Friday, August 16, 2013

SAEA Dinner

Tonight we attended a SAEA (Saudi Aramco Employee Association) Eid Meet and Greet dinner.  SAEA is an association on camp you pay to be a member of and then get to enjoy their several yearly dinner, lunches, trips, and events.  Brad signed us up a couple of weeks ago (Paid his $2 in yearly dues) and then purchased tickets for $2.50 a person to this buffet dinner.  The ticket said the dinner was from 6-8 at the elementary school.... by 5:30 the kids were getting restless and the humidity has "rolled in" so it is TOO yucky to play outside so we got the bright idea to go to the dinner early so we could snoop around the school.
 Well bad news.....
1) The program on our table said that dinner didn't actually start until 7.... ugh... I had my kids snacked and ready to eat by 6 (Did you see they had a prayer break on the program at 6:25.... my question... why not just start the dinner at 7 then?!?!)
2) They had the school blocked off so we couldn't even walk around to burn up some time
3) We can even buy an "adult" drink to sip on and entertain ourselves while we wait... so we cheers with the water on our table and entertain ourselves  by pouring water and playing games with that
4) I had an hour to try to explain to Owen how the door prize would be won... he is SO competitive (wonder where he gets that from) that he wanted to know how to win.  What game would we play?  How was the name drawn?  What did that mean?  He kept coming back to the prize... it was really driving me crazy.... its a prize that someone picks a name for someone there to win and we probably wouldn't win because there are so many people buddy, so please....stop worrying about it!!!!
The kids had fun checking out the gym in their new school!  We got to talk about how they are now RT (Ras Tanura) Dolphins and they were excited to talk about their new school!  Look at the climbing wall behind Owen!!!  Do you see the free standing wall partition to Addyson's far right?  That was the area they had blocked off for "Ladies Only"!!!!

Brad walked up to the check-in table to confirm the program and the late start on dinner to which the lady replied, "Yes, dinner is at 7 BUT.... there is a door prize."  Thanks... but how does a door prize given out at 8 help us now with starving kids?!?!  Better yet, you sold 300 tickets... how many door prizes do you have to make it worth everyone's time to sit here for an hour????  We joked about as we hung out and tried to find ways to keep our minds off of being hungry! : )  It WAS a meet and greet... maybe we should be mingling.... for those of you that know me will be surprised to know that I consider myself "Shy"!  It isn't easy to just walk up to people I don't know and start a conversation.... so we sat at our table... by ourselves... until finally 2 ladies from Brad's worked showed up and braved sitting at our crazy table with us!

At 6:50 a Brother from a local Mosque came and recited some of the Koran and then there were announcements.... again, we were cutting up about the announcement and getting antsy.... we knew our table was halfway to the "buffet line" and that we had to make a run for it as soon as it was announced that the line was open.... Brad got the great idea of sending our kids up there to "look"/ hold our place at the front of the line... and as soon as it was announced that the line was open (10 minutes after the end of the announcements as they buffet workers and the SAEA leaders decided who it was up to to announce the opening of the line) ... finally it was announced and we were first in line!  Perfect!  It was now Ethan's bed time and he was beyond hungry so I was glad Brad had sent the kids up... even though while it was happening I was SO embarrassed because I felt like everyone was looking at us... Those Crazy Americans (let me also say that we were in a HUGE minority)
 Anyways, dinner was finally coming to an end and it was time for the door prize... I'm actually surprised we made it to this point... so they built up the anticipation and had a BIG spinning barrel full of tickets that some kids were spinning.... about 5 minutes later I asked Brad if they had drawn a name yet.... see, things here move kind of slow if you can't already tell.... so we were joking about the anticipation build up and how it was taking SO long and finally a ticket was drawn.... and then read.... slowly..... but as each number was slowly called we realized we were still in it to win it...... and still joking about the whole process... and the 6th number was called and Brad and I looked at each other and couldn't believe we had won!!!!  You should have seen the look on Owen's face when he realized we won!!!  We were all in shock.
They called for the whole family to come up to accept the gift.  After Brad was handed the wrapped gift, the guy looked at Brad and said, "Don't you want to give a speech?"  Brad said, "I don't have anything prepared."  haha!  I looked at Brad and said, "You ARE giving a speech!"  Everyone was waiting for it!  Here, there is a huge pride in ownership and gifts given so this was a BIG deal to win this SAEA prize... that we didn't even know what it was!  Brad gave a great speech off the cuff and it was a good chance to introduce ourselves to the community and how this was a great "welcome" gift!  See, we didn't do good mingling... but he were mingled with all 300 people at once!! : )
We went back to our table, still in shock, and opened the gift to discover we had won a Samsung Galaxy Note II!!!!!  And a month of service!  We couldn't believe it!  This is the nicest phone Brad has ever owned!  Wow!!! 
 After that, we were like celebrities there.  People were coming up to us and congratulating us and introducing themselves.... we met SO many people at the END of the meet and greet!  At first we were the crazy people that were stalking the buffet line and sending our kids up early to reserve our spot in line... at then end we were the family that was so privileged to win the door prize... the prize we joked about not winning.... what an interesting night!!!  Now, to fight Brad for who gets to carry around the new phone!!!  What a welcome dinner we had tonight!! : )

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