Arvid and Jakki
Retirement, as defined by the Cambridge Dictionary, is the act of leaving your job and stopping working, usually because you are old. It's a rather frank definition and may ruffle a few feathers among Aramco annuitants who find they don't think of themselves as old at all. In fact, their second act is met with just as much youthful spirit and energy as their first (albeit with perhaps a few more aches and pains). Take, for example, Aramco annuitant Arvid Koris, Badge Number 166526, and his wife Jakki. They retired to a lovely village in Portugal some eleven years ago, embedding themselves in the local culture and community, and among many meaningful endeavors now find themselves harvesting grapes as part of a co-op vineyard and engaging in important volunteer work.
Arvid began work with Saudi Aramco in 1984 as a consultant in Continuous Excellence. He and Jakki, at various times, called the compounds at Yanbu, Rabigh, Udhailiyah, and Dhahran home. AXP recently caught up with them at the conclusion of their annual grape harvest (they are part of a 'Cooperative' Vineyard in the village of Fonte Lima, operated by volunteers.) When asked how he and Jakki were faring, Arvid writes in good humor, "In the words of two great songsters: Elton John: "I'm Still Standing," and Paul Simon: "Still Crazy After all These Years."
Arvid goes on to explain, "the former song, I'm Still Standing, is thanks to Saudi Aramco Medical Services team under the supervision and skill of Orthopaedic Surgeon and Chief of Orthopaedics Dr. Mojieb Al-Haque Manzary whose skills gave me a double, total knee replacement back in XXXX." The latter song by Paul Simon, Still Crazy After All These Years, Arvid dedicates to "all of our former colleagues and friends who we are still very much in contact with, some who still visit our home here in Portugal. Thanks to the wonder of the internet we still communicate, 'and we talked about some old times, and drank ourselves some beers, still crazy after all these years . . . . .la la la.'
"Yes, 11 full years since retirement. Wow! The time just flies by. Have we...are we...enjoying it? You bet your life we have done and are doing so every single day!
Sunset from our garden.
"For me, of recent months my garden and terrain calls for attention on a daily basis. Covid-19 or no Covid-19, the land always needs attention. Community volunteering during the pandemic has been a joy. Three early mornings each week for several months, we find ourselves delivering food to elderly local residents who have been housebound.
"For Jakki, she continues to experiment (much to my delight) with so many culinary kitchen delights, everything from Peruvian to Portuguese recipes. Additionally, she has already completed making all of her annual Christmas giveaway gifts for our village local folks.
"So here we are, another year almost gone, the grape harvest completed and fresh wines fermenting in the village vats ready for bottling in a few weeks time.
"Ciao for now - Arvid and Jakki Koris."
As defined by Arvid and Jakki, retirement is simply a new beginning.