So… I’m back home in Saudi… settling into the routine again. Missing my family. Working. Sneaking coffees in the morning at Dr. Cafe… Their caramel macchiato double espresso is AMAZING!!! Excellent morning kick!
I had such bad jetlag for the first couple weeks after my return… exhausted and asleep by 6-7pm… and then wide awake at 3-4 am. After a few days like this, I decided I might as well be productive since I was awake so early… so I started hitting the gym. I never was a morning exerciser… but this jetlag has proved to be good for one thing… turning me into one of those crazy people who wake up earlier than necessary to get in a good workout before work! And it’s great!! I feel so much more energetic all day long!!
Plus I get to see some beautiful sunrises!!!!
So, life in Saudi Arabia can get dull and depressing pretty quickly if you don’t have fun events to go to… or good people to hang out with. Fortunately for me, I have wonderful groups of friends here and my weekends are generally packed with multiple events, whether it be an embassy party, or a house party, or a compound party. And generally they’re nothing crazy, just a good chance to hang out with friends and maybe dance a little, eat some dinner, network and have a good time.
There’s regular weekend activities like hockey games on Friday afternoons… running clubs… triathlon clubs… salsa lessons… and a whole host of other activities to keep me occupied. (I don’t do all of the above… but I do do some of them…)
Like playing hockey with this great group of friends… a regular Friday afternoon… a bunch of Canadians and friends trying to cope with the lack of a proper hockey rink… The games are often highly competitive… but we don’t have rules… and we just play for fun… and it’s always a LOT of fun!!!
Shortly after I returned to Saudi, I joined a bunch of friends for a 50s themed party… and also said goodbye to one of our good friends… a fellow Dutchie… the only other Dutchie I know in Riyadh actually. I am going to miss this guy and his hockey coaching skills… he always really pushed me to get in there and be more aggressive in our hockey games! Such a fun night though!!!! Laughter, good music and dancing… and just great friends all around!!!!
Above: note the really cool light effects… due to yet another sandstorm!!
I feel rejuvinated and rested… but my soul feels the shock of working in Saudi Arabia so much more now than I did before!!! Some days it is so hard to work here in this hospital… I miss my job at home!!!!!! I miss the team of brilliant nurses and doctors, the whole interdisciplinary team actually, who absolutely love what they do and do it so well with such love and passion and compassion!!
But there are days in Saudi where I have some beautiful interaction with a patient or with my colleagues, and it fills my soul and reminds me that I have a mission here… and I really am right where I’m meant to be at the moment. Or we just laugh because I do something ridiculous… or something like that.
(Staying safe during chemotherapy administration…)
A good way to prevent the homesickness is to constantly surround yourself with good people… which is what I did… as much as possible after returning to Saudi Arabia. Like with these lovely ladies… having a good time at a British Compound… obviously from the “British” phone booth…
Brunch at the Ritz-Carlton with a few of my favorite ladies on a beautiful Saturday morning…
Above: Glitzy Miu Miu sneakers on point… (retrieved them on my last trip home!!)
Rugby finals at Salwa with a bunch of the gals from Radiation Clinic… drinks in the sunshine… friendly rivalry… I should probably learn a bit more about how rugby works if I plan on going to watch the Rugby 7s in Dubai next November!!!!!
(In the picture above… I was so excited to see petunias and plants everywhere actually at Salwa!!! Saudi Spring!!!! As the daughter of a greenhouse owner, and someone who has spent years of her life working in a greenhouse… it made me so happy to see these beautiful plants!!!)
Anyways… so in more bits and pieces… It rained a couple times in the spring… And when it did… it smells so bad. Like wet dog everywhere… and the smell of dust and dirt is so strong in the air. But if we got a good enough rain, the next day it would be pretty fresh! But… I’m not complaining because as a “wet coast” girl… I do love the rain and it’s one thing I really miss being away from home!!! I will never complain about excessive rain in British Columbia again!!!
And then… there was St. Patty’s day celebrations… which were nothing like St. Paddy’s day at all… aside from the bit of green that people wore… and maybe a few decorations… but no beer… and def no green beer… but it was an excuse to get together and have a good time!!
So that’s just a bit of what I got up to while waiting to go on my next bit of leave… just typical weekends and Saudi days… #Riyadh life right?!
Honestly though… the days just fly by out here in a blur of 44+ hour work weeks… trying to stay fit and healthy and maintain your sanity… and weekends that are always filled with parties and events and very little relaxation time. Because if you sit down and relax and don’t have anything to do… it’s very easy to get very homesick and fall into a bit of a funk quite quickly. So we stay busy and time flies!!!