July 26, 2015
My last week in Saudi Arabia was quite possibly the best week I’ve had so far in KSA!!!! Of course… I was off work all week so I just relaxed, finished up the last of my paperwork, packed up all my belongings and spent a fair bit of time shopping, relaxing poolside and hitting the gym during the day. Nights were filled with dinners and hanging out with friends… my Saudi family.
My friend Amelia and I met up for dinner one night… at her apartment at the hospital. We realized when I came over that we’ve known each other for an entire year, but have never once been to each other’s apartments! Whenever we hang out, it tends to be outside of the hospital, never at our homes. And it was a beautiful night! We teamed up and cooked dinner… a full Canadian beef steak dinner!!! But the best part was sitting and chatting with her for hours outside of work…about mostly non-work related stuff!!! I’m going to miss these long talks with her and just hanging out with someone who understands me and my experiences here and just a lot of what drives me in life!! I’m blessed to have met her here and my life is going to be so empty in Saudi once she moves on!!
I hit the spa one day for a bit of relaxation… Al Manahil Center in the Diplomatic Quarters… not necessarily the best spa services I’ve had… definitely prefer Yibreen in terms of services… but the setting was beautiful! It’s quite a lot more open and airy inside than Yibreen… But also noiser and not quite as relaxing of a setting…
One night I went for dinner with a few girlfriends… and when we got back, one of the girls and I, who both happen to live in the same complex, but rarely see each other or hang out, for some completely nonsensical reason, ended up making cups of tea and going to sit outside on the roof. We ended up sitting there in the dark, looking over our city… for about 3 hours!! It was gorgeous! I love moments like that!! Thanks for the blissful evening Jess… always gonna treasure that one!!
And finally… my last weekend in Saudi Arabia for a while… an epic birthday party for one of my good friends! The place was lit up with disco lights… decked out with palms and lei’s to go with the Hawaiian theme… a little tropical music to start out the night. And the evening was filled amazing moments with a lot of my closest and dearest friends in Saudi!!! We danced the night away… laughing… sharing great conversation when we could find a quieter spot… and just blissful moments of happiness!! I absolutely adore these people I call friends and my heart is overflowing with love for them all! And finally… for the last picture of the night… I have to quote Michael the birthday boy who originally posted this picture… with the caption “Turn up the love!” Mike’s birthday cake came out and we turned the love up!!!! With sparklers and cheers and hugs and happiness and a rousing DJ Magdy version of Happy Birthday!
When the night ended and I had to say goodbye to everyone, I was absolutely crushed. I’m so happy to go home to my family… but not at all ready to say goodbye to these lovely people yet!!!The night didn’t end on the most positive of notes either as I was the last girl to go and all the abayas were gone!! Mine was missing… While it may not seem like a big deal to lose your abaya… it is!!! I’d have to walk from the compound to the taxi outside the compound in regular clothes… which happened to be a little shorts and a tank top… which is equivalent to being naked in public in Saudi… big mushkela!!!! Thankfully my friend had a large black Georgetown university blanket which he lent to me so I could wrap myself up and be fit to leave. Go figure… my last night out in Saudi… I lose my abaya. It happens to us all at some point I guess. Part of Saudi life…
And then my last epic dinner in Riyadh for a while… at Pampa Grill. I’d been wanting to try it out for a while so when a friend planned a birthday party there on my last night in Saudi, I was all in!!!!
It’s an amazing Argentinian restaurant located at the top of the Narcissus hotel in Riyadh, a gorgeous hotel by the way. The restaurant is outside on a terrace that overlooks the city… beautiful views!! With a pool in the center and the gorgeous views… a bit of Argentinian guitar music playing… you’d never ever guess that you were in the middle of Riyadh actually!!! The food was pretty fabulous and it was really really wonderful to spend my last night with friends!! Especially these girls… they’re the best. Seriously.
And finally… Sunday the 26th of July came around… I scrambled to pack all the rest of my belongings. Squash everything into my suitcases… and still go say goodbye to all my favorite people in the hospital yet. I felt so much love from everyone… I went around the unit to say goodbye on my last day and got hugs from absolutely everyone… my emotional reservoir was completely refilled from all that!!!
So when I left in the evening… it was on a peaceful note. I thought I’d be very teary and ridiculously emotional but I wasn’t. I think it would be harder if I knew I wasn’t coming back. But I know that hopefully, most likely, if everything goes according to plan, I’ll be back in 6-8 weeks… and I’ll be seeing everyone again. Now I get to look forward to seeing my family and focus on them for a while!!! So this temporary goodbye really isn’t so bad. I had a beautiful last week in Saudi Arabia to remind me how much I love it here and all the absolutely incredible people the people in my life here… so we part briefly on good terms.
Anyways… That’s it for now… More to come on my thoughts on a full year in Saudi and the future!!
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