSA ExPats Reunion in March 2019. Saudi visitor visas were rare and difficult to obtain at that time, but Aramco seamlessly arranged visas for the reunion attendees.
We recently had the opportunity to catch up with William (Bil) Jines who arrived in Arabia in October of 1988. Bil was a senior reservoir engineer who was in the PEASD department on loan from Mobil Oil Corp. He and his wife, Glenda, lived in Dhahran. Of particular note, the couple is soon to celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary on December 23rd.
Of all the senses, our sense of smell is one most closely linked with memory. The slightest hint of a familiar smell can trigger powerful memories of treasured moments past. Little wonder that when I cast my mind back to my first visit to an Arabian souq, it is the tantalizing aromas that I remember first and most vividly.
Jacque graduated from college in 1985, immediately married her Greek boyfriend and within two weeks was living in the desert town of Hofuf in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. Jacque’s husband was hired by a Greek friend, who was the general engineer for a local construction company.
I have a feeling that ExPats know a thing or two about closure. Closure is our mind and body’s way to be at peace with something we have lost—a relationship, a job, a move. For Aramcons, we all have to depart from the Kingdom at one point or another...
“WHERE AM I?” This Middle Eastern adventure living and working in KSA was certainly not unique to me. Expatriates since the early 1930s have made thousands of similar trips to this same part of the world. Eight decades of history have happened since the inception of Aramco.
The novel coronavirus has caused many changes in all our lives, but changes that can be particularly impactful include retiring or being laid off amid this pandemic. Reilly Financial Advisors wants to let you know that, no matter your situation...
My friend Sharon, who was involved with helping to establish the first Women’s Cancer Support Network in Riyadh (and editor of the network’s Cultural Cuisines Cookbook), was invited to the wedding of one of King Fahd’s daughters. She was told to bring a female friend and I was the lucky one.
While the Republic of Yemen, which includes the island archipelago of Socotra, dubbed the “Galapagos of the Indian Ocean”, boasts the highest number of endemic bird species of any country on the Arabian peninsula, Saudi Arabia now stands as the easiest and safest country in which to see many of these singular gems.
Saudi Arabia and Libya share a lot in common: camels, heat, a conservative Islamic culture and most of all--a lot of sand. They are also two Arabian countries where former Peace Corps volunteer Randolph Hobler lived and worked.
“How was your leave?” “Where are you planning to go on holiday?” While the day-to-day workplace can be similar anywhere in the world, one of the favorite pastimes for ExPats living abroad is to discuss, seek advice, reminisce, and plan for their holidays.
I would like to start off by noting that the utmost privilege I have in writing these articles is the conversations I get to have with other Aramco Brats who lived in the Aramco towns at very different time periods.
With COVID-19 still limiting travel, migratory birds tease us with the purest symbol of what’s been curtailed for so many of us—the freedom of movement. Yet one unexpected gift of the pandemic-era lockdowns has been a renewed awareness of the wonders of the natural world around us.
Since my gasping, near-death introduction to smoking a hubbly bubbly in Jeddah on my first camping trip in Kingdom in 1989, I had been on a mission to purchase one of these pipes - not to smoke, but for what they represented...
I was deeply saddened at news today of the death of Cliff Peterson back in April due to complications from advanced Parkinson’s Disease. I never met Cliff in person, but he became an important online friend during my first year in Saudi—the loneliest year when I was away from my family and often out left exploring by myself.
The beautiful thing about holidays is that it means something inimitably different to us all. While we all coalesce and come together during holidays, certain traditions and sentiments are unique to each person or family’s story.