Halong Bay

Feb 9-12, 2016

Halong Bay was just absolutely gorgeous and everything I ever dreamed it would be from the minute we arrived at the warf of Halong Bay! Pictures absolutely do not do it justice! (Not my pictures anyways!!)

Halong Bay in the Gulf of Tonkin is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the 7 wonders of the Natural World.

We booked a 3 day boat tour of Halong Bay and Cat Ba Island via Vega Travel... it was a great experience with them and Cat Ba Island was an awesome addition. Our trip to Halong Bay started with a lengthy, bumpy, nausea inducing wild bus ride from Hanoi through the Red River Delta to the warf. The upside… wifi on the bus! The downside to wifi on the bus… finding out all our friends from our Mai Chau trip had food poisoning!!! It was a tense bus ride as we wondered whether the nausea we were experiencing was the onset of food poisoning for us or just the wild ride!  (Turns out… we lucked out and never got it!!!)

We spent the next 2 days on a junk boat traveling through Halong Bay. Junk boats are traditionally a Chinese sailing ship with unique sails that were quite aerodynamic and made the boat easy to control. Below: junk boats in Lan Ha Bay.


When we first got out the boat and headed out, it was absolutely gorgeous and sunny!! The view was so clear and you could see the layers of limestone mountains and islands in the turquoise sea. Many of the limestone islands are little more than a pillar, or appear to be perched on smaller limestone pillars as they have been eroded by thousands of years of water that have also formed many caves, coves and arches…   It was incredibly picturesque! We travelled through all the little islands and inlets of a less busy bay called Bai Tu Long Bay.

Mid afternoon, we anchored in a peaceful lagoon where Bai Tu Long Bay, Ha Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay meet. It was too cool at this time of year for swimming in the gorgeous turquoise waters but it was beautifully sunny for kayaking around the bay. Amelia and I shared a kayak and paddled through a limestone tunnel grotto called Hang Luon into a gorgeous lagoon completed surrounded by tall limestone mountains with the only opening the small tunnel we passed through to access lagoon.

Along the shore wild monkeys played and did the nasty in the trees. Giggles. But I got a selfie with a monkey. He wasn’t a particularly willing participant though. And apparently they’re a bit naughty so we we advised not to get too close to shore.

After paddling peacefully around, we went back to boat and transferred to in a small motor boat for a little climb up to the top of Titop mountain on Titop Island for 360 degree sunset views of Halong Bay, Lan Ha Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay. It was absolutely stunning!!!

After watching the sunset, we headed back in the afterglow to spend the night on our junk boat. The little boat we were in died though… so we were stuck on the boat out on the water for a while before it was sorted and we actually got back to the junk boat for dinner.

We awoke the next morning to gorgeous views of calm, placid Halong Bay from our stateroom window!


After breakfast, we transferred to a little island to visit a cave called Han Sung Sot (Surprising Cave) to check out the beautiful limestone formations inside.

We did a small walk about the island near the docks and found a beautiful viewpoint of the bay we were in… back on the dock, a Vietnamese woman paddled along in a little boat, small fish frying on a little stove on the boat, selling sodas and water and snacks…

Back on our junkboat, we headed out through the various bays to Cat Ba Island where we would spend the next night and day. It was a bit cloudy and moody out, not as bright and sunny, but it was still absolutely gorgeous travelling through all the limestone islands and seeing the beautiful limestone formations they formed…

One of my absolute favourite sights from the whole trip through Halong Bay was going through a large fishing village. Cua Van is one of the largest and wealthiest of 4 major fishing villages in Halong Bay. It is home to hundreds of people who relay largely on fishing for income. It was unbelievable to see a whole town in a placid emerald bay nestled among the limestone mountains with water “roads”, brilliantly colored floating homes and boats… a grocery store and a gas station even… and a Vietnamese fisherman rowing a traditional boat down one of the water roads…

Cat Ba Island. One of the largest islands in the bay, a large portion of it is a national park that is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is a rugged, rocky, jungle island with a large variety of habitats… limestone karsts, tropical limestone forests, coral reefs, mangrove and sea grass beds, lagoons, beaches, caves, and willow swamp forests. We docked here and picked up bicycles to cycle around a portion of the island. We cycled along the seawall and into some small villages. There was a pretty good sized hill we had to cycle up which our bikes were definitely not designed for (or at least not designed to make it easier going up anyways!)

At one point we ditched the bikes and treked through a portion of the rainforest along narrow trails, attempting to cross streams on logs and not fall in and get soaked, and up some pretty sketchy rocks into a bat cave and out through it to an opening overlooking a farmland valley in the center of the island.

After a night in a hotel on Cat Ba Island, we headed back through Halong Bay on our junk boat to return back to the Hanoi. It was a thoroughly relaxing day spent on the boat just watching the most gorgeous scenery I’ve ever seen in the world go by… before saying goodbye to our fabulous tour guide and the lovely people we met on our Halong Bay tour!

And then… we were back in Hanoi, for one last night at a terribly sketchy hotel near the airport for our last night before we’d head back to Ho Chi Minh and onwards back to Saudi.

Flying back to Ho Chi Minh, we had a good bit of time between our arrival in Saigon and departure back to Riyadh, so we ended up heading into the city again to go check out the War Remnants Museum as we’d not really seen many museums or historical things like that and this museum was supposed to be really good. And it was! So much interesting and devastating history on display… it’s terrible the things we humans have done to each other actually… 😦

Back at the airport… one last Vietnamese coffee…


One last drink in freedom… bought with probably 200,000 Vietnamese dong… (like 5 Canadian dollars or so)… an airport backpack picture or two… because my very first ever backpacking trip needed to be documented… and then we were off to Saudi again… to our temporary reality.

I remember friends telling me before we left for Vietnam that of all the many places they’d been in the world, Vietnam was their favourite or at the top of their list of favourites… and now after visiting just a fraction of the country, I can totally understand why. Aside from its stunning natural beauty, the people were so warm and welcoming and friendly and the culture and history is fascinating especially given the dynamics of it being a Communist country and it’s history with America and the Vietnamese war.

So… of all the places I’ve been in the world, Vietnam comes the most highly recommended! So get out there and go check it out! It’s gorgeous!!!!!

Spa Days in Da Nang

February 3-5, 2016

Life in Saudi Arabia, while often lovely and very enjoyable, is frequently extremely stressful and wears on you after a while. My friend and I were at a point in our Saudi Arabian journey where we desperately needed time to relax and de-stress. And while it may seem like we’re constantly vacationing and always relaxing, a trip through Vietnam is really not particularly relaxing! Which is why we checked ourselves into a fabulous spa resort, the Naman Retreat in Da Nang, for a couple nights to really relax so we’d be relatively rejuvenated on our return to Saudi Arabia!

The weather wasn’t in top form. It was a bit rainy and stormy. But the spa resort was blissfully green with water and foliage and beautiful nature every where! It was on the beach with several infinity pools that looked out over the ocean… every where were relaxing water sounds, birds chirping, gentle Asian spa music, the damp fresh smell of rain falling on lush vegetation, the peppermint scented spa, the gorgeous hibiscus tea on arrival and at the spa… It was a little piece of paradise for sure!!

On arrival at the hotel, we were seated with cups of warm hibiscus tea and warm cinnamon scented towels to freshen our hands while we checked in. It was so peaceful and relaxing right from the moment we arrived!

We didn’t do a whole lot with our time there other than eat delicious food in the several restaurants on the resort property…

Spent a lot of time looking out at the beach, several hours at the spa getting massages… Or enjoying the hot and cool spa pools and the sauna and steam room…

I spent hours walking/running the beach enjoying the storminess and the waves rushing in over my toes, the ocean spray on my face… It was absolutely gorgeous.

Also was a big fan of the hammocks they had draped between palm trees…

It was a gorgeous resort… Worth every precious penny (it wasn’t inexpensive like the rest of Vietnam!! But you pay for luxury like this, and it was a totally different experience than the typical hostel/backpacker in SE Asia experience… and it was WORTH IT!)… And I’m glad we were able to spend a couple days there relaxing!!! I felt so refreshed when we left. Which was great because we needed it for Hanoi!!

Overall, highly recommend the Naman Retreat if you’re looking for a spa stay in Da Nang!!

Kayaking & Wine Tasting

Sometime in early September 2015, as leaves were beginning to change colours and the air was slightly crisper than usual…

Kayaking & Wine Tasting. Two complete opposites. But two completely awesome things to do on a sunny Monday in Vancouver!

Kayaking in Deep Cove. One of the best ways to spend a sunny morning/afternoon in the city! A friend and I rented kayaks and spent a blissful two hours paddling around the cove and along the shoreline around a few small little islands. Trying to avoid waves from boats that threatened to capsize us. It’s gorgeous here but I am not ok at all with how deep and dark the water is!!! There could be orcas aka killer whales in there for all I know and I am not at all keen to go swimming with them!!!!

IMG_1216Anyways. The sky was so blue, with small white fluffy clouds. And the coastline… steep cliffs lined with gorgeous oceanfront homes… covered with lush green foliage… a few trees with colorful leaves as it was nearly fall… found a couple brillinatly red maple leaves floating in the water as I paddled along.

Relaxing. Blissfully relaxing. Although kayaking uses some muscles I definitely haven’t used in ages!!!! And my hands are pretty delicate now and they weren’t so good with the constant rubbing motion of the paddles! But… absolutely worth it!!!

After kayaking… we needed food. And wine. Or a beer or two. And a cup of coffee probably. We might have stopped at 49th Parallel for Luckys Donuts… and the guise of a coffee stop 🙊 good excuse?!! Good enough for me! They didn’t have their fabulous maple bacon apple fritter this time which was crushingly disappointing… but the lemon/basil something or the other donut that I had was incredible!!!
Then, next stop… food and wine… Vancouver Urban Winery is a brilliant choice for both! Kari and I had both been raving about how much we loved our first time there… so we decided to hit it up again. But when we arrived, it was full! No problem…we added our names to the wait list and headed up the street to the Alibi Room for a pre-dinner beer… great selection on tap. Really cool place just right along the train tracks in Railtown.

Honestly, I love this so much about the city. The cool pubs/bars and restaurants. Just being able to walk up to whichever one I want to go to without worrying about if it has a family section… actually just being able to walk to a restaurant is amazing! And if it’s full… no need to worry… theres another one just down the street we can hang out until we can get into the place we really want to go to! And the freedom to order a drink! Any drink! With as little or as much blissfully delicious alcohol in it as I want… Small freedoms. Coming from the gal who is talking about moving back to Saudi Arabia where she doesn’t get to do any of that?!!! 

Lastly… just have to say. If you’re in Vancouver, check out Vancouver Urban Winery. Really great spot! Old building that’s been beautifully redone to still have the downtown city winery kind of vibe… fabulous food… and the wine selection is really great! Especially the wine flights! And I love that its pretty much all local stuff! And the environment is just really chill and mellow… I’m a huge fan!

Anyways. Super fab day. I missed girls days out like this!!!! (As I write this i’m currently trying to catch up before I start posting about my life back in Saudi… and seriously, I could use one of those wine flights!!!!! Can’t wait to get back and do it again!!!)

Oregon Coast Part 3: Lighthouse on the Last Day

Mid August 2015

Our last day on the Oregon Coast was stormy… grey… and gorgeous! There is nothing quite like the ocean when it is moody!

We visited one of the most popular lighthouses on the Oregon coast… Yaquina Headlight… on a beautiful shoreline protrusion called Cape Foulweather. This day was just a little stormy… I can’t imagine how potentially terrifying but totally awe inspiring a major storm would be viewed from this point!

Dad and the baby bro got a lighthouse tour…

Mom and I walked down onto this amazing balsite rock beach.. the whole beach was round little black rocks that are essentially little drops of lava that cooled as it hit the cold ocean water once upon a time, turning into a little ball of molten rock.

There were heaps of tidepools along the beach… filled with anemones and crabs and little fish…

While we were standing up high on the cape… we saw grey wales surfaces off in the distance away from the shoreline. It was incredible!

 Nature amazes me!! Really!! Especially after a year of being exposed to almost nothing but rocks and dust and dry cliffs and sand dunes or very cultivated trees and grass… it’s amazing to see nature as it is… not enhanced by humans… vibrant and full of life!!!

We had a special dinner out on our last night in oregon, along the marina in newport. We saw fishermen cutting up big tuna and other fish… There were disgustingly smelly and noisy sea lions… Barking like dogs with bad colds and plugged noses… But yet so intriguing to watch… And the marina lit up at night was pretty lovely to walk along… Good way to end the trip!

On our return back to Canada… it was still windy and stormy on the drive back. We drove along miles of windswept coastline where the trees were flattened against the cliffs and hilly shoreline they clung to… where beaches were ever moving and constantly changing as the wind blew the sand along them and waves washed the sand in and out and up and down along the coast. We stopped at a couple beaches on the way back…  Beach number one stays nameless. Cuz I don’t know what it was called 😕


Beach number 2 was Manhattan Beach, I think…

Otherwise… the drive was pretty uneventful. I’m very proud to say that I finally finished reading Shatarum… and if you haven’t read it yet you most definitely should!! Proceed with caution though: it will make you want to visit India. Or travel. Anywhere! I’d been trying to get more than a couple pages into Shantarum for months (and not because it was boring but because I never had time to read it…), but now on vacation, I got to fully immerse myself in the story and luxuriate in a fabulous, imaginative, mind transporting book!

I did have a lot of thinking time on the drive back… trying to decide what to do with my life next. Should I stay or should I go??!!! That was the big question that weighed on my mind. Probably not a good question to have weighing on my mind when I was homesick for my nieces after only 6 days, and had been absolutely surrounded by the love of my family and the happiness of being together with them so closely for 6 days! A very anguished post came out of that. Which will actually never hit the blog. Anyways. No closer to a decision at present :S

But I have decided that I absolutely love Oregon and would most definitely consider it as a future home!!!! And if you’ve never been to the Oregon coast yet, I highly recommend a roadtrip! You can even go all the way down through California if you like!!!

Hope you’ve enjoyed the pics!



Oregon Coast Part 2: Dunes and Devil’s Churn

Mid August 2015

Part 2 of our trip had us spending a couple nights in Waldport Oregon, further down the coast and nearer to the coastal sand dunes of Oregon.

Waldport was a pretty unremarkable seaside town, but it was a great place to stop and spend a couple nights. On our first night we went on a walk to the beach and ended up nearly sliding our way down a very steep and sandy hill…

We found a nature’s teeter-totter, made out of driftwood, that ended with me falling off onto a sharp piece of diftwood and piercing my ear quite unintentionally. What a bloody mess. Really. But such a good laugh and worth the pain!

Relaxing family time spent reading books… cooking dinner together… just relaxing outside in the fresh air…

Day number 4 of the trip, we drove a couple hours drive further south along some incredibly windswept coastline into the dune land near Florence, Oregon.

Beautiful white sand dunes… blue skies… and the faintly blue ocean out in the distance after a strip of dusty green scrub brush…

Rented a 4 person Razor so dad and little brother and I could all be together and went screaming up and down the dunes! Oh it made me miss Saudi a little! Although Saudi definitely doesn’t have these gorgeous ocean views out in the sand dunes! It was a lot of fun… but I must say, this sand is harder to drive in than Saudi sand! Or maybe the Razor I drove in Saudi had a little more power? :S Great fun though!!!



Next stop was for lunch. Hecita Bay beach… Homemade Burgers on the beach, a couple games of frisbee that definitely ended when I launched the frisbee way up in a tree… And hours spent running up and down the beach… Playing in the waves… Baby bro and I found a sandbar that took us way out away from the shoreline out into the water near where the big waves were breaking before rushing over our shallow spot… Some of the waves were so much larger than we anticipated and before long our clothes were absolutely drenched. And our feet were SO numb… That water must have been imported directly from the Arctic Ocean!!! 😁 great fun tho… So many laughs with the little guy!

On our way back… we made a pitstop at Devil’s Churn… which ended up being hours of watching the waves crash on the rocks and shower the tide pools with fresh water and liven up all the little beings making the tide pools their home.

The water was ferocious in that area… smashing into the rocks with thunderous roar, sending massive spray up and out onto any unsuspecting individual too close to the edge… giving new meaning to the word churning as the water rushed into a narrow inlet between the rocks, seething and swooshing over the dark black basalt rocks in a rush of white water…



Some of the waves that crashed into the rocks were larger than others… and it was a bit of a guessing game to know whether it would be a large enough wave with the right angle to hit you with it’s spray… my brother and I got soaked at one point as we tried to pose for a picture with the water just behind us, as instead it rushed over us! But we didn’t get nearly as wet as one couple who posed for a picture and got drenched by the largest wave we’d seen all afternoon… and when they ran away from the water, and stopped again for another picture, an even bigger wave soaked them yet again! Oh the gorgeous unpredictability of nature!

 Next up: lighthouses!

To Illustrate why I love Vancouver and Whistler…

August 2015

Obviously I’m biased, but I believe I live in one of the most gorgeous places in the world. Every place has it’s own beauty in it’s own way… but Vancouver and Whistler are especially gorgeous…

So, this post is just going to be a whole lot of pictures to help you visualize it all…

Quick note… this was at the beginning of August, just days after my brothers wedding when I took a cousin and my youngest brother to the city and up to Whistler to experience a little of our gorgeous home… the parts we don’t always have time to stop and appreciate!

First up… a day in Whistler, a resort town, Whistler Blackcomb being North America’s #1 Ski Resort… 2 gorgeous mountains with a beautiful village nestled between the two mountains. Walking around the village… taking a gondola up to the top of one mountain… and the Peak 2 Peak gondola ride between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains… a little hike at the top when we finished the peak 2 peak experience… It was absolutely amazing up there! I love Whistler village… so much to see and do even in the summertime… lots of bars and pubs and restaurants… and plenty of shopping too. Mountain biking for the brave hearts… hiking for all the nature/fitness lovers… and the Peak 2 Peak for those of us who just want the view with minimal effort.


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…and then Summit chair to the highest point reachable by ski lift… (and it was COLD up there!!!!!)

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End beautiful day #1.

Day 2… a day in Vancouver… wandering around Gastown, Vancouver’s historic heart, to see the steamclock and do a bit of window shopping…


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we did the Fly Over Canada experience at Canada Place, (the cruise ship terminal, and an events center that looks a lot like a giant sailboat) which you should definitely do if you’re a first timer in Vancouver. It shows just a few of the highlights of Canada’s absolutely gorgeous natural and cultural beauty… Highly recommend.

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Vancouver Convention Center… building with a green roof!!

lunch in Coal Harbor by the Olympic cauldron… Vancouver was the host city for the 2010 Winter Olympics and throughout the city and through Whistler also are things to remember the Olympics… our Olympic legacy.


…and finally, a bike ride around the Stanley Park seawall in the glorious sunshine and fresh ocean air! The Stanley Park seawall was voted #1 park in the world according to TripAdvisor… even over Central Park in New York!! It is definitely my favorite thing to do when in Vancouver in the summertime… or actually almost any time of year! You can easily rent bikes in the park or at one of the many bike shops in the downtown area just before entering the park… and leisurely or speedily make your way around the 10ish km of seawall biking path.

And freedom… The boats in the harbor… bobbing gently on deep blue water… the smell of pine and berry bushes… and the salty sea air… puffy white clouds in a bright blue sky… zipping around the park on a bike… (There’s just something about being active outdoors that especially emphasizes the feeling of freedom for a girl who just spent the last year in Saudi Arabia, generally not feeling particularly restricted… until I come back to North America and really recognize how restricted I actually was!)

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And that… is the end of a couple gorgeous days on the very South West coast of Canada… in our gorgeous mountains and along the water…

Bahrain: Beaches & Christmas

December 6, 2014

Bahrain bound!! Finally… after a very stressful morning in Cairo where I desperately attempted to change my flights from Riyadh bound to Bahrain bound… I managed to get on board a flight headed to Bahrain… did one of those “I’m not looking cuz I just can’t cuz this is going to hurt my bank account but I’ll hand over my credit card because I really don’t want to go back to Riyadh yet” moves…

Met up with a friend and spent 4 blissfully relaxing days in Bahrain… at the absolutely gorgeous Ritz Carlton Bahrain Hotel & Spa for the first few nights… and the last night at the Sofitel as there was a big international security conference in Bahrain and a triathlon that weekend so the hotel was fully booked for our last night.

Arriving at the Ritz for the first time on the trip was amazing… the roadway to the hotel bathed in purple light from the many lights strung above the road…


I was wondering if this was normal for the Ritz… (In Riyadh there’s beautiful lights everywhere, any time of year!)

But when I entered the lobby, I clued in as I saw my first bit of Christmas!!! And what a gorgeous display it was!!!! Living in Saudi, where Christmas is definitely not celebrated or seen in any way… no Christmas trees or Christmas lights anywhere… no aisles full of chocolates and candy canes and delicious Christmas treats… no carols and holiday music playing every where for months… no sign anywhere to indicate Christmas is coming. So I’d kind of forgotten that Christmas was less than a month away. Until I entered the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain and saw the 3 story tree…


And there were poinsettias everywhere!!! That made me happier than  almost anything else I saw there that weekend!!!! My dad owns greenhouses back in Canada and grows acres of poinsettias every Christmas. So our house is always fully decked out with Christmas red and sparkly poinsettias… and when I walk out to the greenhouse at  it is always a sea of red holiday cheer!!

So I was absolutely thrilled to find poinsettias here!!

imageMoving on. The weather was gorgeous. Sunny. Relatively warm… 20-25 degree during the day… little chilly for chilling on the beach, as I’ve definitely adjusted to Saudi temps and 20-25 is definitely not sit in the sun in a bikini weather anymore!!! Definitely doesn’t feel like it’s winter and nearly Christmas! Nothing like the nearly Christmas weather I’m used to!!

The beach at the Ritz is beautiful!! It’s one of the few hotels in Bahrain that actually has its own beach. And soft blue lagoon with pretty white sand…


Sitting on a lounge chair, listening to the gentle sound of little waves lapping on the shore line… sipping a ice cold G&T… feeling the warmth of the sun saturating through my clothes… it was wonderful!


And SO supremely relaxing!After 5 days of crazy rapid travel through Egypt and all the noise and commotion and history overload… it was the perfect way to spend the last weekend of my first week of leave out of Saudi Arabia! The last 5 months of living in Saudi have been really really good and I really didn’t feel overly restricted or at the end of my rope and really needing a break away from Saudi. But being here and being able to fully relax, I realized how much I did need the break away. And relaxing on a beach is definitely my ideal way to truely destress!!

And the beach isn’t the only gorgeous spot at the Ritz Bahrain… the pool area is amazing… there are a bunch of great restaurants and bars… and lovely garden areas. It’s just generally a gorgeous resort!


There’s even a pond/stream with FLAMINGOS in it!! Apparently at one point there used to be a lot of flamingos on the island, but now they’re nearly extinct on the island… but not here at the Ritz!


(excuse the flamingo selfie but I just had to :P)

Continuing on with the relaxing, a friend of a friend showed us around Bahrain and took us to heaps of lovely restaurants. It was wonderful to not even have to worry about how to get there and where to eat or anything like that! And every place we went to was incredible! An couple Italian restaurants, Masso and Oliveto’s, a steak house called the Meat Co, a Japanese restaurant: Mirai, and Villa Mamas, a traditional homey little restaurant that had probably the best Arabic food I’ve ever eaten in my life! And apparently Villa Mamas was started by a lady who even grew her own herbs and everything for the restaurant!

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One of my favorite nights was at Olivetos… they had a great live band… I’ve seriously missed live music. Excuse the crappy quality of the video below… but the singer had an incredible voice!! And this is probably one of my favorite songs! Hadn’t heard it in ages either!

For the record, Olivetos is  really pretty too… Huge bonsai trees set all throughout the pool in the center….


And finally… For the last night/day we moved to the Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa Hotel… a really nice resort… but located a good 20km out of the city center so getting anywhere was a bit more difficult and definitely took a lot longer!! But the resort was beautiful… a lovely beach also and the relaxation just continued.


I saw one of the most gorgeous sunsets I’d seen in a long time… there’s nothing quite like the sun setting over the ocean!!!


So when I had to leave on Saturday night to head back to Riyadh to work Sunday… I was definitely disappointed.

But honestly, it was an absolutely wonderful first week out of Riyadh… and I can’t wait to see where the remainder of my 54 days of annual leave take me!!!! Home next?! And now I’m going back to Riyadh feeling refreshed, relaxed, and rejuvinated. Ready to take on Saudi again… the challenges and frustrations but also all the wonderful experiences and life lessons I’m getting! Plus I’ve got so many great friends there… so even though Christmas is coming up and I’ll be away from my family… I’ll have my Saudi family ❤

Next up on the blog… Christmas in Saudi?